Political parties aren’t well understood. They are vote-driven vehicles used to deliver political power, as SUVs deliver kids to soccer practice. And just like a Ford Explorer, political parties are wholly indifferent to your passionately held priorities. It’s nothing more than who’s steering, who’s pushing, and can you beat the other team to the line.
In any such scenario there is always native friction between the pushers and steerers. And no small amount of enmity when the former looks up to see the jalopy heading in directions they never imagined. Even more when the driver has been yelling out the window for the past 20 years: Just put your backs into it boys! We’re almost there.
What shouldn’t require stating is that minimizing friction between the two is critical in keeping a straight line. And that irenic process involves some element of compromise and quid pro quo. Probably no one will get all they want. But they all better goddamn get something meaningful, or the vehicle is going into a ditch. Most sober men would accept this with as much equanimity as they do the necessity of oil changes. But those steering the Republican Party are not sober drivers.
And as such, the steering wheel has resolutely offered the drivetrain nothing of what it has been pleading for years. 50-50 compromise? Hardly. As current events vividly illustrate, drivers would succumb to Grand Mals if having to give up a single basis point in negotiations. So rather than do so, they remain resolutely focused on where they alone choose to steer, while offering nothing but condescension to any complaints from the rear.
Whether from incapacity or admirable determination, they do not digest that party vehicle pushers have no interests in where they are being steered. That is to say, drivers can no longer muster the constituency needed to push invade/invite/GDP neoconservatism up a hill.
And so the Republican Party is careening in the middle of the road as its drivetrain attempts to direct the vehicle toward its own never accommodated goals as the driver class frantically angles the wheels in the opposite direction. Of course infuriated heads are hanging out front windows screaming imprecations.
Not at all conservative values!
Well sorry chumps, this isn’t a Persian war barge and no one is lashed to your oars. All of which makes for an unsustainable enterprise with one of four potential resolutions.
First, the Republican vehicle rips apart from centrifugal forces and is junked as useless by all parties, with its drivers and pushers both casting for new (and almost certainly different) vehicles: the Whig result.
Second, the establishment drivers are unceremoniously tossed onto spindly limbs and left to walk toward Zuckerberg’s place under their own power. This is the full-scale revolt against Trump who wins the presidency anyway result.
Third, drivers acquiesce in some manner and agree to face-saving compromises in order to be left with the wheel. This is the white flag and get behind Trump result.
Fourth, the GOP and its remora in the Fox News orbit successfully brow-beat and flim-flam the drivetrain into coming back under heel. This is the routine every four years result: an Adelson-approved Rubio nomination.
It’s not often we have epoch-defining moments. 2016 is forming into one.