Hey, Whatever Happened To MY Republican Party??


Ahh.. the good old days. (nooo.. I wasn't around then)

Ahh.. the good old days.
(Nooo.. I wasn’t around then.)

I woke up one day and it was gone!

Yeah, most everything coming from Trump’s win in the election is turning political thought upside down to be sure… and for years to come.  Next month is my 66th time meandering around the sun and up until this last election day I was happy and content feeling like I was a warm and fuzzy baby boomer liberal conservative.  Now I don’t even know what that means.  My political identity is.. gone.  I feel empty, alone, and floundering in a sea of confusion.  I’m like a planet suddenly not held in the comfort of another’s gravitational pull; like Laurel without Hardy, Abbott without Costello… Penn without Teller… um, a bolt without a nut… a toilet without the paper?

I was raised in a republican household with an extended republican family.  We were all middle class folks in the traditional sense.  Dad didn’t work in any trades jobs, never was in manufacturing, but was more or less white collar as an electronics engineer or purchasing agent.  While the family may have reflected republican tendencies we did not have discussions about politics in general or the specific policies of whomever was running the country at the time.  As I got into my teen years Vietnam became a hot topic on TV and radio and at our high school but still I recall no heated home debates.  Although, my sister, four years younger and tended to challenge authority more than I did, did manage to creep to the edge of some level of parental insubordination in having some vigorous debates with my father.  She reflected the then common liberal anti-war mindset usually assigned to students on college campuses.  I preferred to keep the peace at home.

My friends were all republican, thus reflecting the traditional republican ward smack in a city hugely democrat.  We lived in the last all white section of the city and went to one of only two all white high schools in the city.

All politics depends on the view from where you are at.

All politics depends on the view from where you are at.

“There was a time when Rome was great…”

Back in those days republicanism reflected a common feel that government should have as little control of our lives as possible; that free market conditions should allow for open capitalistic expression rather than making laws that restrict market growth.  Republicans tended to prefer a more nationalistic approach to domestic policy… shying away from social programs that kept people leaching off the government… that people should be held accountable for their lot in life and not always be bailed out by some government welfare program.  Republicans stood for big business and little business… a strong military, even in peacetime.

As a popular tendency, republicans were for business, were big business, had money, always felt the democrats wanted to tinker with the Bill of Rights in some form, wanted power for the sake of power, tended to be urban folks, white collar, of privilege.  If there were conspiracy theories in those days it usually involved republicans.

It wasn’t that the democrats were some opposite position as much as they approached it much differently.  The “working class” were democrats.  Rural folks were democrat as were the economically challenged given they tended to benefit from the social programs.  Chicago, as it is still to this day, is traditionally staunchly democratic (in the pre-election “democratic” sense) and so are the unions.  Union members from across the industrial spectrum were staunch democrat back in the day.  Unions have since lost a lot of their influence across the country.

 

Where are we at now?

Good question.  At best (or worst?), just reverse everything I stated above.

During the campaign I couldn’t believe what I was hearing about Hillary and the dems being accused of representing the rich, desiring of more power for the sake of power, being part of some elite in government, uncaring of the poor or economically challenged.  Was I in some bizarro world?  Traditionally years past republicans were generally defending themselves from kind of opposition.

Oddly, Trump does represent some level of traditional republican values in spite of the electorate turning the tables on their traditional party values.  But no one here got any mandate other than the voters, “only” a “whopping” 50% of them (it’s no mandate but a damn good formidable percentage), want some level of domestic policy change away from the effects of globalization.  The irony here is that I would have thought the idea of free market globalization would be favored by the republicans given it’s all about free trade without restrictions and global business expansion.  But this is a nationalistic push-back… likely a good thing since all levels of globalization (social, cultural, economic, etc.), which includes immigration, needs balance.

So.. until then I’ll hang onto declaring my “new” political label for a while.

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6 thoughts on “Hey, Whatever Happened To MY Republican Party??

