BY ROHN W. BISHOP
In 1860 the Democrat Party split over the issue of slavery, and the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott Decision. At their convention, looking to unite behind a candidate, Democrats looked to Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, who was seen as a moderate on the issue of slavery, as a consensus candidate. This didn’t sit well with the 50 delegates representing the south and they walked out of the convention, and the Democrat Party split.
The result was a four way general election for president in the fall of 1860. Abraham Lincoln was the Republican Candidate, John C. Breckinridge (the current Democrat Vice President) was the Southern Democrat Candidate, Stephen Douglas was the Democrat Candidate, and John Bell was the Constitutional Union Candidate.
The split in the pro-slavery Democrat Party allowed Republican Lincoln to win with only 39.8% of the vote, and the rest is history. The South seceded, the Civil War was fought, the Union won, Lincoln abolished slavery, and Republicans would become the dominate political party until The Great Depression and The New Deal.
You may be saying to yourself…”Bishop, this is all really interesting, and a nice dig at the Democrats being pro slavery, but what in the hell does any of this have to do with Donald Trump?”
I’m glad you asked! In this tumultuous primary season, in both parties, I think it’s quite possible to have an election similar to the one in 1860.
In the New Hampshire Primary, the 74 year old devout Socialist Bernie Sanders trounced Hillary Clinton – I mean he mopped the floor with her in the largest contested presidential primary margin ever, with Sanders capturing 60.4% to Hillary’s 38%.
That said, however, because of the Democrat Party’s “Super Delegate” process, Mrs. Clinton actually won more delegates from New Hampshire than did Sanders.
You read that right! Despite losing badly, she won more delegates. And yes, the Clintons, and their party, are crooked, and the process is rigged to ensure a Clinton nomination. If this pattern continues, and Sanders wins more votes while the Democrats nominate Hillary Clinton, I can envision Sanders (a natural heir to Eugene V. Debs) and his supporters walking out of a Democrat Convention, and running under his true party label, the Socialist Party of America.
The Republican primary is an unmitigated disaster!
With rare exception, the party that’s controlled the White House for eight years is unable to hold onto it for a third term. That, along with an unpopular president finishing up his term, and a Democrat Party that was decimated in the 2014 elections; the 2016 election is the Republicans to lose.
And they’re working overtime to lose it!
The GOP field began with an embarrassment of riches. So many accomplished, smart, and successful conservative candidates, that we Republicans wouldn’t have to settle for an old, white, moderate RINO guy like Bob Dole or John McCain. Hell, we wouldn’t even have to settle for a ‘pretty conservative guy’ like Mitt Romney!
It was like an all-you-can-eat steak buffet, with only the finest cuts of meat, and the highest class wines! Unfortunately, the GOP is choosing to go with Spam and a case of Busch Light.
With the mainstream conservative Republican candidates splitting the vote five ways, Donald Trump continues to win primary contests with 30% of the vote, making him the frontrunner and odds on favorite to capture the GOP nomination.
What if he does?
Most of us conservative activists who are involved in the Republican Party haven’t sold out our beliefs for radio ratings or web clicks, and still take seriously the Republican Party being the party of conservatives. Because of this, I can envision a conservative walkout at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, and conservatives drafting a true conservative to run under the banner of a “Conservative Party,” setting the stage for a four way general election, just like in 1860.
The End of the Conservative Movement?
Conservative’s are on the precipice of their greatest electoral victory in the history of the movement. A chance to have a truly solid conservative elected president, a conservative governing majority in the House of Representatives, led by conservative hero Paul Ryan, and a Republican Senate Majority with a strong conservative presence.
This is the moment the Conservative Movement has been waiting for since the defeat of Robert Taft at the 1952 convention in Chicago.
And they’re blowing it!
Conservative Movement leaders like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, and John Nolte have sold out conservatism for an entertaining side show in Trump. These conservative leaders have decided to take their frustration with President Obama and his two election victories out on Republicans, instead of Democrats. In doing so they’re snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
2016 General Election
The Democrat Party runs Hillary Clinton.
The Socialist Party runs Bernie Sanders.
The Republican Party runs Donald Trump.
The Conservative Party runs Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio.
It’s really quite possible, especially given that 70% of Republicans can’t stand the notion of a big government, single payer, Clinton donor, Carter endorsed, eminent domain loving, pro-abortion, Planned Parenthood supporting, crude, rude, blow hard, ass-clown, being the nominee of our party!
Rohn W. Bishop is a monthly contributor to The Scene. A former Waupun Alderman, Bishop has served as treasurer for the Republican Party of Fond du Lac County since 2011.
Follow Rohn on Twitter: @RohnWBishop