Tags: trump | republican party | loyalty | democracy

Loyalty to Trump Important in Two-Party System

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Thursday, 16 November 2017 12:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In a recent issue of The New York Times, Bret Stephens called Trump supporters “happy hookers.” Jeff Flake, in his farewell address, implied that Trump supporters have violated their conscience through their silence and complicity. I remain, nonetheless, a stalwart Trump loyalist.

Every American faces an inescapably binary choice between the Republican Party, headed by President Trump, and the Democrat Party, headed by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. Senators and Congressmen who ran as Republicans owe Trump (their party’s leader) their loyalty. If they can no longer fulfill that commitment, the only honorable thing to do is to resign their seats immediately and run in a special election as the candidate of the Democrats.

The two-party system is foundational to our political constitution. Competition between two distinct parties gives real power to the people. The great political sociologists of the last century, including Vilfredo Pareto, Robert Michels, and James Burnham, document what Michels termed the “iron law of oligarchy.” In a large democratic republic, real power is concentrated in the hands of those who run effective and well-funded political organizations. “Who says ‘organization,’ says ‘oligarchy’ (the rule of the few).” The only way to return power to ordinary people is through what Pareto called “the circulation of elites.” The people must be given the power to choose between two competing sets of elites, turning one set out of power and putting the other in, based upon the degree to which each set best satisfies the desires and aspirations of ordinary people. This redistribution of power to the people depends on the existence of two parties of roughly equal strength, forced to compete with each other for popular support in regular elections.

Multiparty systems, systems without two dominant parties, tend to fall into one of two extremes: either absolute oligarchy, in which one party permanently commands the dominant position (like the Liberal Democrats in Japan or Putin’s Unity party in Russia), or complete anarchy, in which irresponsible and unaccountable short-term coalition governments govern, as in modern Italy. In neither case do ordinary non-politicians have any real say in what happens. They must either patiently endure the rule of unaccountable elites or man the barricades for revolution.

A viable two-party system is essential to popular sovereignty, and it depends on party loyalty. From grass-roots supporters to federal office-holders, the members of a party must support the party’s leader, if the party is to stand for something. If neither party stands for anything definite, then the people are denied the power to affect policy. If each elected representative is free to be a maverick, like McCain, Corker, Sasse, or Flake, choosing positions on each issue based on his or her own judgment of what’s best for the country, the people lose the power to influence policy through elections. The people cannot hold one party or another responsible for its successes or failures if the members of the party do not reliably act as a cohesive unit.

Loyalty to political parties should not extend beyond politics. This is the evil of totalitarianism. Totalitarian parties (Communist, Fascist) try to extend their reach into the church, the workplace, the market, the private home. When religious leaders apply a partisan litmus test to their flock on issues like immigration, they play into the hands of the would-be totalitarians. But within politics, party loyalty should be supreme.

So-called “bipartisanship” is an evil that should be shunned by all right-thinking people, except in time of war. Bipartisanship could almost be defined as the conspiracy of the elites of the two parties to frustrate the will of ordinary citizens.

Loyalty is a central political virtue in a republic. The individual voter is powerless. The odds that one vote could sway a national election are infinitesimally small. In fact, they are zero — if by some freak accident, a federal election were to turn on exactly one vote, demands for recounts would be inevitable, and the actual electoral results would depend on election officials and federal judges (as in the close 2004 election, decided only by a Supreme Court decision). Your vote literally cannot make a difference, unless you’re a member of the Supreme Court.

Then why vote? Economists argue that voting is irrational, more irrational even than buying lottery tickets. But this overlooks the fact that individual people are able to form collective or social “agents” (i.e., parties). We act in solidarity with others in order to make a real difference. The glue that makes these corporate persons possible is the virtue of loyalty.

Republican voters in 2016 clearly favored Trump’s moderate nationalism. As long as Trump does not betray those expressed commitments, the party must remain loyal to its elected leader. The Democrats understand this: Republicans can never govern until they do.

Rob Koons is a professor of philosophy specializing in logic, metaphysics, philosophical theology, and political thought. He is the author and editor of six books, including "The Atlas of Reality: A Comprehensive Guide to Metaphysics" (with Tim Pickavance, Wiley-Blackwell, 2017). He has been active in conservative circles, both nationally and in Texas, including the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the National Association of Scholars, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the Philadelphia Society, and the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Every American faces an inescapably binary choice between the Republican Party, headed by President Trump, and the Democrat Party, headed by Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
trump, republican party, loyalty, democracy
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2017-52-16
Thursday, 16 November 2017 12:52 PM
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