Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Republicans: Secession and Civil War?

The Republican Party began in the mid-1850s as a third party alternative to the choices then offered to America by the traditional two-party system. Indeed, they are the only third party to replace and major party and become one of the two alternatives in our two-party system.

The ascension of the Republican Party to power in the Congress and the White House in the elections of 1860 sparked the secession crisis and subsequent American Civil War.

Now there is talk of a secession crisis within the Republican Party, as the Tea Party movement has stalled in its efforts to turn the Republicans in a more conservative direction. Sarah Palin has threatened to leave the Republican Party, disingenuously claiming that it really has left her. Glenn Beck has advocated "defunding the GOP." And Erik Erickson has hinted at that the failure to defund Obamacare will lead to a third party movement that will divide the Republicans.

Such talk is as mad as that engaged in by Southern "fire eaters" in 1860.

Our Tea Party Movement is not a party. Nor has it the makings of a party. Although ostensibly non-partisan, the Tea Party Movement has become a faction of the Republican Party. The attempt to start a third party would be disastrous for both the Republicans, the Tea Party Movement, and the country. Such a move would so weaken the Republicans as to leave the Social Democrats in control of all branches of the United States government. And whatever the nature of a new third party, it would hardly function as a viable alternative to the two major parties. So far we have been unable to establish ourselves as the dominant faction within the Republican Party. We are still working to win over the majority of Republicans to our point of view. What makes us think we have the support among the American public to warrant the creation of a new political party?

Hopefully, the talk of Palin, Beck, and Erikson is just that--talk intended to move establishment Republicans to embrace the ideas of constitutionally limited government, fiscal responsibility, and free markets. If such threats are real, than I can only concur with Alice:

The Republican establishment, though, needs to move in the direction of the Tea Party. While the Tea Party suffered some high profile embarrassments surrounding the candidacies of Christine O'Donnell, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party was largely the impetus behind the recapture of the House of Representatives in 2010. And with the disastrous roll out of Obamacare, American voters should be more attuned than ever to the message of the Tea Party. As long as we stay on message.

What else can the establishment Republicans to stand on? The "signature accomplishment" of the Bush Administration?


CW said...

Interesting bit of history, V.L. I didn’t know republicans began as a third party (my shameful ignorance of history is showing).

I think you’re right about the risk posed by creating a 3rd party, but I can relate to the frustration of the Tea Party folks and I think they are beginning to see themselves as having not much too lose if the alternative is a choice between a democrat and a RINO. I used to think it was crazy talk but since the GOP has proceeded to put up one non-conservative candidate after another I think it may finally be time to play out this game of chicken without blinking. Maybe instead of conservatives having to choose between, say, Hillary Clinton & Chris Christie it’s time for moderates to choose between Hillary and perhaps Ted Cruz.

RightDetour said...

Hey CW!

The Republicans began organizing in several different states in 1854. Until 1854, the major party opposing the Democrats called themselves the Whigs, after an English party of the same name. (The English Whigs were largely responsible for limiting the power of the English king and England's Glorious Revolution of 1689. The American Whigs adopted the name because, like the English Whigs, they opposed the strong presidency of Democrat Andrew Jackson.

The Whigs fractured over the issue of slavery. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act open up western territories to slavery which had previously been closed to it. The Whig party divided over those who adamantly opposed the expansion of slavery and those who compromised for fear of secession and civil war. The Whig Party seemed powerless in the eyes of many Northern voters to stop the expansion of slavery. Anti-slavery Whigs such as Abraham Lincoln helped form a new party with some anti-slavery Northern Democrats and a small radical party called the Free Soil Party. Both the new Republican Party and the Whig Party ran presidential candidates in 1856, but the Democrats won. By 1860, the Whigs had dissolved, leaving the Republicans as the new major opposition party to the Democrats. In that year, Republicans capture control of the Presidency (Abraham Lincoln) and the Congress. That sparked the secession and civil war.

RightDetour said...

I, too, prefer conservative candidates to RINOS. I found none of the last crop of candidates the least bit attractive. I held my nose as I voted for Ron Paul in the primary and held it again as I voted for Mitt Romney. But I voted. I did not pout and sit it out like some prominent "spokespersons" for the Tea Party seem to be advocating. Back in 1960, conservative supporters of Barry Goldwater booed when Richard Nixon passed him over for liberal Henry Cabot Lodge to be Nixon's running mate. Goldwater's response in the podium: "Let's grow up, conservatives!"

CW said...

Hi V.L.

Thanks for taking on the job of educating me on the history of the Republican Party. I sorely need the help.

I did the same as you, voting for Paul in the primary and Romney in the general even though neither one was my ideal candidate. After years of mulling over this dilemma in my head I’ve come to have more respect for those who have said “no more” to choosing between a fast march to socialism and a slow march to socialism. I may not always agree with the strategy, but I can respect it

I think the question is this: Are we/they pouting over insignificant differences or are the GOP and the moderates asking us to sign away our core values to "win?" If it’s the latter I would argue that a win is really no win at all.

At the crux of this is the question of who republican voters really are. We like to think we’re all conservatives with differences perhaps on social issues, but I came to the conclusion some time ago that I’ve been fooling myself on this. After Bush, McCain, Romney and now perhaps Christie, I think it’s time to acknowledge that the party has become liberalized. They just don’t recognize it for what it is.

Thus I think it’s time for true conservatives to spend less time arguing about the resumes of this or that candidate and to have a debate about what conservatism REALLY is.