In the years leading up to 1854, the Whig Party, itself founded among the foundering remains of the Federalist Party, National Republican Party, and Anti-Masonic Parties, had reached the end of its political feasibility in the span of only a few decades. Not only had it managed to win the White House for only two nonconsecutive terms, both of its elected presidents, William Henry Harrison (1841) and Zachary Taylor (1849), died in office. Neither of their Vice Presidents, having taken over the reigns for their fallen superiors, were able to win reelection.
One, John Tyler, burned so many bridges politically that he was actually ejected from the Whig Party while in office. The other, Millard Fillmore, broke ranks with the Whigs in order to compromise with the Democratic Party on the contentious issue of slavery, creating a permanent rift with their abolitionist constituents. Faced with certain political obsolescence, holding only a small minority within Congress and no practical path to the White House, like minded men of the various minor political parties discussed a new political party, centered on the moral imperative of their time: abolishing slavery.
Though they may have agreed on few other political positions, with real disagreements on the size of government, and the proper role and balance of powers among the branches of the federal government, having slavery be perpetuated into the territories of the growing United States was simply so morally evil, it had to be stopped whatever the cost. So one cold week in Wisconsin, men of several political parties of like mind on the issue of abolition lay the groundwork of a political party to unify the different abolition factions into a single effective party.
Thus the Republican Party was born.
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
– Abraham Lincoln –
With the end of the Civil War over a century and a half ago, the driving political issue that necessitated voters in the Free Soil, Whig, and Know Nothing Parties to join the Republican Party, the abolition of slavery, ceased to be. The (northern) Democratic Party finally abandoned slavery as a national platform issue in 1864, and, while the end of slavery clearly didn’t mean the end of the prejudice or racism that festered at the roots of American slavery, the unifying purpose of abolition was achieved, even if only through strength of arms.
As the Civil Rights Era dawned, the Republican Party rose to political prominence, but without a defining political or philosophical purpose. Absent a such a guiding principle, They defaulted to an “opposition” second party platform, focusing on a punitive policy in the renegade Southern States, rather than on reintegrating them into the Union on equal footing. The lack of political vision of Republican carpet baggers in part stoked the fires of political antagonism that birthed the petty institutionalized racism in the South that persisted for the next 60 years.
By the 1932’s, the Republican National platform was already largely indistinguishable from the Democratic National platform, calling for the same policies of high wages, protectionism, and broad based government economic interventionism as the Democrats. The elections of 1932 and 1933 would mark the last time the Republicans would consecutively control either part of Congress for nearly 50 years and both houses of Congress for 60 years. More recently, the Republicans have been able to recapture the House and the Senate, not because their political vision has been so clear, but simply because the political vision of the Democrats has been so bad.
After promising for 6 years to repeal “ObamaCare“, the Republican Party has failed to do this one thing. It is clearly passed time for the Republican Party to go the way of the Whigs.
“And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the Pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”
– Ronald Reagan –
The demonstrable truth of this assertion is understandably going to cause much angst among both conservative and long time Republican voters, but the writing is on the wall for the Grand Old Party, and it has been for over a century now. The growing number of right of center 3rd parties demonstrates the ever growing dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. At the heart of this dissatisfaction is a desperate hunger for an unambiguous vision, a guiding purpose so true, so obvious, so clear, and so bold that its light shines through the darkness, bringing hope and meaning to all that see its glow.
For a brief moment late last century, this political platform actually existed. In 1980, it carried 44 of 50 states. In 1984, it carried 49 of 50 states. In 1988, carrying 40 of 50 states, based just on the 8 years before. The Republicans lost again only when they abandoned this shining path. Now, after Clinton then Bush, Obama then Trump, what does the Republican Party stand honestly for? Just looking at the spectrum of candidates from 2016, can it be said that the Republican Party stands for any unifying philosophy at all? Clearly not.
What if there were a political party purpose built for the great philosophical hunger of our times? A party with a political and ideological vision of bold colors, not pale pastels, not simply chasing down myriad issues or nibbling around the edges, but instead aimed directly at the center of what is killing our republic: its tyrannical runaway government and the corrupt politicians and their establishment enablers? A party that shone with a brilliance that burned the darkness infesting the very heart of our national government away?
Sadly, I can tell you with certainty that this party does not yet exist. I can also tell you that it is well passed time for this party. And I can tell you that there is nothing more that the political Establishment fears than exactly such a political party. America needs this party. America wants this party. It’s time.
Liberty is For The Win!