2015-10-11 – When I play with myself, I always win. Set up a chess board and give me both black and white and there’s no question: the victory is mine.
Republicans are not like that. When Republicans play with themselves, everyone loses.
The reason I always win when I play with myself and Republicans don’t is that I am a one with myself. Republicans are not.
Tea Partiers understand this, in a way. They have a name for the sane wing of the Republican Party. They call them RINOs: Republicans In Name Only. This may be the only useful insight we can learn from the Tea Party. They and the party they inhabit are not one. But I would be inclined to apply the RINO moniker to the Tea Party, rather than the other way around.
Because the Tea Party seems entirely non-Republican. The Tea Party is more like an independent third party that had historically attached itself to the larger parties. Until the 1960s, they were part of the Democratic Party. The break with the Democrats surfaced with the creation of the States’ Rights Democratic Party (“Dixiecrats”) in 1948 and solidified after passage of the Civil Rights Act under Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Nixon’s Southern strategy and the Reagan Democrats began the incorporation of this group into the old Republican Party.
The strategy helped to win elections for the Republicans, but Republicans-plus-Tea-Party was never really one party. And now Tea-Party demands are making this terribly apparent.
Maybe it’s time to acknowledge that American is a three-party country.
This would undoubtedly hurt the Republicans electorally—in the short term—just as jettisoning the Dixiecrats hurt the Democratic Party.
But in the long run, wouldn’t this restore balance to our politics? As things stand now, the Republican Party is entirely unable to advocate or deliver true conservatism. They are entirely unable to be a counterweight to the Democrats. I am a Democrat, but I appreciate pushback—if it’s sane. I miss the old Republican Party (even if I disagree with it on many things).
The third party? Well, they’ve had many names over the years. They’ve been Republicans, they’ve been Democrats, for a brief time they were the American Independent Party, before that they were Dixiecrats, and long before that they were the Confederate States of America (and northern sympathizers).
But they have a name for themselves: the Tea Party. That’s fine. Some Tea Partiers talk of secession. I don’t see that happening. Here again, they have a germ of an idea. But rather than separating themselves geographically as a separate nation, it might be time for them to separate as an independent political party.
They won’t like that, of course. The whole reason they attach themselves to a larger party is that they don’t really have a theory of governance, so they’d never win many elections on their own without making some kind of change. But being on their own might give them a chance to grow up.