Monday, October 26, 2015

Why Bernie Sanders can Save the GOP

The history of political parties in the US is a sordid one.  In George Washington's farewell address, he warned against political parties which had begun under his Presidency.  By the time John Adams became President, two prominent parties had formed: the Federalists and the Republican-Democrats. Eventually, the Federalists went by the way-side, and the Republican-Democrats dropped the Republican part.  A later party, formed in 1854, claimed the Republican moniker, and 6 years later elected their first Presidential Candidate, Abraham Lincoln.

It was the Radical Republicans that called for full equalization of rights and protections under the law for blacks before the Civil War, and during Reconstruction.  While the GOP has always had business interests in mind, there was still a progressive side that wanted to curtail rampant and destructive business practices.  After all, the "Great Trust Buster", Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican.  That goes to show that, historically, the Republican party was a dynamic party, one that covered a spectrum of political ideas.

Today, however, the GOP has been hijacked; first it was the Moral Majority, and lately the Tea Party. Today, the "radical" Republicans are the Libertarians, or at least those who buy into their objectivist ideology.  The GOP has gotten so extreme in it's platforms that the most liberal of Republicans are heavily conservative by the standards of just 40 years ago.  This is spelling the undoing of the Republican Party.  And it must not happen. Crack a history book to see the effects of a one party system.

Enter Bernie Sanders, the Independent Senator from Vermont. Sanders (his supporters just call him Bernie), has a large Republican following in Vermont, and there is even a Facebook page for his GOP supporters. While Sanders is often criticized for being a socialist (he's actually a Democratic Socialist which is still a capitalist), his policy ideas are middle ground for most of the advanced nations of the world. American politics have gotten so far to the right, thanks to the 1% and the religious fanatics hijacking of the GOP, that the middle ground is considered "extremist."  Sanders is not of the 1%, in fact he's their political nemesis, and he's not all that religious.  He's a progressive throwback and one that Republicans of when the party was truly Grand, would embrace.

The fact that someone like Sanders is able to gain such support despite not taking any Super PAC money, shows that the people are behind him.  Some of those people are Republicans.  This is important because the bulk of America is tired of Republican party shenanigans, and the corporate shills they choose for candidates. As an American, and fully aware that our political system is watched around the world, I was embarrassed after watching the first Republican debate. Trump turned the debate into a circus, and he's the GOP front runner. What scared me is that Trump is not really a product of the GOP as he is a reflection of current Republican Party.  He's misogynistic, racist, and cares more about his own wealth than the well-being of his fellow Americans.

No, not all Republicans are that way.  In fact most are not, at least most of the one's I know.  I understand that that was an anecdotal statement on my part, but I live in the Bible Belt, I live in GOP territory, I am surrounded by members of the Republican party.  One of the primary virtues of Republicans is loyalty.  That is why the sane, and good people I know that are Republican are not misogynistic or racist, or pro-1%.  They identify as Republican, mostly because their parent's did, and they are loyal to their party; to attack the party is to attack them.  But loyalty goes both ways.  If not, then it is not loyalty but servitude.  With the exception of the most radical of modern Republicans, the religious extremists, and Tea Partiers, many Republicans are waking up and realizing that the Party they are loyal too, is not loyal to them.

If Clinton gets elected... well, she is a Democrat in Name Only. If this was the 1960s, she would have been a Centrist Republican, not a Democrat. Never mind that she is flip-flopping on nearly everything now and mimicking Sanders, with the exception of her most fanatical supporters, even Democrats take for granted that she is only flip-flopping until after she would take office; she is only changing her views to get elected. Even if she gets protest votes over Trump, nothing would change.  It would be party politics as usual.

If Sander's wins, however, it is a game changer.  Part of his appeal is that he is not just a political leader, he is the leader of a movement.  A grassroots movement of the young and old alike.  The GOP is a repulsive force to to the Millennial Generation.  Even Millennial Republicans can see the writing on the wall if the GOP keeps to the path it is on.  That is IF you can find a Millennial Republican, most pay no attention to the GOP what so ever. In a more diverse-sensitive America, surviving parties must embrace the diversity of our nation. So far Republicans mostly alienate it.

If Sanders takes office, the GOP party leaders will have to wake up or lose their party.  To keep GOP obstructionists from stonewalling the White HOuse and Congressional Dems, GOP candidates will have to be more moderate, more willing to compromise, and more in touch with the needs of their constituents.  Too long have the 1% run politics to the chagrin of voters.  When Sanders takes office in 2017, it will show the 1%, and more importantly the American voter, that money is done.  Politics belong to all of us, not just the 1%.  The GOP will have to listen to their more moderate voters and politicians, and balance will return to American Politics. It is time for the GOP to return to its Lincoln roots, to regain its true fiscal responsibility like what Teddy Roosevelt exhibited, to work for the American People like Ike Eisenhower and not Big Business.

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