On Election Day, hope is greater than any outcome
No one has ever accused me of being an optimist, but on Election Day I remain hopeful that the political farce masquerading itself a pivotal presidential election may ultimately generate good outcomes, starting with the disintegration of the Republican Party and soon to be followed, I hope, with the fracturing of the Democratic Party.
Both parties are ideologically brain dead, having proven themselves incapable of generating policies capable of addressing the defining challenges of our time: for starters, economic inequality and the rippling impacts of human-caused climate change. After four decades of spewing invective, scapegoating the weak and vulnerable, and purging itself of any moderate elements, the Republicans finally have a presidential candidate they deserve. And after three decades of trying to act like the Republican Party, the Democrats have a leader with an unvarnished record as corporate bootlicker and global militarist.
Trump’s jumbled policy proposals, his hateful rhetoric, and his lack of a moral compass have alienated ideological conservatives, but his greatest sin may be that he has exposed with stunning clarity the internal contradictions of the Republican Party. You can’t claim to support family values or interests of the working class, the overwhelming majority of Americans, when you allow families to go hungry, underfund schools, fight accessible, affordable health care, while cutting taxes for richest individuals and corporations. The insane incompatibility of those proposals has been brought into sharp relief by a candidate who seeks the support of Christian evangelicals while behaving like a petulant misogynist bigot.
For their part, the Democrats have undermined their future by manipulating the party primaries to deny another grassroots challenge that could have pumped new life and energy into a moribund party that increasingly behaves like Republicans but with a kinder, gentler face.
May their internal divisions hasten the death of both parties, so that the corpse of the GOP and the rotten carcass of Democratic Party can be immolated together in great, purifying funeral pyre. From the ashes of one or both parties arises the possibility—not a guarantee—of new organizations and mechanisms of representing the political interests of ordinary Americans. That might involve a new social movement, a new political party, or new political alliances of new and old actors to fill the vacuum. The make-up of a reconfigured American political landscape is admittedly difficult to envision, but the weakening of the two-party status quo creates the space and the rare opportunity for Americans to imagine and began building a political system that serves the common good. At a time when the best that two parties can offer is more of the same, the chance to create a better future seems like a clear victory.