Skip to comments.Why 2012 election looks a lot like 1860
Posted on 06/04/2011 12:34:35 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
As the season of presidential politics 2012 unfolds, Im struck by similarities between today and the tumultuous period in our history that led up to the election of Abraham Lincoln and then on to the Civil War.
So much so that Im finding it a little eerie that this year we are observing the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the Civil War.
No, I am certainly not predicting, God forbid, that todays divisions and tensions will lead to brother taking up arms against brother.
But profound differences divide us today, as was the case in the 1850′s.
The difference in presidential approval rates between Democrats and Republicans over the course of the Obama presidency and the last few years of the Bush presidency has been in the neighborhood of 70 points. This is the most polarized the nation has been in modern times.
This deep division is driven, as was the case in the 1850′s, by fundamental differences in world-view regarding what this country is about.
Then, of course, the question was can a country conceived in liberty, in Lincolns words, tolerate slavery.
Today the question is can a country conceived in liberty tolerate almost half its economy consumed by government, its citizens increasingly submitting to the dictates of bureaucrats, and wanton destruction of its unborn children.
We wrestle today, as they did then, with the basic question of what defines a free society.
Its common to hear that democracy is synonymous with freedom. We also commonly hear that questions regarding economic growth are separate and apart from issues tied to morality so called social issues.
But Stephen Douglas, who famously debated Abraham Lincoln in 1858, argued both these points. In championing the idea of popular sovereignty and the Kansas Nebraska Act, he argued that it made sense for new states to determine by popular vote whether they would permit slavery.
By so doing, argued Douglas, the question of slavery would submit to what he saw as the core American institution democracy and, by handling the issue in this fashion, slavery could be removed as an impediment to growth of the union.
Lincoln rejected submitting slavery to the vote, arguing that there are first and inviolable principles of right and wrong on which this nation stands and which cannot be separated from any issue, including considerations of growth and expansion.
The years of the 1850′s saw the demise of a major political party the Whigs and the birth of another the Republican Party. And the Democratic Party, in the election of 1860, splintered into two.
In a Gallup poll of several weeks ago, 52 percent said that neither political party adequately represents the American people and that we need a third party. Of the 52 percent, 68 percent were Independents, 52 percent Republicans, and 33 percent Democrats.
So its not surprising that the field of Republicans emerging as possible presidential candidates is wide, diverse, and unconventional.
But another lesson to be learned from 1860 is that conventional wisdom of establishment pundits is not necessarily reliable.
These pundits will explain why the more unconventional stated and potential candidates in the Republican field Cain, Palin, or Bachmann dont have a chance and why we should expect Romney, Pawlenty, or Huntsman.
But going into the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1860, the expected candidate to grab the nomination was former governor and Senator from New York, William H. Seward.
But emerging victorious on the third ballot at the convention was a gangly country lawyer, whose only previous experience in national office was one term in the US congress, to which he was elected fourteen years earlier.
A year or two earlier, no one, except Abraham Lincoln himself, would have expected that he would become president of the United States.
Remember, he was actually a Democrat, not a Republican! He and President Lincoln ran under the National Union banner in 1864, not the GOP.
[ Its common to hear that democracy is synonymous with freedom. ]
Democracy is synonymous with MOB RULE.. yes! by mobsters..
No democracy ever existed that was democratic..
Democracy is a lie.. No democracy was ever democratic..
Thats WHY?.... the U.S.. is a republic..
Tell it to the dolts that put Trump as VP to Palin/Bachmann/Cain et al.
Yes, democracies aren't democratic, they're evillllllll MOBSTERS!!! Either you're smoking some really good stuff or Mao Zedong has an account on FR and is going to start posting stuff about the glorious People's Republic and how the crazy Tiananmen Square protestors got what they deserved.
Democracy is indispensable to socialism. The goal of socialism is communism. -V.I. Lenin
The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism .-Karl Marx
It is fashionable today to play the sophisticate and cynically dismiss both political parties as not having a "dimes worth of difference between them." But this is a cheap and easy analysis which does not do justice to either party. It fails to indict the Democrats for the Socialists and race baiting demagogues that they are, and it fails to credit the Republicans for their efforts, however inept and halfhearted, to bring fiscal sanity to the Republic.
Whether there is a major rupture or distortion of American politics depends on several factors and we must watch and abide events.
My expectation is that Obama will demagogue both race and fiscal issues right into the election because he really has no other option at this point. The economy is in such a wretched state that he must somehow change the game or lose the election. It is a common understanding that presidents do not get reelected with unemployment numbers in excess of 7.2% and we have an official number now of 9.1% and a practical number in the neighborhood of 20% with no reasonable prospect of reducing unemployment significantly before the election.
Obama look at this and that the gasoline prices and realize that he must change the subject or lose the election.
