THE THING THAT WOULDN'T DIE | 2000-12-16
In 1800, as I said, John Adams lost the election overwhelmingly.
But something else happened in 1800. George Washington and John Adams had been Federalists. But after Adams' defeat in 1800, that party began to die. It got only the votes of New England in elections after 1800, and soon it disappeared even there.
In 1932, 1934, and 1936, the same process began with the Republican Party. It began the historic process of dying, so that by 1937, it held only 86 out of 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Like the dying Federalist Party, it got electoral votes only from two New England States in 1936.
But the Republican Party did not die. Instead, it became a "me too party." Anything the liberal Democrats did, the liberal Republicans soon said was just fine. Conservative Republicans, in order to save the Republican Party, gave it to the liberals and moderates.
Everybody talks about how the middle of the road is the majority and is supposed to dominate elections. But after World War II, the Southern Democrats were conservative almost to a man. The Republican Party was solidly conservative. Northern ethnic Democrats were socially very conservative indeed. In fact, there were two huge blocks of conservative voters that made up the base of each of the two parties.
But during all those years, it was the liberal Democrats and the liberal Republicans who ruled their parties nationally.
Today, conservative Republicans do exactly what the 1936 Republicans did. Instead of killing the stupid thing, they sacrifice everything to get a few mythical votes from minority groups in order to keep the stinking carcass of the Republican Party alive.
What if, like the Federalists in 1800, the Republican Party had done the honorable thing and simply DIED? Republicans, the overwhelming majority of them conservatives, would have become part of the Democratic Party, and that party would effectively have ceased to exist with its Republican rival. A new Era of Good Feeling would have come upon America, as it did with the demise of the Federalists.
What if all those Republican conservatives had joined the Southern conservatives and the Northern ethnic social conservatives in the Democratic Party? Would Roosevelt have gotten a third and fourth term? Would Democratic liberals have taken over our national politics, with the connivance of Republican liberals, moderates, and now respectable conservatives?
No way. If the Republican label had died, the American nation might have lived.