Lost in all the brouhaha over Donna Brazile’s new book, Hack, and her allegations of coordination between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC are important lessons about political parties in America today.
In 1796, when George Washington warned political parties could “become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government,” he could have been thinking of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Neither party’s 2016 nominee was fit to occupy an office held by men like Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Ronald Reagan, but, alas, someone had to win.
Now that Vladimir Putin’s man occupies the Oval Office like a malignant cancer, Republicans act as his defenders and enablers because of the same kind of partisan loyalty Washington warned us about that puts party over country. Republicans “make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests,” and they have sold out all their principles to do it.
If Washington’s warnings failed to prevent the rise of the modern Democratic and Republican parties, we should insist, at the very least, that they wield their power responsibly. Party leaders should put their thumbs on the scale to protect us from socialists and extremists like Bernie Sanders. The nomination rules should “rig the game” against dangerously unqualified candidates who, like Donald Trump, lack the character, temperament, and intellect to be president.
Bad primary rules and a crowded field of candidates propelled Trump closer to the GOP nomination than a healthy democracy would allow, but cowardice prevented Republicans from denying its nomination to him in Cleveland when they could have. They shirked their responsibility to the country and its future when they quashed NeverTrump, and they will pay the price in 2018 and beyond.
The Unbearable Dumbness of Trump Supporters
Speaking of partisans, is anything more galling than the spectacle of Trump supporters lecturing the rest of us about patriotism, character, and sexual improprieties?
As they shill for Trump the draft dodger, who attacks gold star families and belittles the service of John McCain, they condemn NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem. As they defend the Trump campaign for colluding with Vladimir Putin and Russia to win the White House, they spread fake news about Hillary Clinton and uranium deals. As they obsess over Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, they ignore Trump’s history of adultery and divorce. As they attack Democrats for accepting campaign contributions from Harvey Weinstein, they gloss over Trump’s boasts that he gets away with sexual assault because he’s a celebrity.
If Trump’s supporters believe this kind of blatant hypocrisy makes for a persuasive political campaign, they must be dumber than the demographics say. One Trump defender on Twitter even claimed Trump was a moral reprobate only when he was a Democrat. From what I can tell, he still is.
The sad fact of the matter is that Republicans surrendered issues of character and patriotism when they nominated Trump for president. Anything they can say about a Democrat can be said about Trump, and worse. They knew this, and they hopped on the Trump train, anyway. It’s no wonder so many Republicans hate NeverTrump. They’re the only ones with principles!
At least they still have the moral high ground on the Klan and the neo-Nazi movement. Oh, wait. Nevermind.
Christmas Bah Humbug
Parents can barely check their kids’ Halloween hauls before retailers carpet bomb us with Christmas ads. Thanksgiving used to be the kickoff for the holiday season, but retailers need Christmas to put them in the black, so now we get two months of Christmas carols and holiday cheer instead of one.
I always loved Christmas, but two months of a good thing is too much. It’s impossible to sustain a Christmas atmosphere for two months, and the barrage of ads wears some of us down and transforms Christmas from a happy holiday to an unhappy obligation.
One month of Christmas builds anticipation. Two months of Christmas is an endurance challenge. And I hate to point this out, but in some stores, Christmas creeps onto the shelves in August.
But at least we can finally say “Merry Christmas” again!