This is What We Have Lost
As I have previously discussed, there have almost always been issues in this nation’s political life for which “middle ground” was difficult if not impossible to find. However only once, during the Civil War period, did our politics degenerate into general violence. The reason behind this amazing stability was a wide and deep consensus among the contending parties that our founding documents provided a legitimate framework within which to resolve our differences. Therefore, even when a partisan faction lost they yet accepted that the political processes involved were legitimate. And the winning side accepted that their position could at some future point be reversed by the same processes that had led to their victory.
I contend that when people in my age cohort, be they Conservative, Independent, or Progressive, speak wistfully of something precious from our past that has been lost it is this to which they refer. That is, there is no longer a stable consensus that our founding documents and associated political processes are legitimate.
The reader may ask, since I pointed the finger at Progressives in the last post, why I include Progressives in this formulation. I do so in clear conscience because there are many people who call themselves Progressive who have not abandoned our founding documents and consensus. However, it’s harder for them to express this concern because of their shared end goals with those more radical Progressives who have come to detest our founding.
I’m not alone in voicing this concern.
The strength of our democracy is its legitimacy. Hillary Clinton noted this during the 2016 election campaign when she asked candidate Donald J. Trump if he would accept the election results. When he hesitated, she spoke of the implications for American democracy if he failed to do so.
Ironically,it is Hillary Clinton who has not accepted the election results. She has crisscrossed the speakers’ circuit telling eager listeners that the Russians stole the election from her. Similarly, Stacey Abrams, who ran unsuccessfully for the Georgia gubernatorial post, has attributed her loss to electoral suppression. These themes have been both sustained and embellished by the current flock of Democrat presidential candidates, notwithstanding the absence of evidence. Even in the wake of the Mueller report, Democrat strategist Donna Brazile said that Russia caused Trump to win the election.
Let there be no doubt, it is the radicalized Progressives who are seeking to delegitimize our Constitutional political framework. Without this force there would not be the taking of so many anti/extra-Constitutional policy positions by a large majority of Democratic Presidential candidates.
We therefore are living in a highly volatile, dangerous political climate. The radicals in control of the Democratic Party have made it abundantly clear that they no longer consider election loss to be a legitimate outcome of our political process. What transpired before, during and after the 2016 election shows that their will to power can no longer be contained within the nation’s received political framework.
In reaction to the revelations (with many more to come) associated with the Russia collusion hoax, many Republicans have lost faith in the nation’s government’s bureaucracy. Independents also have serious concerns about our governmental institutions and the fairness of our elections. Returning to the previously linked article:
Democrats continue to refuse to accept the results of the 2016 election while Republicans believe there is an illegitimate deep state that is more harmful to the democratic process than the Russians could ever become.
My concern is that, particularly for a close electoral outcome in 2020, we may face a situation in which the losing side (be it Republican or Democrat) rejects the election’s legitimacy. This could put the match to an explosive environment with unforeseeable dire consequences.
The irony is that this situation is exactly that most desired by our adversaries in China, Russia and elsewhere. The tragedy is that we have brought this situation upon ourselves. Can out culture and body politic heal itself? We may have a better idea by 2021.