This column has argued for a while that there is one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy. At least a one-party autocracy can order things done.
A one-party democracy – a two-party system where one party is interested in governing and the other is in constant blocking mode, which has characterized America in recent years – is much worse. It can’t do anything big, hard or important.
We can survive a few years of such deadlock in Washington, but we can’t take another four or eight years without decay setting in. That explains what I’m rooting for in this fall’s elections: I hope Hillary Clinton wins all 50 states and Democrats take the presidency, the House, the Senate and, effectively, the Supreme Court.
That is the best thing that could happen to America, at least for the next two years.
First, if Clinton wins a sweeping victory, we will have a chance to pass common-sense gun laws.
If Clinton wins a sweeping victory, we can borrow $100 billion at close to zero interest for a national infrastructure rebuild, and create more blue-collar jobs that would stimulate growth.
If Clinton wins a sweeping victory, we will have a chance to enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax that would stimulate more clean energy production and allow us to reduce corporate taxes and personal income taxes, which would also help spur growth.
If Clinton wins a sweeping victory, we can fix whatever needs fixing with Obamacare, without having to junk the whole thing.
At the same time, if Clinton crushes Donald Trump in November, the message will be sent by the American people that the game he played to become the Republican nominee – through mainstreaming bigotry; name-calling; insulting women, the handicapped, Latinos and Muslims; retweeting posts by hate groups; ignorance of the Constitution; and a willingness to lie with an ease and regularity never seen before at the presidential campaign level – should never be tried by anyone again.
Finally, if Trump presides over a devastating Republican defeat across all government branches, the GOP will be forced to do what it has needed to do for a long time: take a time out in the corner. In that corner Republicans could pull out a blank sheet of paper and on one side define the biggest forces shaping the world – and the challenges and opportunities they pose to America – and on the other side define conservative, market-based policies to address them.
We need a healthy center-right party that can compete with a healthy center-left party. Right now, the GOP is not a healthy center-right party. It is a mishmash of religious conservatives; angry white males who fear they are becoming a minority in their own country and hate trade; gun-control opponents; pro-lifers; anti-regulation and free-market small-business owners; and pro- and anti-free trade entrepreneurs.
The party was once held together by the Cold War. But as that faded away it has been held together only by renting itself out to whomever could energize its base and keep it in power. But at its core there was no conservative framework.
Party leaders can still call themselves Republicans. They can even hold a convention. But the truth is, the party’s over. Thoughtful Republicans have started to admit that.
A Clinton sweep in November would force more Republicans to start rebuilding a center-right party ready to govern and compromise. A Clinton sweep would also mean Hillary could govern from the place where her political soul resides – the center-left, not the far left.
I make no predictions about who will win in November. But I sure know what I’m praying for – and why.