Party Rant

So, a few stories popped up on drudge that are connected but not by current events, but by theme. The civil war in the republican party. There is a civil war in the democrat party too, but that is swept under the rug and not reported on. Democrats have been good of keeping their infighting, back stabbing, and nights of long knives out of the lime light.

The NSA Spying scandal and the potential government shut down over obamacare are the topics of the stories that I read and they are connected in this way: The parties (both of them) are both splitting up over the key issues of the power of the government to run our daily lives.  Both parties have blocs that oppose these things, and blocs that support these things.  As a historian what came to my mind was the 1850s and how both major parties of that era the Democrats and the Whigs were split over slavery.

The Whig party, much like the Republican party was much more independent with its membership and when the split got too large the party shattered into pieces, several of which were swept up into the new Republican Party, including Abe Lincoln.  The democrat party seems to me to always be a lot more united. Ever since it formed in the 1820s It has been much more unified keeping its doctrinal disputes in the smoke filled rooms.

Slavery divided both parties and in the 1860 election the Democrats ran 2 candidates, one northern and one southern. This is how Lincoln won the election. But the issue that keeps coming back is the death of the Whig party. The Whigs could not find a way to differentiate itself from the democrats on a growing key issue.  I think the government intrusion into our private lives as seen by the NSA scandal and Obamacare runs a good chance at destroying the Republican party.

The first Republican party split up after 1824 and the election of John Quincy Adams. The Federalist party split up after many of its issues were rendered moot, or absorbed by the old Republican party. The Whig party split up over issues of slavery and states rights.  Maybe the new Republican party will be the next major party to die.