People cuss about the two-party system. The Framers of The Constitution expressed concern over political parties, or what they called “factions.” James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, has been called the Father of the Constitution.
Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote The Federalist Papers, 85 essays published to persuade those eligible to vote - white, male landowners - to support ratification in the individual States. The delegates were white, male landowners, of whom “at least a third of them” claimed ownership over other human beings. Stewart, “The Summer of 1787,” 2007, p. 68.
The United States Supreme Court has recognized The Federalist as authority by which to construe provisions of The Constitution, signed by 36 of the 39 delegates present on September 17, 1787, in what we call Independence Hall, in Philadelphia.
Madison never missed a day of The Convention and never left “the chamber for more than ‘a casual fraction of an hour.’” Stewart, David, The Summer of 1787, 2008 ed., p. 48. He kept notes of the proceedings and sat at the front of the room in The Statehouse.
In Federalist 10, Madison wrote: “By a faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
Madison saw factions as inevitable, given people’s “zeal for different opinions”, but “the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property.” Federalist 10.
With its checks and balances - forces and counter-forces - the government created by The Framers inherently is given to a two-party system. The first party, The Federalist, formed as a result of efforts to ratify The Constitution.
The second party, Jefferson’s Republican Party, formed as a force to counter The Federalist.
The two-party system here had benefits: “From our modern-day perch it is easy to see the indispensable role that organized political parties came to play later on in channeling the combustible energies of a wild-and-woolly democratic culture into a coherent and dsiciplined framework.
Shortly after Washington was sworn as the first President, the French Revolution began. The Terror gained its name, in part, from the deaths rendered by the guillotine.
During World War I the Czar was overthrown in the Russian Revolution. After World War II the Chinese Revolution erupted. Each of these revolutions occurred as the result of centuries of oppression.
This country has functioned under The Constitution for over 230 years. The greatest Constitutional crisis occurred as a result of an evil memorialized in The Constitution. The Framers compromised on slavery - although neither “slavery” nor a derivative of that word appears in the original Constitution - as a price to secure Southern States in the Union.
The monetary value of people held as slaves was enormous. Despite the Declaration of Independence’s claim that all “men” are created equal, the States of the Confederacy only gave up ownership of people only after The Civil War.
The modern Republican Party had been formed in 1854 and was a major force in Reconstruction. As a result, the States formerly of the Confederacy embraced the Democratic Party. For decades the Democratic Party relied upon the “solid South.”
Until 1954, and the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I, discrimination against former slaves and their descendants, particularly in Southern States, was extreme. People were lynched, murdered by other means, and beaten.
In the 1960s, several pieces of Federal legislation were enacted to protect civil rights and voting rights, particularly in the South. President Lyndon Johnson said the Democratic Party had lost the South for a generation.
People in the GOP took advantage of these changes. The “Southern strategy,” under which the GOP would seek, through appeals to prejudice, was put into play.
If this country circa 1787 is viewed as a person who weighed 200 pounds, slavery was a tumor that comprised at least 25% of that weight. If a tumor - even benign - of that size is removed from a person, the person’s metabolism is significantly altered.
The takeover of the GOP by reactionary elements shows that we still deal with the effects of slavery. I am lucky. I am a white male of European descent. I only can imagine the experience of one who is discriminated against.
We face a Constitutional Crisis once again. This time the crisis is the end of the two-party system. When only one party exists, there is no counter force to evil. People are leaving the GOP in large numbers because of that the GOP has become.
Slavery is an evil that haunts us today. The current occupant of the Oval Office has taken advantage of fear. We have to level the playing field. We have to negate the redistribution of wealth that has occurred since 1981.
The combined effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction embittered white people in the South. Those States’ governments took out their anger on former slaves and their descendants. Median levels of income and education starkly remind us how far we have to go to “even” the metaphorical playing field.
Matters of infrastructure - education, health care, and other elements of the social “safety net,” need to be expanded. We can pay for such things by cutting the military budget in half. A bloated military makes us less safe.
Nothing is “free.” Candidates who advocate “free” health care and education, to cite two examples, make single payor and a return to public education as it was before 1981, less likely when they use the word “free.”
The last time our two-party system hung in limbo was the period 1840 to 1865. That system had mollified those who chose to ignore the inevitability of abolition and forestalled the inevitable explosion - in the form of the Civil War - that was a natural result of an evil institution that was protected by the original Constitution.
We cannot afford to write one party off as being the property of reactionary forces. Not all Hoosiers who identify as GOP approve of dt or those around him.
My name is Mark Small. I am a GOP candidate from the nomination for U.S. House District 5. I am pro-choice, pro-environment, anti-war and anti-dt. I approve of this blog. Hell, I wrote it.