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The party crack-up, cont.

Last night's GOP primary results encourage me in my belief that the U.S. two-party system is in the throes of splitting up into four -- if not formally, then de facto.

Insurgent Republicans keep winning: Rick Scott defeated Bill McCollum yesterday in the Florida gubernatorial primary, James Lankford came out on top in Oklahoma's congressional runoff, and Joe Miller is edging out Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. Clearly, the Tea Party is as much a revolt against the allegedly insufficiently conservative Republican establishment as it is a revolt against Obama.

If the GOP takes the Senate -- admittedly still a big if, but increasingly thinkable -- I wonder how Mitch McConnell plans to control the likes of Miller, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey. Wouldn't be at all surprised if they fuel a run for majority leader by Jim DeMint.

As the split between right and center-right accelerates within the Republicans, I expect an internal Democratic bloodletting if that party loses Congress, between the left and the center-left. How much longer can these two aging party structures contain the contradictory forces within them?

By Charles Lane  | August 25, 2010; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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If the GOP takes over the Senate nothing will change. Nothing will continue to get done just as it has under the minority care of the GOP.

Posted by: joebanks | August 25, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

If there really is a split here, it's not between center-right and right as the author claims. It's between far right and extreme right.

Posted by: dougd1 | August 25, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait until we have 4 parties who either can't, or won't, change anything.

Posted by: daweeni | August 25, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Typical Chuck Lane nonsense. Make a point about a Republican crackup, marshalls the evidence in support. But can't let it go without dragging the Dems in. But does he have evidence of a Democratic crackup? Nope. Just what he "expects" to happen. When the history of the decline of newspapers is written, Exhibit A will be cowardly columns like this.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | August 25, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The two-party system is broken beyond repair. What we need is a respectable, intelligent moderate to announce now that he/she intends to run as an independent in 2012. That would give the person enough time to run a credible campaign and would give others and incentive and an opportunity to announce independent candidacies for other national- and state-level offices. Assuming that Obama runs again (which I don't take for granted) and that the Republicans nominate someone unacceptable to moderates (which I do take for granted), we could end the era of two-party dominance.

While I'm actually quite happy with much of what the Democrats have accomplished in the past two years, I'd support credible, intelligent moderate candidates who run as independents in a heart beat because I think its the only way we can move beyond hyper-partisan gridlock.

How about it ex Sen. Hagel, Sen. Snowe, Sen Collins, etc.? Why not put the RINO label that your party's extremists love to hurl at you to good use?

Posted by: exco | August 25, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Possibly the most important political discussion of 2010.

What is the fate of contemporary American conservatism? Does it have a political party? Does it have a credible leader?

Good column.

Posted by: mbus | August 25, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

dougd1 : Nice call.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | August 25, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This country could certainly benefit from a few more viable political parties. I'm not sure that a fringe-right Republican splinter group really counts as "viable" though. More like the Dixiecrats.

Posted by: js_edit | August 25, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I never have understood why so many political writers and journalists feel this knee-jerk urge to equate everything that's happening on the right with what's happening on the left, as though it's always perfectly symmetrical. Comparing some split that might occur within the left with what we're seeing on the right is just wrong... a false equivalence. No sitting Congressperson or serious candidate on the left is as liberal as these crop of candidates on the right are conservative. There is no equivalent to Rand Paul on the left who could be a US Senator. There is no one in the Democratic leadership on the Hill as liberal as Jim Demint is conservative. Why do guys keep doing the "on the left and on the right routine"? The role that the most ardent progressives play in the Dem Party is nothing like the relationship that hard core conservatives and tea partiers have with the Republican leadership. The "center-right" you speak of isn't center at all. Someone to Sharon Angle or Jim Demint's left is still quite far from center-right. Harry Reid and Jim Demint are not ideological mirror opposites. Democratic and Republican establishments are not equidistant from the center.

Posted by: tonyharris | August 25, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

The question never asked is how so many third-rate people have come to dominate the news. Make fun of the intellect long and hard enough and this is what happens.

Posted by: 85edwardearthlinknet | August 25, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse


"The two-party system is broken beyond repair. What we need is a respectable, intelligent moderate to announce now that he/she intends to run as an independent in 2012."


The problem is that since Ross Perot, the two parties have put up many legal and practical roadblocks to running as an independent.

Posted by: pmendez | August 25, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I wholeheartedly agree with exco, if Chuck Hagel would run as an independent for president, I'd vote him without hesitation.

There isn't a single republican on the scene I would let scrub my toilet, and I've never yet had to vote for democrats.

Posted by: eezmamata | August 25, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Beachhouse, the Democrats have been cracking up for 40 years. They've managed to get a popular majority of presidential votes exactly twice in the last four decades, and one of those was right after Watergate. The utter inability of the Dems to get things done in Congress even with a filibuster-proof majority is just the latest manifestation of this - they simply cannot agree on an agenda. What's novel about the situation is the GOP coalition following suit in cracking up.

