It’s a Political Party!
Let’s face it, at the time of writing this (March 11, 2016) the political scene for the Presidential Party Nomination is insane. It’s ugly, childish, and a bit humiliating. It’s unpredictable. And it’s outcome will shape the future of America for years to come.
But I think there is something remarkably interesting that this presidential race is bringing to light: the power of offense.
The Offense Wins
Now, when I say “offense,” I’m not talking about being rude or crude. I’m talking about taking an offensive stance rather than a defensive stance. I’m not a politician, historian, or particularly knowledgeable about politics, but I want to point out a couple of interesting cases.
1. Abraham Lincoln
Did you know that the last time a 3rd Party candidate became President of the United States was when Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860? And that Party was none other than the less than a decade old Republican Party (GOP). The Democrats and the Whigs were the 2 dominant Parties, but a rise in anti-slavery sentiment not only caused the Whig Party to implode but it also drew the 3rd Party voters and Whig voters together. This surge led Lincoln to the White House, the 13th Amendment, and a Civil War.
This case is interesting because the defensive position of the Democrats (holding onto slavery and it’s expansion) couldn’t keep up with the offensive position of the Republicans (emancipation for the slaves). This strikes me as eerily similar to the current reversal of positions as the Democrats push for cultural and moral shifts while the Republicans defend long-held positions.
The 3rd Party is also important to note here because a growing percent of people are unhappy with current Party politics, again similar to the 1860 election, and a 3rd Party could potentially attach itself to a high-profile character that steals votes from both parties. This could lead to the rise of a 3rd Party President or a landslide for the winner of the 2 Party fallout.
2. Donald Trump
The unexpected rise of Donald Trump might also be attributed to offensive strategy, and I’m not talking about his often times offensive words. A quick look at the fast-changing laws and morals of our society, the staunch stand for political correctness, and the need to not offend anyone at anytime shows a recipe for political success: out with the old and in with the new. And the GOP front-running nominee seems to use this recipe well, bringing up a host of controversial topics that tend to be divisive because they call for action instead of politicking. Now, whether what he’s saying is true, accurate, or what he would actually do in office, is unknown.
While the Democrats appear to be heading to a third consecutive term in the Oval Office, political analysts and pundits are wondering why the GOP is in such disarray. Obviously, there are several reasons for the decline of the Republican Party, but I want to pose an alternative view. With all of the cultural revolutions taking place (gay marriage, abortion rights, gender equality, etc.), the Republicans, at least from my self-admitted fresh and minimally trained eyes, seem to always be on the defensive, merely trying to stop the landslide from happening when it is clearly already moving too fast.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I tend to agree strongly with the Republican stance, but I don’t think trying to stop a cultural revolution with a defensive strategy is effective. Much of the changes we see taking place in our society are strongly based in ideology and a “me-first” mentality. In a society where a majority of the people no longer do manual labor (I’m not proposing that the decline of manual labor is recent. This chart shows a comparison of U.S. jobs in 1972 and 2012. Neither year shows a majority of manual labor.) and our basic needs are taken care of (often in ways that we don’t understand or have no knowledge of doing for ourselves), the worldview shifts from “us” to “me.” This “me-centered” mentality then leads us to justify our actions by making sure that everybody is free to do what they want to do. Hence the recent legislation of what would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago.
Now, I know that this is a large oversimplification, but I like how the deep thinking Apostle Paul uses this same logic to open his letter to the Romans:
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. – Romans 1:28-32
Did you catch that last line? Not only do people choose to obey their “natural” desires, but they also approve of those who do the same. We could also add that they do not approve of those that disagree with this new philosophy.
With this in mind, it should be clear that Republicans can’t simply be defensive, standing by their old mottos and mantras, and hope to gain enough political influence to block the legislation of the new morality.
I wish I had the answer to what should be done, but I don’t. My political experience and knowledge amounts to a high school education, knowing a city councilman and mayor, and having read 1/3 of the biography of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris which is fantastic and I would recommend it to everyone interested in learning about a great man and historical American figure.
What do you think? Is there hope for the Republican Party? What offensive strategy do you see available to the Republicans?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts or links to other articles/blog posts.