APPEL: The Republican Collapse Of 2016

I am absolutely heartbroken. As I watch the news, day in and day out, I wonder what happened to the great majority of politically moderate Americans that were backbone of the GOP. Have they gone completely off the deep end this election cycle or is the absolute nonsense that is this campaign, the result of too much misguided trust?

Many of my friends are absolutely convinced that our nation has arrived at what is the “tipping point”. Their definition of this socio-economic, bright red line is that we have reached a point where there are more voters who have a stake in government largess than there are those who contribute to the government coffers through their hard work and entrepreneurship. Could it be that, as it seems, our society has lowered itself to this base level? Perhaps, but then the only insight into such a phenomena is manifested through left and right wing extremists in the print, TV, and radio media and the political operatives that thrive in Washington.

Let me make it clear, if it isn’t already so, that I am disgusted by the unfiltered propaganda that emanates from all of these sources. The American people do not seem to understand that the talking heads that they have to come to trust as purveyors of political gospel are to a great extent simple profiteers. They make millions by selling the trust that common folks place in them, a trust that is founded upon a genuine desire to achieve their image of American prosperity.

I firmly believe that underlying all the political nonsense today there is a bell curved shaped mass of voters, a little to the left of center and a little to the right of center. A few decades ago these were the moderate Republicans and the Reagan Democrats that put Reagan into office. I just cannot believe that this country has moved so far that we are polarized by the dissolution of the great moderate voter block and its replacement by the formation of two extremes.

As a lifelong Republican, I reject the “new” definition of conservatism that has been fostered by the political operatives and media stars, along with the corresponding “litmus test” attitude that they came up with. Politics is a living thing; in order to succeed there can be no litmus test for rigid thinking. American political thought is constantly in flux. If our Party is to succeed we must be flexible and tap into the sentiments of the great moderate majority, even as we gently guide political thinking.

That doesn’t mean that we should abandon leadership and become panderers to the masses, much like our political opponents do. Success in political terms is the ability to create enough support to achieve political power and to use that support to govern in a manner that leads in a direction that moves the nation in a positive direction.
In today’s overheated atmosphere of political rhetoric surrounding the elections, the path to a positive outcome for the American way of life is not discernible.

The ideas and plans espoused by both candidates are driven not by good policy but by political ideology. These campaigns are forcing us into further division and extremism. By definition the main casualty of this election may well be the goal of political success because the critical element of such success, a broad base of popular support, will be fractured.

Herein lays the main takeaway issue for the GOP in 2016. Clearly a rigid political philosophy supported by a litmus test attitude is a failure. From the GOP’s postmortem after the 2012 loss we know that even then this same attitude was identified as a fault line that had led to our defeat. But for four years the political operatives and media types ignored that fault line and sold the concept of “conservative purity” as political virtue to the people. The result is that they have become rich and our Party is in turmoil.

We must realize that we have to become an open party whose ideas are widely acceptable to those many voters who reside in that slightly left and slightly right political portion of the spectrum. The great masses of voters who fall under this moderate center of the bell curve are crying out for change, but not change as is being offered from the extremes.

So here we Republicans are, facing potentially another four years of destructive political leadership. Our failure to respond in a unified manner to the challenge from the extremes may well result in our nation being so locked in to the reality of the tipping point that we will never be able to break down the barriers to true national success.

The future beyond a tipping point is clouded but may well lead down the path to serious decline as we would, by nature of the new political philosophy coming from such upheaval, abandon the principles that have made our land the greatest that ever was.

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