Politicos are having a fine drama to watch unfold during these days as the pandemic continues and winter weather keeps us mainly indoors. The factions and fissures in the Republican Party have erupted into deeply personal attacks and while they are amusing to watch from this side of the aisle, we also need to be cognizant that a strong two-party system does make our nation stronger.
Donald Trump hijacked the party in 2015 and when elected in 2016 drove it further and further into chaos, bedlam, and even into dangerous conspiracy theories. From a policy perspective be it trade, budgets, or alliances, Trump separated the party from their long-held conservative principles. Today the party is not sure what they represent or who they have as a leader. Are they now just the Trump Party and resigned to mockery while following a delusional cult-like personality? Or can they ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps’ and make something of themselves again?
What makes for amused watching of the great divide in the former Grand Old Party is that Trump wishes to use the political apparatus to seek revenge on those who ‘did him wrong’ in the closing months of his embarrassing term in office. He wishes to enlist candidates to run in 2022 and support them based on the personal feelings he has about how they treated him. Forget about the policy positions of the party! But why would Trump worry about that now? He in large part did not care about mere policy for the last four years.
The question that begs for an answer is how can that party advance when they have the dead weight of Trump holding them down? How can they be tethered to an undignified personality and hope to sway suburban voters?
We have watched for many years as the Republican Party divorced itself from science, threw facts aside, and placed objective reality alongside the tarnished international alliances. They instead lurched to the base instincts of their tribe and hugged even tighter to their resentments and harsh brand of religion. All this would be nothing more than a riveting on-going drama if not so badly timed for the future of the nation.
There are a series of enormous pressing issues in our nation that must be dealt with in imaginative ways along with a bipartisan fashion. Such as with climate change which demonstrated itself in devastating style in Texas this month. We need to again reclaim the awareness that with great power, as this nation has, also comes great responsibility. Promoting democracy in the face of a robust outward-looking China, and Russia which still can not yet define its future, means we need to be more statesmanlike on the world stage. That can only be achieved if we have both parties speaking and leading from mature and reasoned foundations.
The GOP at the grass-roots level who love the Trump bombast and chaos, as it either mirrors their lives or deflects from it, must be steered towards a more logical shore. The party needs it, and the nation requires it. But the only way to achieve it is to sideline and marginalize Trump.
History will record the wisdom of such a move and recall those who had the resolve to make it happen.