Posted by: TheyCallMeBruce | August 25, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Eliminate the electoral college and some of the problems we have.

Eliminating gold plated lifetime health and pension benefits would also help.

Eliminate congressional carry over of campaign donations and transferring funds to other candidates.

Limit campaigning to 60 days prior to an election.

If all else fails, adopt a parliamentary system.

Posted by: knjincvc | August 25, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

exco @ August 25, 2010 1:28 PM wrote "The two-party system is broken beyond repair." I don't think so. The Democratic party still includes the many factions that have made it a very dynamic party. The problem is that the Republican party is becoming very uniform ideologically. They are behaving in a parliamentary fashion, in a system that does not encompass the parliamentary system. So, an easier solution is to change the rules of the Senate.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 25, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Most people want peace and prosperity. The established powers want eternal war and the looting of the country's wealth for special interests. This is the real split. Currently, opportunists and cranks are taking advantage of this split. The people can only have power if libertarians and progressives join in a peace and prosperity platform. Hopefully we can return this country to some kind of normalcy.

Posted by: independent123 | August 25, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

While we hear daily how the Dems will lose this election on the economy, there is little to no analysis on the divisive intolerance & fearmongering of GOP 2010 and their surrogate Tea Party, which is now stockpiling suspect candidates-on-ballot.

Is this really a winner? I suspect that almost every minority voter and at least half of caucasian ones, are leaving the tent over it.

- Balkingpoints / www

Posted by: RField7 | August 25, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

GOP control of the Senate? Are they going to get 60 seats?

Well then I guess they aren't going to get control of anything are they?

Posted by: jaho | August 25, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is just reaping the ugly seeds that they've sown. They've won elections for years with variants of their "Southern Strategy", wherein they reach out and nurture the basest, most hateful impulses in much of the population. They are doing it again with the carefully stoked "mosque" (sic) hysteria in the city they used to love to denigrate, but now claim to hold sacred.

Within a year this party will be run entirely by utterly unabashed and rabid Hitleresque race-baiters and hatemongers, who will have pushed aside the more moderate fiscal conservatives who previously just used the racists to rise to power.

I don't think this is particularly good for America - or our security or standing in the world. But the death of the GOP as we know it may be a positive collateral damage that helps us move on to a better future.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 25, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Seems like in the news business anything that applies to Republicans must also apply to Democrats in the exact same way.

Is there any evidence at all of an upcoming split in among the Dems? No? Then why did you post this?

Posted by: g9fool | August 25, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that many of the writers are saying that the Republicans are far right but the Democrats are more more moderate and to the center. This is what is wrong with many of the readers of the Washington Post where they just do not get it that the rest of the nation has a different mindset and consider many the current Democratic office holders to be on the extreme left and out of touch with the American people.

Posted by: sales7 | August 25, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

The center-right of the Republican party is, what, three or four people? I personally believe that the Tea Party phenomenon is not the beginning of something, but the end. The end of rational conservatism that even a progressive like myself can understand and - in some cases - support. I hope fervently that the Tea Party is going nowhere, too extreme, too ugly, too bigoted, too anti-intellectual to get significant popular support. Despite what the poll said a few months back, their appeal is clearly to the kind of under-educated older white guy who somehow managed to wade through Atlas Shrugged. How the Democrats react to this changing situation will depend on November, but you can be sure that if the Republicans fail to take control there will be a serious day of reckoning.

Posted by: gposner | August 25, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The center-right of the Republican party is...
Posted by: gposner


The Democrats.

Posted by: js_edit | August 25, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

anybody but obama and the dems...
and we mean anybody...

Posted by: DwightCollins | August 25, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Pretty soon left wing reporters like those in the Washington Post will actually start to understand what is going on in America. It seems nobody in the DC/NYC corridor has a clue. They are too busy playing the race card, calling people bigots and disdaining anyone who doesn't subscribe to the Sharia of political correctness. The Tea Party is not much more than a concept. What is going on is that normal Americans see a total failure of the self-anointed "elites" who have failed in everything they do but who still look down on the masses. Wall Street and DC, and all the Ivy League Grads who wouldn't know the real world if they actually encountered it, turned out to be failures across the board. They were oh so smart!, but they flunked the only real test that mattered. Nobody is more disgusted with Congressional Republicans than those of us who supported them over the years. The only thing worse is a Congressional Democrat. It's a new world order out their you WP reporters. Do some real reporting, get out of your bubbles and listen to people before you start the denigration, snide remarks, gratuitous insults and name calling. You will be amazed at what you will learn about the greatest country in the world and will realize the American Dream is still alive and well, no matter how much the misnamed elites think it isn't and no matter how they have tried to turn it into a nightmare.

