The road to a four-party system

The road to a four-party system

The Republican Party is at war, and Democrats aren't looking much better

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We, as a nation, may be moving toward a four-party system.

There is an open war within the Republican Party. And we're seeing the beginnings of a larger battle within the Democratic Party as well. 

The war within the GOP has been both surprising and, perhaps, inevitable. Republicans are the dominant party in America—with complete control of all three branches of government, as well as a majority of governorships and state legislatures. The party has never been so dominant. And yet its fragility has been evident since last year's presidential primary election, and has only grown during the Trump presidency.

President Donald Trump's political ally and former advisor Steve Bannon took aim a week ago at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bannon declared: "Right now it's a season of war against the GOP establishment." 

The establishment is fighting back. This last week, former President George W. Bush gave a speech that was interpreted as a swipe at "Trumpism." He warned that, in American politics, "bigotry seems emboldened," that we are "more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication," and that we are witnessing a dangerous "tendency to turn inward." (Bannon returned fire, arguing that "there has not been a more destructive presidency than George W. Bush's.") 

Republican Sens. John McCain and Bob Corker also broke with Trump earlier in the month. And Bush's former speechwriter Pete Wehner went even further in a recent New York Times article. He argued that establishment GOP have "no choice about challenging the blood-and-soil nationalists." As Wehner wrote, "If the tribalistic, angry, anti-government wing of the party turns out to be the vanguard rather than an ugly and unfortunate parenthesis—then the Republican Party would collapse intellectually and morally, and a lot of lifelong Republicans would head for the exits."

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