One of the troubling unforeseen results in what appears to be a political disaster for the GOP is connected to the balance of power in government. It occurs to me that despite appearances, what the result of the election is likely to look like promises to unearth new issues confronting both political parties, and the nation. Trump thought he was only bragging about his sexual exploits when he opined that since he was a star he could do anything he wanted to any woman he encountered, and for her to object was hopeless.
A striking feature of the last few decades is the emergence of the new woman. She is strong, demands respect, equal wages and fair treatment. She would not let any alpha-male-Trumpish bully push her around. She owns her own body and controls her own space. She now epitomizes the way we males have in recent times tried to rear our daughters and influence our granddaughters. While my journey in this regard has occasionally been too slow, I can now celebrate everything I know about, and every contact I have with these women. I am married to one! And yet there still remain too many women who would allow or even invite the sort of sexist violence Trump claimed was his right as a rich star. While it is never appropriate to blame the victim, we need to encourage the yet un-free, and affirm what the liberated women have found and by which their lives are governed.
In nations where there is a super, strong, dominant leader, no one else is safe. So when Trump threatens to jail his adversary, he is playing every dictator’s game. That’s what tyrants do if they are strong enough to get away with it.
When one side has all the power and its victims believe that they have no option other than to submit, simple justice goes out the window. Power corrupts, and one doesn’t need to look very far to find examples of this axiom. Consider the plight of the Palestinians with a handful of stones and useless little firecrackers that pass for rockets, while Israel, backed up by the enormous power of the United States, has probably the third most potent military force in the world. Why Big Brother in Washington has even decided that Israel can have whatever atomic weapons it wants, but Iran can have nothing of the kind, and why the Palestinians can’t even have a single tank is a mystery to me.
We want America to remain the strongest nation on earth, but the competition we are now getting from China is not an unmitigated difficulty. Competition just might improve everyone’s conduct, including ours.
Simple justice depends on some division of power among competing forces. Certainly the framers of the Constitution understood that unlimited power always corrupts. Whatever flaws they wrote into that document, not even the most conservative Federalists were about to copy the English system with all the power vested in an unassailable monarch. But even the Brits have traditionally had ways to level out the worst uses of royal authority, beginning with the Magna Carta. So the American Constitutional government relies on competing sources of power. Even our least populous states have the same number of senators as the most populous states. And we are saved from an imperial Presidency by the other two branches of government—the Legislative and the Judicial. Of course this system also has its down side, and when power is evenly divided sometimes very little is accomplished. The last eight years offers a striking illustration of that problem.
But back to the initial point I wanted to make when I started this discourse. On one hand, the total annihilation of Donald Trump and his Republican cohorts is greeted with considerable glee in the political circles in which I usually travel. But not so fast. As our form of government recognizes the importance of the Constitution’s checks and balances, common sense suggests the critical need for at least two political parties, each with some significant access to power. If for the ensuing years the footing that has undergirded the Republican Party is now threatened, I doubt if that is an unqualified blessing for America. Perhaps we need at least one alternative party with an agenda the in-power party cannot simply dismiss. Trump has managed to destroy much of what made the Republican Party valuable. It is going to take time to get it back on its feet. Or we may be in for a wholesale realigning of our current party politics. In the meantime, the Democrats need to take a careful look before they assume that having won such a striking electoral victory they can just ignore what in our system is sometime called “the loyal opposition.”