I said no. It was an assessment based on history.
Typically, these parties appeal to a relatively narrow portion of the population. But under America’s traditional two-party system, Republicans and Democrats survive mainly by attracting a large cross section of citizens.
The issue involving the Republican Party is a rift that’s forming between what could best be described as traditionalists and the tea party insurgents. Right now, members on both sides of this divide are taking pot shots at each other — mostly by blaming their GOP brethren for costing the party success in the most recent election.
On one side you have strident believers who argue that having Mitt Romney at the head of the ticket was a disaster. For them, Romney was too moderate and indecisive, causing many conservatives to stay home on Election Day.
So who’s right?
But it’s also true that voters were repelled by some of the tea party-backed candidates who found it appropriate to say silly and disturbing things regarding rape and abortion. Originally, the tea party’s focus was on deficit spending and a demand for balanced budgets. But it somehow shifted into areas that are political dead ends in a free society.
It’s possible some tea party Republicans will break from the main organization. Last week, there had to be two responses to President Obama’s State of the Union address because of the current schism.
Democrats may be grinning at the notion of a Republican Party on the verge of implosion. But wise folks will recognize there is an underlying healthiness in America’s two-party system. It creates the catalyst for presenting competing ideas for the future of the nation. A healthy political system needs that sort of constructive give and take.
And without compromise, no meaningful political party is possible.
Mitchel Olszak is a columnist for the New Casle (Pa.) News.