Posted by: beachbum09 | August 25, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

There is no "center-right" in the Republican party. The split is between the far-right and the far, far-right.

Posted by: rashomon | August 25, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The Right is sprinting back to the Stone Ages. It's mind-boggling.

Posted by: jakemehoffer | August 25, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The Great American Congress that we all despise so much exists as it is because the Great American Voter keeps putting the same scumbags back in power, every time he or she gets a chance.

We change parties once in a while, the other group of pandering cretins comes in for their change to destroy the country just a little more.

Is it any wonder that people who look at you, beachbum09, blame you for the state of things?

That's right, it's your fault we have the people in government that we have. Why should you be so surprised these elites look down their nose at you ... you're the people who are letting these scumbags talk you into voting for them, again and again and again.

It's not like these dc/nyc asholes would do any better, that's a fact. But your smug self-righteousness is an excuse, it's your fault the republicans and the democrats are taking turns screwing us the way they are.

Posted by: eezmamata | August 25, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Beachbum09 - why is being "elite" now such a bad thing? Green Berets are elite; they earned that title from a lot of extremely hard work that earned them that title; the same goes with highly educated people which you guys seem to hold in such disdain; haven't we always been told to strive to get as much education and knowledge as you can so that you can be more productive in society and make a better living, and it takes a lot of hard word to achieve those advanced degrees; why in the hell is that a negative? If I'm going to have some surgery, I'd much rather have an "elitist" doctor with as much education and knowledge performing my surgery than some lesser doctor with a good ole boy bedside manner - being elite is not a bad thing, it means you have attained a lever of knowledge, training, and excellence that a lot of people have not attained - being elite should not be so looked down on by you people; it is not being elite that is the reason the people you described behave the way they do; it's just pure old fashioned greed--

Posted by: southernbutnotstupid | August 25, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hagel could very well win. Love to see it happen. Only the partisans whose checks are connected to these parties could love them now. Two sets of purity tests, one right, one left. A great middle to draw from.

Posted by: Gooddogs | August 25, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Party crack up? Where? In your mind. The Tea Partiers didn't form because of the Republicans. They formed because of Obama and his dictatorial one party rule. They formed because of health care and a tone deaf President. They formed because Obama was paying too much time with his fantasy world of social justice and jobs, the economy, the deficit and the debt were nothing but a side issue. Regardless what the Tea Partiers say, they didn't form because of the spending of both parties. They assembled because of the direction this country is headed. So, you can stop you useless attempts to project a crack up between the Tea Parties and the Conservatives. It won't wash no better then the propaganda we hear from Obama and now the CBO that jobs were created and saved. You can ease the desperation the left has about losing in November, but it won't help because the American people are going to right all the wrongs Obama and the Democrats have done to this country. You see a crack up because no one seems to like the Democrats these days and it's up to people like you, to promote the lies and propaganda of Obama. Party crack up my foot.

Posted by: houstonian | August 25, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

There doesn't seem to be an effective left wing anymore - the country seems divided four ways: near right, right, far right and Third Reich.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | August 25, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

"The center-right of the Republican party is...
Posted by: gposner

The Democrats.
Posted by: js_edit"

Truer words ne'er spoken!

Posted by: bushidollar | August 25, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Part of the GOP's problem is relying on the brain-dead drones you see posting here. It's hard to have a message when your base is retarded.

Posted by: jakemehoffer | August 25, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

It would not be difficult for the party establishment to "control" Rubio, as he is just another big-spending career politician, like Crist. ALEXANDER SNITKER stands for states rights and individual liberty. My vote is too important to throw away; I'm voting for Alex.

Posted by: MarshaWhitt | August 25, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Surprise, surprise: Republican candidates win all Republican primaries.

The real surprise is the electoral slaughter that is in store for you Dims just 69 days from now.

See you at the polls, Dims.

Posted by: screwjob21 | August 25, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

It is expected that the democrats will be slaughtered, the real surprise will come to you republicans, when you find that we independents despise you too much to vote for you. We'll vote against the democrats most likely, they have failed miserably after all. But who wants people like you in power, you've already proven yourselves to be more than just incompetent, you're actually too stupid to be as bad as you are.

Screwjob, you and your republican drones are going to be surprised at how mixed will be the results. of course you won't admit it, you're beyond blind to that reality.

Posted by: eezmamata | August 25, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

to screwjob21

- So let's see - you voted for Bush twice
- he took us from a surplus to a deficit
- lied us into a war so you could protect muslims
- yet you hate muslims
- stock market dived 60%
- bush started stimulus

Obama brings back jobs
saves us from horrible depression
and you still love Mitch McConnel and
John Boner

- let me ask you a question
are you retarded or just stupid

Posted by: moneyfools | August 25, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Houstonian says:
"The Tea Partiers didn't form because of the Republicans. They formed because of Obama and his dictatorial one party rule."

