Do you know what the best thing about not identifying as a Republican or Democrat is? No, it’s not the ability to smugly say you’re an independent whenever someone gets red-faced and angry when you don’t agree with them. No, it’s the ability to judge ideas and people based on their merit without feeling the pressure to stick up for your party or your candidates.
Not being a true-blue Democrat lets me hear something like “Bill Clinton caused the 2008 recession because he repealed Glass-Stegall” and shrug because I don’t give a shit about maintaining the legacy of a Democratic President. Instead, I can say, “So we agree that easing financial and banking regulations is a bad idea. Got it, now who is more likely to do that in the future?”
I believe that it’s party affiliation (and disdain for the other party) that has given rise to Donald Trump’s political career as much as anything. Yes, more than racist dog-whistle campaigning, more than anger-tapping speeches, more than fear-mongering memes. The fact that he had an R next to his name and ran as a Republican was more than enough to get people behind him no matter what he said or did.
Before we go any further, don’t get too happy with yourselves, Democrats. You’re not off the hook by a damn sight. You aren’t going to win this election as much as “not lose” it. Other than a few good TV ads aside, what did your party do besides shoot itself in the foot over and over with poor management, email leaks and shady (to say the least) primary favoritism. I think almost any other candidate from the Republican primary would have won the general election over Hillary. Clinton.
Maybe it's the fact that I’m on day two of my Smile Direct invisible braces dental treatment and there is a slight, though a constant pain in my mouth, but I’ve had just about enough of a few things. And if we’re going to get through these next few weeks, let alone years, alive we will need one thing to happen.
Dear GOP, for all of our sakes, please get your shit together. I’m aware that all of the things I’m about to say could reasonably be said about the Democrats as well. But there is no doubt that one party is in a little more of a dog-with-his-head-stuck-in-a-fence operating system right now.
Here are a few ways to get started.
Stop putting dumb people on the top of the ticket. For the second time in recent memory (with the first being Sarah Palin), a person who is unequivocally under suited to be President of the United States is a part of the GOP ticket. Knock that shit off, please. It’s scary and makes me nervous. More importantly, it makes voting for the other side a simple matter of self-preservation instead of evaluating ideas and the people who present them. In other words, don’t make me vote for people I don’t believe in just because I’m not sure your if candidates need directions home pinned to their jacket when they go outside.
For that matter, stop embracing dumb things as a general rule. Again, Democrats have their fair share of stupidity and embarrassing people in their ranks. But the GOP has been rolling in their own filth for a few too many years for it to be funny anymore. There are some great minds and great people in the Republican Party. And they are drowned out, terrified of and manhandled by a gaggle of people who do not want to compromise and do not want to govern. See no further than the vacant Supreme Court seat.
I have no doubt that if the roles were switched and it was a Republican President in their last year of office, and the most liberal judge passed away the Democrats would try and stop a nomination too. So both sides would do something if given the opportunity. So both are equally dumb and opportunistic. Fine. That means we get to judge this by what should happen and not what one party wants to happen. What should happen is that the sitting President should nominate a viable Justice who should be promptly vetted and confirmed. But no, we have too many dumb people calling the shots for that to happen.
Stop thinking that compromise is an affront to your beliefs. It’s no way to lead a nation. It’s no way to lead a life! No one gets what they want all the time. Let’s take the debt as an example. Regardless of who caused it (spoiler alert, it was just about everybody), it’s clearly not ideal to have a debt of over $19 trillion. Though the deficit has shrunk in recent years, we still spend more than we take in by a fair amount.
I’m no economist and I am probably not even the most qualified person in this coffee house where I’m typing to speak on these things. But I feel like we would need two things to get this corrected:
Bring in more
If the debt were a paltry $1 trillion, maybe I could get behind the idea that we can make it up through spending cuts alone. At $19 trillion? It sounds like we need a multi-angle approach.
A few years ago when (and I don’t recall the specifics) Democrats offered a 3:1 ratio of spending cuts to increased tax revenue the GOP leaders balked. Some asshat even said on a Sunday morning news show that they would reject a 10:1 spending cut to increased tax income. To which reasonable Republicans of years past probably started rolling in their graves or throwing their heart medicine at the TV screen.
If the debt is that bad, why is anything off the table before it even merits discussion? Because too many in the party believe in maintaining ideological purity more than solving very real issues.We need two (at least) political parties ironing out differences but still making progress on some very serious issues.
Stop thinking you’re losing because of voter fraud. Losing sucks. I get that you really want to win and don’t understand how someone could vote for that loser on the other side. But stop undermining the will of the republic with that nonsense. I’m not saying it has never happened and I agree we should do what we can reasonably do to stop it, but it’s not the reason you lost. I know, I know, something fishy happened in Chicago or Philadelphia because Matt Drudge told you so. Obama could have lost Illinois and Pennsylvania (and we’ll throw in Ohio too for good measure) in 2008 and in 2012, and he still would be Mr. President. You’re losing because you are not putting good candidates up and sometimes that’s just the way things break (i.e. I believe Romney or most any other GOP primary candidate would have won in 2012 if the election were held in spring of that year, but it wasn’t).
Give us another option that isn’t so focused on social issues. I have heard it lamented that Democrats are the ones who push social issues into elections to drive a wedge between the GOP and the voters. For fun, I’ll go ahead and assume it’s true. So let me ask you, do you have to take the bait every damn time? If they’re trying to draw you in, why must you suit up, light your flaming sword and charge in like you’re in the ninth episode of the latest season Game of Thrones?
Or maybe they aren’t drawing you in. Maybe you can’t possibly think of another way to govern that isn’t focused on consenting adults entering a two-person legal agreement of marriage or the dastardly thought that maybe people are sexually active for reasons other than procreation. I’m not mocking you, okay maybe I am a little, but it’s because you deserve it sometimes. But I’m coming from a place of love because I think your best characteristics are hidden behind some very ugly exteriors.
Finally, realize we’re all in this together. I’ll give you this much GOP, when Mr. Trump came down that golden escalator a year ago many of you started preparing a defense against an opportunist demagogue. It wasn't enough, but it shows a sign of life. Those of you who did are the heart of what will, in fact, make America great again (or greater than it already is - which is my stance).
There are a lot of great people in my life who identify with the GOP to one extent or another.. But many of them have taken a long hard look at where you are now as a party as happily lifted their middle finger high for all to see. Take a step back. Can you blame them? What have you offered them in the last generation other than stupid social battles and shortsighted idiocy over government funding? Don’t blame them for not getting in line with your ideals when your methods are as baffling as the people who represent you at the top of your ticket.
For the first time in months, I now believe that Trump may win the presidency. For whatever reason, the whole Trump Tapes thing stuck where other issues like his complete disregard for the law or understanding of how the world works didn’t. Whatever, I’ll take it. If the anger over the Access Hollywood tapes dissipates and Trump withstands yet another blunder, I fear we may not like the outcome Nov 8.
I’m aware it is too much to hope that the GOP will take their role of leadership and govern seriously after this shit show of a theatrical political season. But I have to ask, with all my heart, to please get your shit together as soon as possible.