Much has been made about the in-fighting and feuding within the Republican Party, and not only is it accurate but if anything it’s probably under-reported by the mainstream media. Should Mitt Romney lose in November, you will see the political equivalent to Antietam within the GOP leading up to 2016.
But the same carnage will occur within the Democrat Party if Obama loses this fall, and it might actually be worse. It’s just you wouldn’t know it, because the internal problems among the Democrats are not as widely exposed by the fourth estate.
To understand why the Democrats are at the same crossroads as are the Republicans, you must first understand the differences in structure and methodology between America’s two major parties.
For all its talk of local control, the Republican Party is ironically a very top-down organization with most of the power concentrated inside the Beltway. Many state and county Republican Parties in this country are little more than glorified bridge or rotary clubs, where who’s bringing what for the potluck (and who’s responsible for the clean up afterwards) is the most hotly debated topic. That’s because most Republicans do not view participation in politics to be among their top priorities. They’re often more focused on their careers, businesses, churches and families. Government for most of them is a necessary evil at best.
Furthermore, it is ideology that drives most Republicans to become Republicans. When someone thinks Republican the brands they think of first are issue-based: small government, less taxes, pro-life, pro-family values, strong national defense, etc. At its core the GOP is an ideologically-driven party. Unfortunately, running that ideologically-driven party is a ruling class atop that top-down organization that is not as ideologically-driven, which leads to the much-publicized in-fighting within the GOP. There is constant tension between conservatives and the Republican establishment, and that tension will come to a head if Romney (the establishment candidate) fails to beat Obama as his establishment predecessor John McCain did.
For all its talk of consolidation, the Democrat Party is ironically a very bottom-up organization. It is much more organized at the state and county level across the country than are the Republicans. The local powerbrokers and tribal chieftains of the Democrat Party are likewise much more empowered. If Republicans view government as a necessary evil, Democrats see government as necessary for good. Many Democrats believe that access to and activation of government is necessary to advance their values. They often view government as vital to do whatever it is they seek to do in and with their personal lives, so participation in government is among their top priorities.
Furthermore, it is identity that drives Democrats to become Democrats. When someone thinks Democrat the brands they think of first are people-based: black, Hispanic, single moms, working class, homosexual, etc. At their core the Democrats are a constituency-driven party. Unfortunately for them, now running their party is a more issue-driven, hard-left worldview that is more interested in Progressive Social Reconstructionism than it is the traditional (and in my opinion flawed) Democrat Party principle that government is necessary to guarantee fairness for all people groups. This will lead to increasing tension within the Democrat Party that has been exposed in recent weeks, and it will come to a head if Obama joins Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as the only presidents to lose their re-election campaigns in the last 80 years.
This may be a surprise to many of you reading this because most of you are conservatives, and most conservatives don’t understand the inner-workings of the Democrat Party. In a nut-shell, the leadership of the Republican Party is more moderate-to-liberal culturally than the base of the Republican Party is. On the other hand, the base of the Democrat Party is more moderate-to-conservative culturally than the leadership of the Democrat Party is.
The true leftists in the Democrat Party are not found at the local county Democrat central committee in Montana. That person is likely just a Democrat because they don’t trust corporate America, and either has no conviction on social issues either way or is “personally” pro-life and pro-family. The true leftists in the Democrat Party are found in leadership and on the biggest platforms the party has in media and pop culture.
Meanwhile, Republicans are the exact opposite. True conservatives are usually not found in leadership in Washington, D.C. or even on many national platforms the Republicans have, but are the local people in the grassroots. Even conservative media superstars like Rush Limbaugh had to literally build their own platform apart from the Republican Party power structure of their day.
Since the moderate-to-liberal leadership of the GOP is what is presented as Republican to the masses, and the progressive-to-leftist leadership of the Democrat Party is what is presented as Democrat to the masses, the false assumption is that the only real argument left in this country is over the speed and not the direction.
But then how do you explain the fact a hot-button issue like marriage is now 31-0 in direct referendum elections, and has won in notoriously liberal states like California, Oregon, and Maine?
The answer is simply this: the moderate-to-conservative base of the Democrat Party joins with the conservative-to-very conservative base of the Republican Party in each of these states to create a winning coalition that operates outside of the ruling class.
Fast forward to November if Obama is defeated.
Obama has opened up a fault line within his own party. In 2008 Obama ran as a traditional Democrat populist. The soaring rhetoric about bringing America’s disparate people groups together, along with the narrative of voting for America’s first black president, unified Reagan Democrats and enough right-of-center independents to create Obama’s winning coalition. However, in 2012 those groups are now up for grabs because they did not get what they previously paid for. Instead, what they got was a hard-left, progressive-educated former college professor/community organizer from the Ward Churchill wing of the party.
Even now, with his very political survival on the line, Obama cannot resist the temptation to go hard-left on issues like homosexuality and demagogue a private equity firm like Bain Capital (full disclosure, I used to work for them) for doing exactly what our economy desperately needs private equity firms to successfully do. The Obama Regime is so convinced that traditional Americana is out of the mainstream, they believe a winning argument against Romney is to do a better job of convincing Americans Romney is a conservative (when he’s not) than Romney has done convincing conservatives he’s one of us the past five years.
Just as conservatives are frustrated with Romney’s inability to articulate a principled conservative conviction on any issue, the Democrat base that doesn’t want to lose the presidency to a corporatist Republican is frustrated with Obama’s unwillingness to broadcast a case for his re-election as opposed to narrow-casting leftist, progressive talking points.
Whether it’s Newark Mayor Corey Booker urging Obama to stop vilifying private enterprise, or black ministers criticizing Obama for turning his back on the Word of God on homosexuality, the Democrat base has the same problem with Obama the Republican base has with Romney.
That problem is no man is capable of rising above his own worldview.
Obama can’t help but regurgitate the leftist-progressive talking points because he’s a leftist-progressive. Similarly, Romney can’t help but run as the human etch-a-sketch, soul-less technocrat because that’s exactly what he is.
For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
The American people are in a real predicament at such a pivotal point in our history, faced with a presidential election between a man with no principles and another with all the wrong ones. Almost half of the American people said in a recent Rasmussen survey they’re faced with an election between “the lesser of two evils.” Other polls show the American people don’t want Obama to be president, and don’t trust Romney to be. It’s barely June and Romney and Obama have barely unleashed their considerable campaign war chests upon one another in a race to the bottom. Imagine what those numbers will look like after five months and over a billion dollars spent from both sides on attack ads.
If Obama wins this war of attrition, it will set off an ideological cleansing of the Republican Party in 2014 and 2016. The battle cry will be it’s time to return to stalwart conservative principles after back-to-back losses by Mitt McCain.
If Obama loses, you will see a constituency-led civil war among the various people factions of the Democrat Party, especially with no obvious heir apparent to Obama (Hillary Clinton will be 68 years old), and each blaming the other for losing to a flip-flopping, rich white guy. The first fingers will be pointed at the hard left leadership of the Democrat Party, and folks like the 40% of Democrats that voted for marriage in North Carolina recently will be the ones doing the finger-pointing.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel symbolizing an oncoming train for the ruling class after November, the only question is which ruling class gets steamrolled.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.