He will look at the demographics and start with energizing his base. That means he will play the race card to obtain 95% of the 12% African-American vote. He will certainly continue to play the immigration/race card to attempt to get in excess of 70% of the 14% Hispanic vote. Recently, he has pandered to the gays with his rulings in the military and he will hope to garner 80 to 90% of the + - 3% gay vote. They will probably still receive better than 50% of the Jewish vote despite his the trail of America's generations long support of Israel. He will further pander to the women's vote and he will demagogue Social Security and health care to frighten the elderly.
In addition, Obama will have at his disposal $1 billion to spend on his campaign which he will have gotten by cronyism or extortion of American business and by cronyism with American unions. This money will be liberally applied to demagoging the election.
Obama knows his negatives are high and therefore he must bring the Republican candidate down to his level by slinging mud and he has the money with which to sling a lot of mud. So we are destined to have one of the dirtiest elections in history and it will be a scurrilous example of the lowest kind of demagoguery. If Obama can bring the Republican candidate down to his level so that the Republican suffers from like negatives, and Obama can energize his base through demagoguery, the Republic might be sentenced to a final catastrophic episode of Obamaism.
But this is not to say that this political landscape means that we are in a 1860s condition. If we are in such a condition that must be because we are on the verge of some cataclysmic event not because of a general disillusionment with our American political parties. It could be a black swan event which in turn precipitates a fiscal calamity. If that should occur and Obama is reelected I cannot see how America can survive as a land of liberty. Certainly it would not survive if the Republicans do not hold at least one house of Congress.
Since before the last election, I have said that Obama is a demagogue and a potential tyrant. Even if Obama himself cannot marshal the forces to turn America into Zimbabwe, we are facing a demographic tsunami which is likely to prove irresistible within a generation and with this wave of aliens, both legal and illegal, comes a voting bloc with no understanding, much less appreciation or regard for democracy and capitalism.
So I do agree that the stakes in this election are as great as they were in 1860. This is so either because we faced an economic catastrophe or by operation over time demographic slide to the left. So, if liberty and freedom of enterprise are to survive we must not only win this election but we must install a leader who can by force of his vision radically change the course of the country so that all the demographic factors which weigh so heavily day after day against the forces of good can simply be neutralized and, as it were, detoured away. This kind of leader is one who rises to meet the time and it is difficult to foretell where he might come from. We have seen it before in our history as, for example, in 1860. We have seen the country radically change course respecting communism and capitalism beginning in 1980 with Ronald Reagan. We have also seen it go the other way with Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.
Somewhere among us there is the man for the time and we desperately need him to step forward. Is it Paul Ryan? Is it Gov. Perry? Could it be Sarah Palin?
Very Orwellian. If democracy was the road to communism then how come the FIRST thing the commies did when they SEIZED power was ABOLISH democratic elections? I remember watching some documentary about the lefties who went to fight in the spanish civil war and they were parroting the same B.S. ... they were going there to fight for “democracy” in Spain. Of course once communists get in power, they won’t be caught dead following the “will of the people”. Look at all the liberal activists in California who constantly have judges overturn direct popular votes of “the people” on traditional marriage and cuttings off benefits for illegals. It will be a cold day in hell before Obama decides to have a national referendum on Obamacare.
Palin made comments to Hannity on FoxNews about a 3rd party threat if the GOP don’t come around to Tea Party principles but instead continue to do things as usual.
Would that we had a Lincoln.
I've been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we'd never see his like again because he was one of a kind. I was wrong! Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he's a she. And what a she! This was Ronald Reagan at his best -- the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as "The Speech," which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP. Welcome back, Dad, even if you're wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.
~Michael Reagan, Chairman, Reagan Foundation, syndicated talk show host and son of President Ronald Reagan.
Speaking of a third party; check out this Post from last night. 192 Posted Comments so far.
A very good point not often made.
Star Parker isn't predicting it, and neither am I, not quite yet. I'd say there is just under a 50% chance that the voters of 2012 will elect a conservative (Palin, Cain, Bachmann, or DeMint come to mind). If we do, I expect to avoid a second Civil War. If Obama or Romney wins in 2012, that war may be inevitable. The forces of freedom will more likely than not win that war, but I hope and pray that we will get energized prior to the November 2012 election and obtain the same result without bloodshed.
What Good Can a Handgun Do Against An Army?
Nobody, well hardly anybody, at the time argued that a new (or old) state didn't have the right to decide whether to permit or prohibit slavery.
Douglass argued that voters in federal territories during the period prior to their becoming states should be allowed to decide whether to allow slavery. This repealed, in the northern territories, the Missouri Compromise that was over 40 years old at the time.
The discussion became moot when the Supremes in the Dred Scott decision determined that neither territorial voters nor the federal government had power to prevent slavery in any territory.
But new and old states still had absolute power over slavery within their boundaries. At least till the Supremes got around to deciding states could not outlaw it, which some contend Taney and others were conspiring to do.
“No, I am certainly not predicting, God forbid, that todays divisions and tensions will lead to brother taking up arms against brother.”
Nor am I. They are not my brothers.
“Would that we had a Lincoln.”
That would be the gangly, sociopathic lawyer from Illinois, who feels free to suspend the Constitution at will.
We have one.
A fatuous comparison.
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