George Washington warned us, back in 1796. It took about 200 years for Newt Gingrich to pull it off. He cribbed many of his ideas from Vladimir Lenin, who wrote What is To Be Done? right about halfway in between, around 1903.
Both Gingrich and Lenin grasped the idea that political parties should not follow a liberal democratic path, and represent the ideas of a mass of independent citizens – it soul direct the opinions of a mass of voters, tell them what to do. The “low-information voter” was a concept that both Gingrich and Lenin understood – that the ignorant doter was necessary and desirable for the vanguard of the party to exist, and lead them unthinkingly to a determined mass response by the party.
That was the effective end of the Republican Party as an instrument of effecting the voters’ will through a common party.
Washington offered, “One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.” He saw parties as arising from regional conflicts. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the parties of class and ethnicity became defined in a modern sense.
Anyone daring to read Mein Kampf will notice a streak of coherent criticism of the weakness of party-based liberal democracy. That’s hardly an endorsement of one’s ideas.
Gingrich understood that a party was organized for the leadership to command the people, not the inverse. The “Contract With America” was written by one party in a contract – the Republican Party – in coherence with another, “America,” two opposing interests with some common expectations.
The Democratic Party slipped under the waves of democracy more subtly; it is as we see, merely a different brand than the Republican Party, a different fast-food chain.
Without realizing that history, it is difficult to understand why the Trump controversy has blown up the Republican Party of today. Trump was roundly ignored by the vanguard of the Republican Party as a clown, and it was clear to the leadership that, no matter how he entertained the masses, he was to be no more than a sideshow supporter of the nominee. The vlasti in Washington never mentioned the technicality that Trump could “win” the convention if he garnered a majority of supporters. How could that happen? It would only be the result of a catastrophe – say, if the ten serious candidates died in an airplane crash or something.
A similar event has been buried in the rewriting of the history of Ronald Reagan. Up until he demonstrated a strong showing in 1979, he was mocked as a lightweight, an empty suit who might capture a few dozen votes, and sway the final candidate to pat the Reaganites on the head, making one of their minions Secretary of the Interior or such. But as he came to the forefront through the primaries, a lot of backstory rewriting and propaganda took place to ally the Republicans under Reagan.
Reagan at least had political chops – Trump does not. He is the nominee solely based on an agreement by the disobedient Republi-peasants who have remained unthinkingly loyal to the party for a few decades, decided they would have a turn again, after thirty-five years.
The Republican Party is in the throes of the agony, that they have lost power to the poor Republicans. Poor Republicans have become the majority influence in the party, and they are having second thoughts about the Gingrich Agreement.
The Democratic Party can’t believe its luck – they have been handed the Presidency of a Goldwater Girl, Hilary Clinton, who is barely a few scintillas of opinon from being the Poppy Bush of the Republicans. It is hard to have a civil war with two Royalist parties opposing each other. We now have such.