Article — From the July 2008 issue

High Noon for the Republican Party

Why the G.O.P. must die

George Washington, the United States’ first and last unaffiliated president, warned that political parties, should they take root in the new republic, would make government “the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans.” Parties sprang up immediately, of course, but for many years they were short-lived, forming and collapsing according to a natural life cycle. No longer. Our current two-party system has become a shadow constitution, based largely on a system of legal bribery, that makes a mockery of the founders’ republican intentions. Increasingly it seems that the political parties themselves are among the greatest obstacles to civic renewal.

Eight years of Republican rule have led to economic chaos, ruinous war, and unprecedented despair. Every electoral indicator points to a massive defeat. Yet few believe that the Democratic Party possesses the strength of purpose to drive the Republicans into the well-deserved oblivion of the Anti-Masons and the Know-Nothings. Mindful of the Democrats’ shortcomings, Harper’s Magazine gathered together a panel of political thinkers to consider how the deed might be accomplished, and what might be the consequences of failure. 

Previous PageNext Page
1 of 6
is a novelist, historian, and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. His last article for the magazine, “A Fate Worse than Bush: Rudolph Giuliani and the Politics of Personality,” appeared in the August 2007 issue.

 

is editor of The American Conservative.

 

is a senior editor of Harper’s Magazine.

 

is the author of many books, including The Emerging Republican Majority and, most recently, Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism.

More from Kevin Baker:

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

THE CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

Stop Hillary!

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

How the Islamic State was Won

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Cage Wars

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Everyday Grace

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content