Republican Party Is Now a Faction How it Happened
The Republican Party has become the people James Madison warned us against: a Faction. In any country, the most dangerous thing that can happen is for a group and its political representatives to act as if their view alone represents the nation. That thinking leads to the view that they alone “are” the nation and that those who disagree with them are not of the nation – even if they are fellow citizens, born on the country’s soil. When this happens in a democratic republic, like the US, and the view takes over a political party, then the threat to the national fabric is mortal.
And that is the heart of the crisis in America today: The Republicans are no longer a political party but a faction.
The danger of factions was noted at the foundation of the United States. In Federalist paper #10 James Madison defined faction as, “a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority 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.”
The Republican Party has been slowly morphing into a faction for almost 70 years. In this FRDH podcast the history of this change is told through applying the words of the Declaration of Independence to current Republican behaviour.
The Declaration of Independence is really a bill of divorcement, a declaration before the community of nations of the causes leading the states to separate from Britain. As I read through the list this past holiday it was amazing how many could be applied to the Republican faction today.
Republican factionalism leads their elected representatives to upend existing Constitutional customs and norms and defamed the design of Madison, Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers by refusing to cooperate with anyone not of their group The design of the founders was a constitutional order that provided a mechanism for balancing the inevitable competing points of view that would grow in a society where people were free to follow different religions and debate ideas freely. Without respect for these rules the system cannot work.
The result is the United States has, over the last quarter of a century, become ungovernable and now, more than at any moment in my lifetime is on the edge of some kind of catastrophic disintegration.