It’s My Party Too.
That was the title of a book written in 2005 by former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman about the direction of the Republican Party and her stand against the far right. It won a lot of praise from many quarters and it led to the creation of a political action committee of the same name which then merged with the dormant Republican Leadership Council. Other GOP luminaries like former Senator John Danforth, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and others. There were hopes it would become an organization that would elect more moderate Republicans to leadership.
The RLC ended up dissolving in 2011.
The book and the organization are part of a long line of attempts to create a moderate faction in the GOP to counter the growing Religious Right. A new book or new organization would spring up and then vanish into the ether.
For years I wondered why this was happening. Why was there no fight in people to offer another voice in the party? The question extends to the modern-day. Why has the NeverTrump movement taken itself out of any fight for the party?
But what if we are asking the wrong question? Maybe the question isn’t why the fight for the Republican Party hasn’t panned out, but is the Republican Party worth saving?
Before I go any further, I should say that this question doesn’t mean what you think it means. I’m not saying that it is time to create a third party. I’m also not saying we give up on the Republican Party and join the Democrats for the sake of democracy. But I am asking if the current Republican Party is worth saving and maybe its time to create another Republican Party.
In the years following Donald Trump’s ride down the Golden Escalator, I and other NeverTrumpers believed Trump took the party over and away from its true roots. He did take the party over. As to allowing it to stray from its roots, well that’s debatable.
It’s debatable because as political scientist Frank DiStefano notes in a new essay for American Purpose the parties that we call Democrat and Republican have changed several times in the course of their histories. Brand new parties are created from…