The always-brilliant Senator Ben Sasse published an angry rant on Facebook the other day, brutally condemning Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump for their mockery of presidential dignity and calling for a sacrificial lamb candidate to run as a sensible and un-bought problem-solver.
Methinks the Senator doth protest too much; no third-way candidate will do much more than handing the election to Hillary Clinton even more handily than she would have it against Donald Trump alone, and our constitution basically guarantees a two-party system due to electoral rules. Moreover, you’re always going to have a messy spat of interest group politics in a Republic based on liberty- Hamilton and Madison more or less designed it that way.
That said, Senator Sasse brings up very important points about vision and the lack thereof in our politics today. Here’s Sasse’s first five points:
- Washington isn’t fooling anyone — Neither political party works. They bicker like children about tiny things, and yet they can’t even identify the biggest issues we face. They’re like a couple arguing about what color to paint the living room, and meanwhile, their house is on fire. They resort to character attacks as step one because they think voters are too dumb for a real debate. They very often prioritize the agendas of lobbyists (for whom many of them will eventually work) over the urgent needs of Main Street America. I signed up for the Party of Abraham Lincoln — and I will work to reform and restore the GOP — but let’s tell the plain truth that right now both parties lack vision.
- As a result, normal Americans don’t like either party. If you ask Americans if they identify as Democrat or Republican, almost half of the nation interrupts to say: “Neither.”
- Young people despise the two parties even more than the general electorate. And why shouldn’t they? The main thing that unites most Democrats is being anti-Republican; the main thing that unites most Republicans is being anti-Democrat. No one knows what either party is for — but almost everyone knows neither party has any solutions for our problems. “Unproductive” doesn’t begin to summarize how messed up this is.
- Our problems are huge right now, but one of the most obvious is that we’ve not passed along the meaning of America to the next generation. If we don’t get them to re-engage — thinking about how we defend a free society in the face of global jihadis, or how we balance our budgets after baby boomers have dishonestly over-promised for decades, or how we protect First Amendment values in the face of the safe-space movement – then all will indeed have been lost. One of the bright spots with the rising generation, though, is that they really would like to rethink the often knee-jerk partisanship of their parents and grandparents. We should encourage this rethinking.
- These two national political parties are enough of a mess that I believe they will come apart. It might not happen fully in 2016 – and I’ll continue fighting to revive the GOP with ideas — but when people’s needs aren’t being met, they ultimately find other solutions.
It seems that Senator Sasse, at the very least, will be one of the constructive voices to look out for in the coming months and the post-November desert. He’s fairly mainstream conservative, but has some good ideas.
And the most important of those ideas is this: the GOP needs new ones.
Well, members of the Progressive Republican League, let’s provide them.