It is an article of faith from the highest level of Democratic leadership and the mainstream media that America “needs” the Republican Party.
We hear the notion all the time from influential people like President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. And of course, the press, in their fetish for bipartisanship at any cost, is always willing to forward and amplify this notion.
Like most non-scientific things with this level of consensus, it isn’t true.
There is no need for the Republican Party in America. There’s nothing in the nation’s DNA that requires this sort of deviant mutation sequence. Nothing.
The Republican Party is directly responsible or a willing enabler of some of the worst things in America, and it gets even worse when you connect the party to the wider conservative movement, which used to have a strong foothold within the Democratic Party up until the 1960s.
Racial segregation? That was conservatism. Opposition to women’s and LGBT equality? That was Republicans and conservatives (they’ve done an exceptional job memory-holing the Bush administration’s opposition to same-sex marriage).
It is Republicans who keep cutting taxes for the super-wealthy that accelerates economic downturns leading to the election of multiple Democratic presidents. It was Republicans who traded arms for hostages in Iran-Contra, it was their party who laughed at the AIDS crisis as a “gay plague,” and the bombs that dropped on Iraq over WMD lies all but had the RNC elephant stamped on them.
And it was Republican leadership marching in lockstep to the twice-impeached Donald Trump that stood by as nearly 600,000 Americans died from COVID-19.
What, exactly, are we so hell-bent on saving here?
The best way forward in America would be the political death of the Republican Party and its affiliated conservatism. The country would be better off to have Republicans out in the wilderness, out of power and trading stories about crank conspiracies like trickle-down economics and Obama’s birth certificates. They should be in quarantine-style isolation, socially distanced from the American body politic.
Major parties with massive influence die all the time. Nobody serious is asking for a return of the Whigs, the Nazis or the Communists.
So is the alternative one-party dominance, with Democrats as the sole, viable option? Of course not. Within the Democrats and the wider American left, there is ample debate and disagreement on key issues, and the role of government in life.
The center-left and left are in something of an alliance at the moment and for the foreseeable future, but there are real differences between leaders like President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and those who align with them, as well as further to the right and left of them within the Democratic Party.
I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, and probably not for the foreseeable future, but the country would be in a much healthier place if those were the poles in our political discourse.
Democrats love their Pollyanna narratives. You can see it with this clinging to the idea that the Republicans need saving. It’s a story we tell ourselves that could be ripped from an episode of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing.
The Republican Party, invaded by extremist hordes, powerless before them, reaches out to its political rival who rides in on a white horse and saves them from themselves.
But it’s also balderdash.
The Republicans have repeatedly shown America it does not want to be saved. The party responded to Bill Clinton’s election by wholeheartedly embracing Nixon’s toxic brand of bigoted politics, launching ventures like Fox News that broadcast a steady stream of hate and lies into the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
They got even worse during the presidency of Barack Obama, and elected an absolute idiot clad in ignorance and bloodlust for nonwhites in response. Now they continue to support him and make excuses for moments as extreme as an armed attack on the U.S. Capitol in his defense.
Right now the Republican cult is purging those who do not worship it’s latest Dear Leader.
Not to mention their abject dedication to rigging the electoral process with the goal in mind of preventing a Democrat from ever wielding power at any level – county, state, federal – ever again.
Democrats look like naïve simpletons bent on their own destruction when they insist that such an entity must be saved and is somehow necessary.
We don’t need a Republican Party or conservative ideology. If it dies off politically, we are under no obligation to save it.
To paraphrase the great Ivan Drago: If it dies, it dies.