After the Parties are Over
For much of our lifetimes, election cycles have had predictable results. After the TV-deluge of candidate and issue commercials ends, the balloons have dropped and a victor emerges with the requisite number of Electoral College votes, America has administered the oath of office to a new President, a fresh session of Congress began and life went on.
Not this time.
Whether you are a fan of Ms. Pelosi’s party or that of Mr. Ryan, don’t expect politics as usual. Neither presidential candidate will be able with a straight face to claim a mandate of the people as their base and momentum to embark on their desired agenda.
Neither will the Democratic Party or the Republicans, regardless of who eventually wins on November 8.
We’re accustomed to a scant few percentage points of popular vote crowning a victor for one side or the other, leaving the minority with no representation for the coming term. It’s uncomfortable, it’s not what our nation’s founders intended, and yet it is the inevitable result of a winner-takes-all political system of spoils and favors that dates to the first national election.
As long as most remember, relegated to a place in the back seat and a role of silence, losers have licked their wounds and plotted a comeback for the next election. “Four more years.”
This year, though, is different.
No one will emerge from this election cycle with a laurel wreath on their heads and the nation’s united support.
Not the Democrats — if they win with their ethically and morally compromised candidate, as now seems likely — not the Republicans — if they somehow pull victory out of defeat with their showboat billionaire — and not the Fourth Estate, for the first time in a century.
The media chose in 2016 to be openly biased participants in politics rather than observers and reporters representing the citizens, to their everlasting shame and loss of high moral ground. They have stripped our Republic of its political police force and they have throttled their own voice.
What wounds will remain from 2016 will be deep, penetrating, painful and festering. They were not mortal wounds, though — not to either political party or to the media — but they were debilitating and permanent.
Never again will Democrats be able to say with a straight face to their constituents that they are the party of the poor, the underrepresented, the minorities, or the workingmen and women of America. Too much truth has been leaked, sound-bited, printed and broadcast. Democrats are become the party of elite rulers, the rich 2 percent, unions, Wall Street, Hollywood and the majority underclass, shown to be ravenous wolves that eat their own young rather than compromise.
Nor has the so-called Party of Lincoln demonstrated virtue or valor. It remains instead the party of the status quo, servants of the middle and upper class — but not the very, very rich whose inferiority complexes and guilt force them to reject their self-preservation instincts. Further, they have shown that they would rather kill an usurper and lose a broad swath of their faithful constituents than put forth a strong and viable candidate, embrace a movement to moderate their party and win an election.
Neither Democrats nor Republicans have acquitted themselves well in 2016. As a result, they are left lame and battered.
And the media. Well. There’s no distinction left in journalism’s highest echelons today; they are scarcely distinguishable from opinion writers, press agencies, or muckrakers. Willing to sit for the entire primary election season on news they used in an attempt to create an October surprise, choosers of winners and losers, selectors of slander, inuendo and defamation, and seemingly capable of turning a blind eye to character faults, intent and actions that crossed the line of criminality, there’s no pride worth mentioning for those engaged in the media profession.
The media may continue to speak, but the ears that hear them will filter their words from a new framework of understanding.
What we citizens can expect is that all hobbled elected officials weighed down with legal and ethical challenges too great for anyone to ignore will try to govern and fail. Legislatures and Congress will be moribund, our nation will drift and anyone who tries to achieve progress will be instantly and thoroughly discredited, then destroyed. We will wander from crisis to crisis, foreign and domestic.
The steady hand is gone from the rudder of the Ship of State as it founders amid the storms.
The public’s mood is mean and ugly. They are one step away from muttering, holding up torches and shaking pitchforks, from open revolt.
It will take all of Pelosi and Ryan’s alleged political skills to avoid a popular revolution from the disenfranchised majority of middle-class Americans who are seeing their children and grandchildren’s legacy stolen and crucified on a cross of public debt and the demands of self-serving, power-mad bureaucrats and special interests of every political stripe.
Anyone who tries to tax or expand government power will risk career and livelihood in the quest. Anyone who tries to tamp down venal powers will suffer humiliation and ridicule. Anyone who tries to point out flaws will be shouted into silence.
This is the legacy of the past several administrations, a burden equally thrust on the people by both of the nation’s two major political parties, and the legacy of the election of 2016. Watch. It’s coming soon to a nation near you.
Our nation is entering the new Dark Ages of waiting, waiting and more waiting.