When I was a kid growing up when we only had black & white TV, the Republican Party represented the Chamber of Commerce, and the Democratic Party represented the United Federation of Teachers, the UFT. Sometimes one got more, sometimes the other, but it seemed to me that we needed both.
Now when I say that I don’t want the Republican Party to win any election for any position from dog-catcher up to President, you know that I’m old enough to remember when we had people we paid to go around and catch dogs. We call such folks animal-control officers today, but I still don’t want the Republican Party to win any kind of election at all.
What do we get from the GOP? We get prayers and the elimination of science-based curriculum in public schools. We get barriers to immigration and appeals to atavistic nationalism from some pre-modern age, and most of all, we get a coarse, vulgar, and insulting verbal style which has no place in the public domain.
When did any President before Donald Trump ever refer to a critic as a ‘lowlife?’ When did a President before Donald Trump ever say the phrase ‘shithole countries’ out loud? I used to have a friend who told me that he liked Trump because Trump said out loud what many of us thought but kept to ourselves. Which is the reason this numbskull is no longer my friend.
When Trump first started his campaign, he sounded like some old guy nursing his 50-cent beer in a saloon in Richmond Hill, Queens and complaining that everything was going to hell in a handbasket. Taxes were too high, the ‘element’ was moving into the neighborhood, the goddamn Chinese were ripping us off, and the fucking Jets were going to wind up at the bottom of the AFC East. Things were just no goddamn good.
Which turned out to be true once Covid-19 turned into a Pandemic and Trump sat on his ass claiming that everything was under control. How do you make Anthony Fauci into an enemy? You don’t. How do you address the country’s worst public health crisis in more than a century by referring to it as the ‘kung flu?’ You don’t.
As far as I’m concerned, the so-called ‘split’ between progressives and mainliners in the Democratic Party should really become an opportunity for Democrats to figure out how to become two parties and consign the GOP to what Grandpa would call ‘drerd’ (read: good riddance.) Putting the Republican Party on the same ash heap of history which contains the Whig Party and the American Party would be a perfect ending to the history of a political party which actually still allows someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene to show up on the floor of the House of Representatives and cast a vote.
The Whig Party, active beginning in the mid-1830’s, grew up in opposition to Andrew Jackson but its leadership couldn’t decide what to do about slavery, so it went out of business after thirty years. The American Party, better known as the ‘Know Nothings,’ first appeared as a reaction against immigration from Ireland and Germany in the 1840’s, but also collapsed after some thirty years.
Today’s GOP has been around for a century and a half, more or less, so its existence and influence is much more than skin deep. But you would think that precisely because of its longevity and long-term presence in so many communities, that its leadership could see the handwriting on the wall and refashion the party to reflect how this country has changed and will continue to change.
Yesterday, I was driving around in what we call the ‘hill towns’ of Western Massachusetts, i.e., the few towns in the Berkshires that haven’t become weekend hideaways for the rich and famous out of Boson and New York. These crummy, little towns happen to be the only communities which still send representatives to Beacon Hill, right now the GOP holds 30 out of 150 seats.
When I drove around the hill towns last year I would see a Trump – 2020 lawn sign or banner from time to time. Yesterday, the only political messaging I saw in these towns were BLM signs. And believe me, the houses which openly support BLM aren’t owned by big-city liberals, because big-city liberals don’t park rusted, old cars without tires on their front lawns.
Yesterday, that schmuck who plays at being the Governor of Texas signed a bill banning transgender kids from participating in high school sports. These are the kinds of issues which today’s GOP believes will enable them to compete nationally to control the Oval Office, the Senate, and the House.
What the Democrats need to do is make a virtue out of stealing any election that might result in a victory for the GOP. And if any Republican candidates for political office want to hire an attorney to protect their Constitutional ‘right’ to go out and solicit votes, there’s a guy named Rudy Giuliani who’s willing to represent them for a small fee.