The most enduring cliché of every presidential election is that it is the most important in history. The nominees proclaim this because, for them, this is certainly true. They also hope it will motivate their base to vote.
That said, this time it could be true. America is having a political nervous breakdown. It’s overdue, and a good thing. Out of the chaos a profound transformation will likely ensue. What might that look like?
The presenting problem with our political system seems to be that the GOP has grown vague as to its core identity as the authentic party of peace, equitable prosperity, and human dignity. While both parties have lapsed from ideology to dogma, the Democrats are much clearer on what they are about.
The GOP has grown so vague with respect to its core mission that when I point out the historically incontrovertible facts of its values to my progressive friends, they look at me, bewildered, to see whether I am pulling their leg.
Let’s exonerate the GOP for having lost its way. The GOP takes its cue from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy which has lost its unity and focus.
Conservatives are not quite culpable either. In 1988, as reported by the LA Times, one of President Gorbachev’s key advisors gave away the game. “Our major secret weapon,” said Georgi Arbatov, director of the Soviet Academy of Sciences’ Institute for U.S and Canada Studies, “is to deprive you of an enemy.”
The perp? Mikhail Gorbachev. Perp, however, does not do him justice. Gorbachev’s motives were noble, and although it has taken decades to play out, what he unleashed inside American politics may finally break down the GOP’s dogma and allow it to find its way again. This would be of incalculable value.
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.