Ummm...You mean like the one-party rule that existed from 2001-2006?

Hate to tell you, but neither was a dictatorship, they were the result of little things we call elections...

Posted by: Pamsm | August 25, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Good point, but I see three parties; Center, Left, and Right, or if you prefer, Sensible, Lunatics, and Hate mongers

Posted by: mjcc1987 | August 25, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Moneyfools, here is what beachbum09 said:

"get out of your bubbles and listen to people before you start the denigration, snide remarks, gratuitous insults and name calling."

Your post just proved how correct he is.

Posted by: jstine | August 25, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

If Palin is the best the Republicans have to offer, and the Democrats are on the slide, we're in deep doo-doo. We have no viable Left, the Center-Right has collapsed, and Obama's Centrism is tanking. Give me another martini. Make it a double.

Posted by: samsara15 | August 25, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr Lane lives in a world of IF, typical right wing dreams. I'm not sold that the House is a lost cause for the left just because the loud mouths from the right tell you so. I'm impressed with the Republican tactics, very sleazy but it seems to be working. The right needs to pick up 39 seats to win the House, let's don't forget that fact

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | August 25, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that things will only get worse near term, even if the horrible two-party monopoly is broken. Why? None of these groups looking to spliner off are proposing to do anything to fix anything.

One wing of the party that cuts taxes while increasing spending wants to cut taxes more... and not cut any spending.

One wing of the party that increases spending while cutting taxes wants to increase spending more.... while not raising taxes.

The more things change, the more they will stay the same. It won't go on too much longer. Sooner or later the markets will realize that the American people all want the country to collapse. Nobody has the stones to change a thing.

Shared sacrifice, my butt. That is the only solution.

Posted by: baldinho | August 25, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

jstine: what part of "Moneyfools's" comment about"elections" do you have a problem with? And as for "Houstonian"and "Screwjob21", the Tea-baggers for the most part are the same 20% (or so) of the electorate that always has been reactionary, racist, stupid (but thinks everyone else is),pseudo-religious, faux-patriotic, and just plain nasty that has always been there. But with the backing of rich conservs like the Koch brothers, etc. and the Fox propaganda network and 24/7 news cycle (a gaping maw that regurgitates any garbage), it has recieved far too much attention. Recently there was a rally of progressives in Mich. of 20,000 people- bet you didn't hear about it? If 200 tea-baggers bump into each other somewhere it's front page news all over the country. And finally, this "anti-incumbant" meme that is repeated ad-nauseam by the talking heads--- where is it? If Murkowski loses in Alaska, she will be one of only a hand-ful(less than a dozen) of current office holders -out of a few hundred on the national level- to lose re-election. You drones are entitled to your own, opinions not your own facts

Posted by: dirktazer | August 25, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Here's what will change. Instead of having 2 parties completely bought off by their respective "special interests" we'll have 4 that have sold out. Otherwise, not much will have changed.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | August 25, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Eliminate the electoral problem and everything will get worse. one of our problems is mucking with the constitution and electing senators popularly. we should get rid of that amendment and go back to having the states appoint senators.
the founding fathers were pretty prescient - and only thought that the house should be elected by popular vote.

Herman Cain is probably going to declare soon enough that he will run in 2012. That would be awesome and he will do a lot of good.

The problems we have are that the republicans are becoming crazy right and the democrats are becoming crazy left. and more and more people define themselves as independent - and keep having more and more to switch back crazily between one extreme and another. We're pretty much getting quite angry with both parties...hopefully something will happen and SOON.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2010 11:47 PM | Report abuse

to all,

in just a little over two months, the DIMocRATS will be the PERMANENT MINORITY, as they are seen by most of us "regular people" outside the beltway as FOOLS, CROOKS, SOCIALISTS, BIGOTS, ANTISEMITES & WRONG on essentially every issue.
(what is FUNNY about that is, they did it to themselves.- when you DIMocRATS passed "obamacare", against the desires of 70+% of voters, you were DONE, FINISHED & soon to be GONE.)

all us "ordinary folks" are well aware that the LEFT/bho/DIMocRAT politicians "look down on us" and "make fun of us" as "inferior to" & "beneath them" BUT that's OK, as MANY of them will soon be packing their bags for home or some "left of center" law firm, lobbying org or ???.====> where they will NOT be is IN CHARGE of either house of the Congress.

fyi, the more that i learn about BHO & the DIMocRATS, the better i like poisonous snakes, venomous spiders, leeches & scorpions.

yours, tn46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | August 26, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

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