by Marion Marks
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
Organization is the heart of most modern political movements, but the frenetic and frantic folly of the Republican fiasco today requires a focus on the fragile fragments that fear has fostered. Alliteration may become the toy that allows sane citizens to survive the 2016 campaign season that will soon be in full two-party fight mode.
The lead up to the two party conventions, however, are taking decidedly different paths. The Democrats are struggling over the role Bernie and his motivated followers will play in Philadelphia as far as planks and speakers in the home of American’s founders. Most of the discourse is of elevated and cerebral material designed to challenge the better minds within the Democratic organization. Truly there are issues that require shaking up the organizational chart, because there is “dead wood” thatmust be pruned from a long-deceased set of limbs of a well-meaning establishment. Some of the worst issues are those that the young and progressive wing of the party feel must be shed.
However, the forest fire of open warfare in the GOP makes the Canadian wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta look like a Boy Scout campfire. Trump lashing out at any dissent in attempt to force lock-step approval with his utterances or diatribes has brought fear into the reelection campaigns of even the most senior incumbent Republican hierarchy. No seat goes unchallenged and “safe districts” may even be in play if the voters feel that the incumbent strays too far from the Trump message or the message goes over the proverbial cliff.
Now with the level of political rancor, the general belief was that after Trump secured the votes required for nomination, the “presumptive” nominee, he would work to join the disparate elements within the party. However, quite the opposite has been the pattern. Trump is seeking to destroy any dissenting voice. And, to question Trump’s statements, to speak against his platitudes or to suggest that his decisions are less than correct is the same as sending up the battle flag. Trump tolerates dissent not at all.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, appears to be working to draw together the Bernie Sanders support wing as best she can. A recent fundraiser email began with: “The Republican Party has a new leader: Donald Trump. I can’t think of a time in my life when I’ve been prouder to be a Democrat — or more committed to building a strong party.”
The Democrats surely believe the Philadelphia convention Super Delegate spin doesn’t turn the way the 1924 Madison Square Garden 103 vote nomination fiasco sent now unheard of Thomas J. Walsh of Montana down in flames. Bernie and Hillary will probably kiss and make up well before they arrive in the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Clinton demonstrates an understanding of those who are diametrically opposed to anything Trump would propose: “Consider Trump’s stated goals for his first 100 days in office: He plans to undo some of President Obama’s most important accomplishments, like the Affordable Care Act and executive orders on immigration, and he promises to appoint a Scalia-like justice to the Supreme Court to rip away our dearest progress, like marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose.”
Certainly this is not expected to bring mainstream Republicans on board the Clinton team, but women who may have been on the fence for Trump may find some portion of the Clinton “Big Tent” that is a bit easier to accept than having to cast in with Trump’s lot.
Party politics as we knew it in the 2015 elections is now history, ancient history at that. The willingness of most voters to accept a party label or even a formerly friendly candidate at face value is a thing of the past. There are some segments who may vote with somewhat uniformity down a party line, but it will be because they were driven away from the other party, most likely. The mob mentality this fall will most likely be known for foolish, last minute attacks or outright obscene statements made by crazed or foolish candidates who have been hung up for scorn and ridicule.
Poor choices do and will always have consequences, and a failure to pay attention to changes in public sentiment will be punished severely. A failure to learn lessons will be recognized in the same way the campaigns of Napoleon and Hitler found failure against Russia and the Russian people. Those wars observed massive casualties on the eastern front as the Russians allowed the climate to be their ally and grotesque images from that time still make people grimace. Similarly this November will likely find countless victims of frostbite or corpses in snow banks following the election.