  1. From the other side of the political spectrum, I feel your pain, Doug. We have an opposition party that has deserted its Socialist roots, and turned its back on the traditional working-class vote and union support that it was founded on. Those former supporters have in turn headed to the Right, seeking recognition and identity in the false promises of nationalists and borderline neo-Nazis who guarantee them a return to past glories, and a renewed national pride.

    I was expelled by the Labour Party for being too Left-Wing. This from people that once claimed to be Socialists, (with a capital S) and still sing the Red Flag at their convention every year. Not that long ago, ( 1987) I was able to vote for a Communist candidate in an election. Now that party can’t even afford to field one candidate in the whole of the UK, and have less members than a rural golf club.
    The Labour Party that once represented the workers is now embarrassed by its past, and wants to disassociate itself from the common people; those who talk with regional accents, worry about the future of their kids, and watch talent shows on TV. The Nationalists have swept the board in Scotland, and are on the move in England and Wales.

    I ask the same question. “Whatever happened to my party?” But I know the answer.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • We don’t. Most election victories since 1945 have been one by a party without a majority vote. We have Constituencies, based on population. So London has many, rural areas less. The large industrial cities have traditionally voted Labour; the better-off districts and towns, farming districts, ‘Middle England’, the affluent areas in cities, and about 50% of London, have voted Conservative. We have 650 constituencies, so the first party to achieve 326 ‘seats’ wins. Not that different to your electoral college system.
      We don’t have any other elected assemblies in England, though Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland do. However, they do not change the national government, only those regional ones.
      Since the rise of the Nationalist vote in Scotland, Labour has lost control of all but one constituency there. So in theory, they are unlikely to ever win an election again, no matter how many votes they receive. Unless there is a complete change of heart by Conservatives in their previous strongholds.
      Interestingly enough, given recent events, the EU Referendum vote was won with the largest majority in the history of UK politics. Yet the losers are still complaining…
      Regards, Pete.

  2. Actually no one quite knows exactly what Trump stands for and they won’t until some time has passed and he has been in office for awhile.

    Trump, we must all remember, is not only a great businessman with strategies that have made him a billionaire but he is also an accomplished showman who knows the intricacies of theater and Public Relations. He can sell. He can act. I think his campaign was a masterwork of scripted confusion designed to deliver a dose of shock and awe to the political community and I think every word that proceeded out of his mouth was both scripted beforehand and exactly what he wanted to say to get the effect he wanted to achieve and guess what! — It worked for him.

    Trump is a “Keep ’em guessing” kind of guy just like Truman was “Give ’em Hell Harry.”

    I think a lot of people — especially a lot of those who don’t understand Trump are going to be pleasantly surprised once he gets his act in gear inside the Oval Office.

  3. That’s one of my general beefs, John.. your first sentence. We assume that when someone runs for public office, presidential or not, that there is some element of truth to what they are saying. After all, aren’t they trying to convince me to vote for them? If we can’t believe in what they say, or in the least have some level of faith in it, how do we know? I am of the ilk that what Trump said (or didn’t) during the campaign convinced many people to vote for him as much as it convinces many people not to vote for him. I want the guy I voted for to at least make an attempt to deliver on what he said to get my vote. This guessing game garbage “wait and see” or “let’s give him a chance” stuff just does not make sense and reveals his demagoguery.
    In a strange irony I actually kinda feel sorry for Trump supporters who tied their vote on his “let’s drain the swamp” thing, the “let’s send her to jail” thing, “let’s get rid of all the establishment elitists”, “let’s dump Obamacare”… all the elements that made those rally supporters wave their signs with rage and contempt. Now he’s softening on all those issues… and he’s not even in office yet. To me he’s being a traitor to his supporters and followers. To me we are at the “we told you so.” stage.

    Regarding your second paragraph… yep, those are the elements oft used to promote Mr. Trump. On that we can respectfully differ. He may have experience moving houses and hotels around the board and flattering his own entertainment brand, but for as much as you suggest these as credentials I find him not knowing a thing about being presidential nor understanding politics and none of these accomplishments will help him much.

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