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When Will The Republican Establishment Get A Grip On Reality?

Sixty years ago, the great Whittaker Chambers penned a letter to William F. Buckley, Jr. dissecting the 1958 election disaster in which the Republicans lost 48 seats in the House and thirteen seats in the Senate to the Abandoned MallDemocrats.

What Chambers said to Buckley then could have been written yesterday, and one can only hope it will serve as a warning to the Republican establishment of our present day:

If the Republican Party cannot get some grip of the actual world we live in and from it generalize and actively promote a program that means something to the masses of people – why somebody else will. There will be nothing to argue. The voters will simply vote Republicans into singularity.

The Republican Party will become like one of those dark little shops which apparently never sell anything. If, for any reason, you go in, you find, at the back, an old man, fingering for his own pleasure some oddments of cloth. Nobody wants to buy them, which is fine because the old man is not really interested in selling. He just wants to hold and to feel…

Elected to the Senate that year were liberal Democrats Edmund S. Muskie, Philip A. Hart, Eugene McCarthy and Robert C. Byrd among others.

In the House, the entire Connecticut delegation switched from Republican to Democrat as the Republicans were wiped out. Delaware’s lone seat also switched. Indiana lost six Republicans, and future House Majority Whip and liberal icon John Brademas won his first term in Congress. The list went on and on with Democrats winning what had been safe Republican seats from New England to the far West.

Chambers, who died in 1961, did not live to see his great admirer, Ronald Reagan, turn the “dark little shop” of the Republican Party into a vibrant modern mall full of ideas and polices, such as lowering taxes and getting government off their backs, that meant so much to the masses of people that it generated three landslide election victories.

But those days are long gone.

The vibrant mall and promise of Reaganism has, under the care of this generation’s Republican establishment, become like so many other malls in America – a half-vacant wasteland with the closed storefronts staring like the empty eye sockets of a skull across vacant parking lots choked with the weeds of broken promises.

Going into the 2016 election, be it as a “dark little shop” or a half-vacant mall, the Republican Party had no program that meant something to the masses of people, and that was fine, because the Republican establishment had no intention of producing anything the masses of people actually wanted – such as a border wall, limits on immigration, tax reform and an end to Obamacare.

That all changed when Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for President.

Trump not only restocked and turned the lights on in the dark little shop and filled the storefronts at the mall – he went door-to-door and took orders for what the masses of people wanted; however, as the to-and-fro over the repeal of Obamacare has demonstrated, the Republican establishment has no apparent intention of filling those orders.

So, rather than the “dark little shop” or the half-vacant mall, perhaps a better metaphor for today’s Republican establishment is one of those online retailers whose slick website accepts your credit card for merchandise that is perpetually on back order – voters have paid in good faith, but their order never ships.

As things stand now for the Republican establishment, whether one adopts the metaphor of Whittaker Chambers’ “dark little shop,” the half-vacant mall or the swindling online retailer, the result for the Republican establishment is starting to look the same: If they don’t produce what the masses of people want, the border wall, the repeal of Obamacare, tax reform and the rest of the Trump agenda, if the 1958 election is any indication, they will be voted into singularity.

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