I have a question for you….Do you remember the political party called The Federalists? Drawing a blank? Then let’s try something closer in time, how about The Wigs? Still nothing?
To start with The Federalists Political Party is not the POC or Think Tank known as the Federalist Society, it was “faction” (there were no political parties yet) that supported both Pres. Washington and Adams. (Follow the link provided if you want more details.) What is important about the Federalists is that after the 1800 election they knew they were going to be out of power so the both created a slew of judgeships and then appointed loyal Federalists to the judgeships. It was said by the Democratic-Republicans that John Adams stayed up all night of the last day of his presidency signing the papers for the judges.
So what does this have to do with today? Well…..for most of the last administration (Pres. Obama) the GOP has done to keep open as many federal judgeships as it can open (What was done to Merrick Garland was the most famous of these acts.) in hope that they would win in 2016. Well they did, and they got someone, Donald Trump, who could careless about getting good jurists. So now they have been filling all of these open judgeships as fast as they can. More often than not along straight party line votes. So what does this mean to us? Well the Federalists never won a major election again and by 1824 was no more. Strangely enough, that was just about the same time as all the Federalists judges had left office.
Is a political party appointing large numbers of judgeships symptomatic of it eminent dissolution?
Now lets look at the Wigs. As shown in the link this is one of the political parties listed as succeeding The Federalists party. You may remember hearing about them when you studied the American Civil War and the rise of the Republican Party. So what does the Wigs have to do with todays Republicans? Simply that before they finally collapsed in 1860 their membership was shrinking for many many years in the decade of the 1850’s. Also they had a great deal trouble with extreme organizations like the “Nativist, or American Party, or Know Nothings. (To get a Hollywood view of Native party members see the Gangs of New York. Pay particular attention to Bill “The Butcher”.) The GOP seems to be having the same problem with things like the Libertarian party or the Freedom Caucus. So we have a political party with a shrinking and fracturing membership. How long can it stay a major player.
Is the election of Donald Trump symptomatic of a moribund political party?
So we have two interesting hypothesis’ that are actually the same. Is the GOP moribund? How can we tell? What are symptomatic what are diagnostic? Any ideas for set or two of good tests or do we just need to sit and watch what happens.