The political season is in high-gear in America, and as always there is no greater spectator sport. The only thing missing is the cheerleaders (unless you count CNN). This year’s drama is even more intense than usual. We saw the slow-motion collapse of the Democratic Party this decade, with loss of the U.S. House, Senate, numerous state legislatures and a dozen governors. Now we may be watching the fast-motion collapse of the Republican Party, with two anti-establishment candidates gathering the vast majority of presidential primary votes and delegates.
Who can blame the voters of both parties for being upset? Polls consistently indicate two-thirds of the country thinks America is heading in the wrong direction. The economic recovery since the Great Recession of 2008-2009 is the slowest on record. 45 million Americans are on food stamps, and 11 million are on Social-Security disability. As my wife says, “we used to live in a country. Now it feels like we live in a bureaucracy.”
So maybe the ferment in both political parties is a positive sign. Americans are searching for alternative ideas and leaders, and are willing to take chances with outsiders and non-politicians. It looks like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump will collect 75% of the GOP primary votes this season. The GOP needs to either get back in touch with its base, or a new party will emerge.
Despite the nastiness and name-calling, the fight for the GOP nomination may be a signal of renewed Republican vigor. There is even the beginning of an old-fashioned brawl inside the Democratic Party, which is overdue and would probably be healthy. That party has marched in lock-step towards politically-correct statism for over a generation, and seems Jurassic in many of its positions. A political brawl like the Republicans are having is just what the Democratic Party needs if it going to recover from its collapse at the state and local levels across the country. The Democrats need to open the windows and let some fresh air into their retirement home.
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