Friday, September 28, 2007

A Headless Party is Expectedly Brainless

This US election cycle is unlike others in the past in so far that an incumbent President or Vice President is not their party’s automatic presidential nominee. To make things worse for the incumbents, we are now in the “last throes” – pun intended – of a rather inept presidency; one that has produced very little on the domestic front and much drama on the international scene. Unless you like government expansion and subscribe to some odd twist of Keynesian economics that "deficits don’t matter”, the incumbents will not find much to brag about domestically and, as it is becoming more evident, nothing at all to brag about internationally.

So, in a so-called ‘lame-duck’ presidency with no incumbents on the ticket, the president’s party is simply headless. As a result, the GOP is starting to exhibit signs of the rather logical consequence of being headless; that of being brainless. The party that once prided itself as being the ‘party of ideas’ is now a single-issue political block: They’ll-kill-us-all-if-you-don’t-elect-me message is all the party seems to broadcast these days. There is nothing more effective in politics than inciting fear, that is indeed true, lest you forgot about one Joseph McCarthy. But, today’s GOP is making an enormous strategic mistake for which future party contenders will pay dearly at the polls.

The Party is, for one, alienating the fastest-growing demographic group in the US through its politically-charged anti-immigration message. This will get them votes today but will get them nowhere in the future. The party is also inexplicably deepening its rift with the African American community – a constituency that was once firmly Republican and today votes in the 90-percent range for Democratic candidates. The strange thing is that both Hispanics and African Americans, when one examines matters of faith and social outlook, are natural allies of the GOP. However, Republican leaders seem resigned to losing both demographic groups to the Democrats in order to hold on to their white southern coalition. This is reflected in the candidates the party is fielding for this election. In contrast to the Democratic candidates, the GOP contenders are all old, white males.

Let’s hope that the GOP is not brain-dead because I, for one, do not look forward to either a ‘one-party system’ or ‘a permanent majority’ in this Republic. James Madison and Alexander Hamilton have warned of the dangers of 'faction' and the 'tyranny of the majority' in the Federalist. Under no circumstances should either Party be able to achieve exclusive dominion over the political landscape in this country. We have seen what that has done for us lately.


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