The fall of the Republican Party
March 25, 2066 - Mexico City, United States of America
Today we celebrate American Finch day in honor of a small bird who changed the course of American history.
Sixty years ago today, the Democratic and Republican Parties were engaged in nomination fights to each select their candidates for President. Then Senator Bernie Sanders was struggling to gain ground against the former Secretary of State, former Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. It seemed to most observers at that point, that Clinton had the Democratic nomination all but locked up, and that billionaire businessman Donald Trump would be the Republican Party nominee. No one counted on the vote of a small house finch.
On March 25, 2016, while speaking to an overflow crowd at Moda Stadium (now named Finch Stadium) in Portland, Oregon, a house finch flew up to the speakers lectern and landed in front of Sanders as the crowd went wild with delight. While the encounter only lasted a few seconds, the image of this little bird greeting Senator Sanders at the lectern spread across the country like wildfire. Many religious voters, previously hesitant to support an avowed Democratic-Socialist, saw this as a sign of approval, while nature loving and progressive voters took it as a stronger endorsement of their preferred candidate.
The next day, Sanders won overwhelming support in Washington, Alaska and Hawai'i. While Clinton's lead still seemed insurmountable, the tide had changed in the Democratic Party.
During the ensuring weeks, Sanders continued to rack up large wins, constantly gaining on Clinton in the committed delegate count.
Meanwhile, a coalition of Republicans fought a losing battle to prevent the nomination of Trump. Many prominent Republican Party leaders came out in strong opposition to the candidate who was consistently racking up the largest count of committed delegates for their party.
Eyes from around the world were on Cleveland, Ohio when the Republican National Convention convened. Since no candidate had a majority of committed delegates, there was extensive talk of a brokered convention that would nominate someone other than Trump. Following the first vote, when all delegates are required to vote for their pledged candidate, some hope for a compromised seemed to appear when a group of Trump delegates announced their defection in support of drafting Jeb Bush, the brother of former President George W. Bush and the son of former President George H.W. Bush, even though he had dropped out of contention. Other delegates seemed likely to coalesce around the nomination of Senator Ted Cruz, to potentially give him the majority. However tensions were high among the various factions.
On the third day of the convention the nation watched in stunned disbelief as riot police surrounded one of the convention hotels following reports of gunfire. Camera crews captured images of armed men in the hotel engaged in an ongoing battle, firing at each other in the halls as unarmed people fled the building. We later learned that the armed men were in fact delegates to the convention for both Trump and Cruz who had brought their firearms as a show of support for the 2nd Amendment. While Cruz condemned the actions of a few misguided individuals, Trump promised to pay the medical and legal expenses for all of the combatants who "stood up for their rights as Americans".
The chaos at the hotel, followed by continued refusals to compromise by any of the candidates, broke down reasonable discourse and led to suspension of the convention. With the convention suspended indefinitely, delegates began leaving Cleveland without having completed their sole job of nominating Republican candidates for President and Vice-President. Delegates who remained in Cleveland began to demand that the convention reconvene, even with dwindled numbers, to complete their task, however the leadership of the Republican National Committee, fearing a Trump nomination would result, refused to reconvene the convention.
As a result of the collapsed convention, the Republican National Committee was empowered to pick their nominees for President and Vice-President.
The following week, on the heels of the collapse of the Republican Convention and before the Republican National Committee had selected their nominees, the Democratic Convention was held in Philadelphia. Once again, all eyes were on a divided convention as neither candidate had locked up the majority of delegates in advance. The so called "Super Delegates", individuals who were delegates because of their elected and Party positions, were seen as the deciding factor, widely expected to swing the nomination to Clinton. Many expected a raucous convention fight as Sanders delegates refused to give in, but on the first night of the convention rumors began circulating that Sanders and Clinton had struck a deal.
The next day, Clinton issued a call for her delegates to unite behind nominating Bernie Sanders for President, and Sanders announced his selection of Hillary Clinton to be his Vice-Presidential running mate. The City of Brotherly Love demonstrated the polar opposite of the prior week's Republican Convention in Cleveland, as delegates embraced each other in celebration of their united party.
The Republican National Committee was unable to agree on a Presidential and Vice-Presidential ticket, resulting in the names of various candidates appearing on ballots in several states, and some states having no Republican candidates for President or Vice-President on the ballot.
Following the complete collapse of the Republican Party, the victory of the Democratic Party in November was inevitable. With a unified party, Democrats gained majorities in both the US Senate and House of Representatives, as well as making substantial gains in Governorships and state legislatures. Over the course of the next few election cycles, the Republican Party saw a steady decline in voter participation eventually losing major party status, fist in Oregon where the Independent Party and Progressive Party gained strength, followed by Washington and other states.
The following 24 years of Democratic administrations, Presidents Sanders, Clinton and Merkley spurred on what many call the Second New Deal Era. The United States adopted universal health care, universal public education through college, an expansion of individual's civil rights, and transition from a massively military economy to a civic infrastructure economy. An era of "Fair Trade" and growth of the middle class has led to unparalleled economic expansion, while substantially reducing damage to the environment.
The success of the American model is why Mexico, in a national referendum ten years ago voted to petition for admission as a group of states to the United States, and why today, we are in Mexico City to report on the first Presidential Primary election for US President conducted in the new state of Central Mexico on this American Finch Day.