As I watched US Senator Jeff Flake’s speech yesterday, when he announced that he isn’t running for another term in 2018, I couldn’t stop nodding my head in agreement. He spoke eloquently about problems in the Republican Party and politics in general, and he laid out a case for why there isn’t a place for him as an elected Republican. He acknowledged that a principled conservative, like him, just couldn’t win a Republican primary election. He was right.
Then, I began shaking my head. All I could think was, I told ya so!
A couple of years ago, my book, No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (and You Should Too), was published. It received a lot of attention because of the behind-the-scenes stories I shared about my experiences inside the GOP around issues affecting LGBT Americans. I wrote about those first-hand experiences as examples of broader cultural problems with the modern conservative movement and Republican Party.
The over-arching theme of the parts of the book that related to the problems in the GOP was the party’s fundamental rejection of our modern multicultural reality. I wrote that issues just don’t matter, and in fact, the words “conservative” and “Republican” just don’t mean what they did before. I said that the base of the Republican Party rejects anything and anyone that don’t conform with them culturally – straight, white, christian. I also said that being a team-player and never dissenting is more important to them than ideological principles.
All of that has been proven to be true with the election of President Trump. Senator Flake, and some of his colleagues, including Senators Corker, Sasse, McCain, and others, have been outspoken about Trump’s boorish behavior, but not enough attention has been paid to the dynamics in their party that led to the election of such a despicable person. Trump is the manifestation of a long cultural devolution of the GOP. Their party is on a path toward extinction and the Trump presidency is their last hurrah.
I was wrong when I wrote in my book that the Republican Party would never win another national election, but I was correct when I said that the majority of Americans embrace our new multiculturalism and reject the divisive values of the GOP. Remember, Hillary Clinton won 3 MILLION more votes than President Trump last year. Most Americans do reject the GOP’s Trump-style cultural politics.
So why is it that a party that the majority of Americans oppose controls the US House, US Senate, and The White House? That is a result of another problem that I wrote about in my book. The two-party system is fundamentally broken. The two major parties control the process, and the Republicans have been masters at it. They have written laws and used archaic rules to help them gain and retain power. Everything from ballot access, to legislative district lines, to who can participate in candidate debates, to who can actually vote, is determined by them. So they make the rules to distort the process to benefit themselves.
The bottom line is that all the ranting from Senator Flake and others in elected office isn’t going to change the fundamental problems that have created the disaster we now have in our government. Free-market based reforms to open up the political process will help to bring in more diverse, independent points of view, that don’t fall in line with one party-line or another. That will help to elevate voices that speak to our best values, and drown out those dark voices that taint our politics today.