Guest Commentary by Ryan Niemann
This was supposed to be it. This was supposed to be the election that finally disassembled the Republican Party. This was supposed to be the election that saw all of the metaphorical chickens returning to their metaphorical roosts, rendering the Republican Party nothing more than its disparate and grossly cobbled together parts flailing on the ground at the sight of the first woman President following the first African American President. “This would be a reckoning for the Republican Party,” Very Smart People assured us, confident 50 years of Republicans embracing the worst impulses of the American Id were finally, gloriously, coming to an ignoble end. That the adults in the party would realize the error of their ways and reject the nihilism and anger which had come to be the Republican’s brand. That they would again become an integral part in our two-party system, ensuring the country would run as smoothly as it could.
And yet, here we are, on a bright and unseasonably warm November morning, with the election called for Trump, and the Republican Party ascendant and aching to roll back the last eight years of a presidency they de-legitimized and denigrated at every opportunity. This bright and warm morning, when the leaders of the Democratic Party fully wake up and realize what has happened, will need to have a serious soul searching to fully realize how they can come back from this deplorable debacle.
There will be plenty of inter-party fighting that follows, between the centrist/pragmatic Clinton era leaders and the progressive wing of the party (Sanders supporters will yell to anyone within ear shot that if the Party had just nominated Bernie, none of this would have happened. After seeing turnout numbers, I think even Bernie would have lost). This is the metaphorical fork in the road for the party, between progressive economic ideas and more conservative, and more importantly, what the party looks like and which voting groups it reaches out to. If anyone tells you they know which way it will go, they are full of shit. It is within the realm of possibility this fully splinters the Democratic Party, with the progressives leaving while the centrists try and poach “moderate” Republicans to form a third party, taking certain fiscal cues from the Republicans while sticking with the more socially liberal policies of the current Democratic Party. But while this is happening, one thing is abundantly clear:
The Democrats have to fight.
They need to absorb and fully understand the tools and traps and legislative choke points the Republicans wielded for the last 8 years.
If they can work it just right (I’m serious, stop laughing!) their public face can be one of reconciliation and cooperation while privately they make his life a living hell. There are people in the Democratic Party (most notably Elizabeth Warren and President Obama) who are very good at poking him and mocking him in ways which can drive him to outbursts of impotent rage. Hopefully he has enough of these outbursts that a wedge can be driven between Trump and more moderate Republicans, enough to form an “enemy of my enemy” coalition to act as a bulwark against Trump’s more damaging radical ideas and proposals. It is a very long shot they can pull this off in any way, but at this point, what do they have to lose?
Ryan Niemann is a semi-kept man who enjoys the finer things in life, like good strong whiskey, stronger jokes, and people who leave him the fuck alone. You can bother him @643politics. That’s the site’s Twitter. I’ll relay the message. I told you he likes to be left alone.