I left the Republican Party many years ago. I was disenchanted by the antics of several and disgusted by the repeated call for donations to the Grand Old Party. With those two things in mind, I determined no political party would be able to take me for granted. They would have to earn my vote.
Needless to say, I didn’t join the Democratic Party, either, because of the aforementioned. Also because I hold conservative values and liberal points of view are antithetical to everything I believe. Plus, more than a few Democrats (certainly not all) are just batshit crazy (I’m talking to you, AOC).
I briefly rejoined the Republican Party to vote in the Pennsylvania primary in 2016 for Ted Cruz. I vividly recall the unease I felt about a Donald Trump presidency and wanted to do what I could to deny him the nomination. Didn’t work out obviously, but given a choice between Trump and Clinton, it was clear to me the shrill pantsuit would be a disaster.
Frankly, I would have preferred that the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, wasn’t such a loony moonshot.
In any event, it’s not my desire to belabor both of you readers (if that many) of the wisdom of the Trump presidency.
What has occurred to me as I witness Republican infighting is the thought that I had quite a while ago. As polarized as the nation is (trust me, you cannot discount 74 million votes for Trump), the Right threatens to fracture into separate camps. I fear we may be witnessing the implosion of the GOP as a viable political party destined to go the way of the Whig Party.
NOTE: Now before the two of you (if that) accuse me of regurgitating a popular thought as we prepare to watch Idiot Joe and Chlamydia Harris take the Oath of Office, let me be clear that I was thinking this very same thing when I still had brown hair.
The Whig Party was the number two political party (slightly smaller than the Democrats) of the United States between the 1830s and 1850s. While not a direct descendant of the defunct Federalist Party, it held similar positions and was formed as opposition to Andrew Jackson. Many statesmen known to America history, such as Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, were Whigs.
Unfortunately (for them) they weren’t able to stop Old Hickory or his successor, Martin Van Buren (it’s from him we get the expression “OK.” Go ahead. Look it up.). However, the Whigs did manage to get a couple presidents elected, William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. Even when those two died in office, their Whig vice-presidents assumed office (although John Tyler was ousted from the party in 1841).
So, yeah, the Whigs had a decent run (better than the Know-Nothings. Thank God). Unfortunately (for them), passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 (won’t go into the specifics of that act here; it had everything to do with wrestling with the institution that eventually tore the Union apart) was the straw that broke the back. The party split between Southern Whigs and anti-slavery Northern Whigs who joined the newly-formed (that’s right) Republican Party.
Luckily, though, the Democrats had their own problems as they fought amongst each other when it came to (yes) slavery, secession, and war. The Republicans won the election of 1860 driven by resistance to the extension of slavery.
Simplistic? Yes. Did I miss a couple salient facts? Absolutely. Are you paying for this? Seriously? Are you even reading this? Please.
My point is that bickering and bitching with each other led to the dissolution of a political party. Would that necessarily be a bad thing? Not…uh…necessarily. If there was a viable conservative alternative. But, what I fear is that there will be a third party peopled by Trump supporters and a traditional Republican Party in 2024.
Then, when you consider that the Democratic Party shows no such division as in the 1860s and, well, let’s put it this way. Things won’t look so good for those of a conservative bent.
If you think this is impossible, one only needs to look at the 1992 election when Ross Perot siphoned Republican votes from George H.W. Bush (an incumbent). Or the election of 1912 when a butthurt Theodore Roosevelt did the same to William Howard Taft (another incumbent).
The results? Presidents Bill Clinton and Woodrow Wilson.
So, yeah, it can happen.
Personally, I hope Donald Trump does not run in 2024. That which scares me, though, is that he will. Since I can’t see him winning the Republican nomination (in my opinion, unfairly or no, he’s damaged goods), what terrifies me is that he will take his supporters and form a third party (the… Patriot Party? Maybe Yuge Party).
That kind of splintering the Republican Party cannot afford.
The Whigs couldn’t. And they had a funny name.