Not long ago, my wife and I visited the Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro, NC. There was an exhibit highlighting the era of Jim Crow segregation with identical Coke machines. Presumably the machine that cost 5 cents for a soda was reserved for whites while the one costing 10 cents was for blacks.
With my "unique" sense of humor, I immediately burst out in laughter. My wife looked at me with that perplexed look that is reserved for spouses inquiring how one could find this tragic scene amusing.
I explained with the advantage of hindsight and not growing up during segregation, I could look from the outside and see just how depraved this system was on blacks and whites alike.
I reference this story because it mirrors my feelings about the current Republican Party. From the outside it appears to be a party, in large measure, ensnarled by insanity.
The Republicans Party is aware of America's changing demographics, but insist on being a party that pushes the growing Hispanic population into the Democrat's column -- insane. It touts a desire to be a big tent, but creates draconian voter identification cards that harkens memories of poll taxes and literacy test, tantamount to developing a solution in search of a problem -- foolish.
It continues to find ways to dehumanize the gay and lesbian community, using a perverted brand of Christianity to justify discrimination -- silly. It maintains that science is not conclusive on global warming to rationalize inaction -- stupid.
As the country is becoming more diverse ethnically and socially, the Republican Party offers policies that make it increasingly homogenized -- senseless.
Since 1968, beginning with the Southern Strategy, the Republican Party, mostly with effective results, has consistently used divisive tactics, be it gender, race, or orientation, to increase the white male vote -- unfortunate.
The Party of Lincoln finds itself on the opposite side of a majority of Americans on the aforementioned issues.
Republicans have bemoaned that "Obamacare" is the first sign of Armageddon. And if elected in 2016, along with a Republican Congress, several potential presidential candidates have stated they will repeal it minutes after being sworn into office.
While this is an applause grabber on the campaign trail, there are a growing number of individuals who still believe President Barack Obama is a Kenyan-born, Islamic, socialist, whose goal is to overthrow the America they know, but enjoy the benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act, and the prospects of repeal have suddenly become abhorrent.
Wouldn't that be the height of comedic irony if the presidential candidate elected in 2016 were the one most likely to protect the ACA?
This is not representative of the entire GOP, but enough to comprise a quorum that brands the party as outside mainstream orthodoxy.
I recognize columns on this scale will invoke emails of defensiveness decrying my bias for the Democrat Party. It is the so-called "fair and balanced" gurus who myopically measure the word count attributed to both sides of the argument to determine objectivity.
But issues are not always fair and balanced in a linear sense; sometimes they are accurate and inequitable.
The Democratic Party is hardly paragons of virtue. But there is a recalcitrant aspect of the Republican Party that is detrimental to our democracy. It is an orthodoxy better suited for 1952 than 2016.
As Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute wrote in a 2012 op-ed:
"The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise, unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
In America's democratic republic form of government that relies exclusively on a two-party system, it requires two viable parties competing in the marketplace of ideas. There is no other way for the nation to prosper.
This by no means is a GOP obituary, but an observation. Admittedly my perspective is based outside the party. Inside, what I may view as insanity is normalcy for a segment of the Republican base.
Therefore, the only question that matters: Can the Republican Party in its current formation garner 270 electoral votes in 2016?
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