It’s amazing that for well over a century, there has never been a new major political party and no ashes for any new movement to rise from. Republicans and Democrats hold steady through the worst of anything, with the help of government interference and a complacent mainstream media. Over the years, Democrats have put Japanese Americans in Internment Camps and Republicans have expanded the surveillance state, but Americans still haven’t seriously entertained the thought of dumping either party.
Our politics become increasingly bizarre when you consider that most Americans will admit they believe all or most politicians are corrupt, complain about the system, but at the end of the day, many Americans refuse to entertain the thought of actual change.
Change has become defined as working within the system. In 2008, Democrats defined change as picking a rookie Democrat Senator who ran alongside an establishment moderate long entrenched in party politics. The resulting “change we can believe in” was a legacy of war, big government, and domestic tension. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has built a legacy upon more global interventions, violating anti-war campaign promises, dropping bombs on Afghan hospitals, and slaughtering innocent civilians with drones. The surveillance state that Democrats hated former President George W. Bush for has expanded and President Obama even chased a whistleblower out of the country for daring to expose it. Racial tensions have greatly increased under his failed leadership, as well.
For Republicans, change has become defined as a populist uprising behind controversial businessman Donald Trump. Trump represents the same kind of statism we’ve always known in America, but without the political polish. He has promised to fix all of America and has assured everyone that he alone is the only one who can do it. All the while, he has discussed killing the family of suspected terrorists, issued support for stripping gun rights of citizens suspected of a crime, defending the surveillance state, and even believes the whistleblower President Obama chased away is a traitor.
The only change that occurs is change for the worst. This is what happens when we stick within the parties and opt for more of the same.
Conservatives, liberals as well as libertarians and progressives all learned the hard way this year that playing nice with the party establishment doesn’t work either. Senator Rand Paul defied his father’s legacy of defiant principles and stubborn individualism by snuggling up to the Republican establishment, issuing endorsements for people like Mitt Romney and Senator Susan Collins, while supporting Mitch McConnell. The strategy was sold as infiltration, as it was in 2012 when the Ron Paul presidential campaign sold out to the Republican National Committee ahead of the Convention.
The result was Senator Paul dropping out after getting crushed in Iowa.
It’s a lesson that Senator Bernie Sanders is learning as well. Evidence is mounting, most recently with revelations by WikiLeaks, that the Democratic National Committee had stacked the deck in favor of Hillary Clinton all along. Now with her VP pick, Clinton has shown that Senator Sanders sold his soul to her for nothing. Senator Sanders is playing nice with an establishment that actually doesn’t like him or his campaign, and has worked against him all along.
The success of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul shows us there is a market for honest and unwavering libertarianism. The rise of former Governor Gary Johnson shows us that even a left-leaning brand of libertarianism has appeal. Senator Paul failed because he tried to market himself as a Republican good boy while expecting to keep his liberty card. Senator Sanders is already losing ground because he’s trying to now become a Democratic good boy while expecting to keep his progressive card.
Both failed. If there’s anything we should have learned about party establishments this election cycle and even in recent years, is they don’t care about the common citizen. The only way to actually enact change and make the system better is to do something huge. Think outside of the box.
You either go big or you go home. Senators Paul and Sanders failed to go big and went home. Where do we stand in the future?