Tony Campolo’s “Can Dems Be Christian?” avoids the principal reason as to why people join one party or another. Christians, as believers in Jesus Christ of whatever church or denomination, do not align with any party on the basis of belief. Indeed, the effort to make a Christian party out of the Republicans is futile when we see the results in Congress. Republicans serve the interests of their financial backers, as do the Democrats. The average politician is a slug, a non-entity.
If we look at American political history since 1865, one thing becomes apparent. The cities and their suburbs were inundated by immigrants beginning with the Great Immigration of 1880-1924 and continuing to the present day.
The Democrats moved quickly to seize the allegiance of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. The Republicans had little use for the newcomers. An Italian boy looking for work in one of the great cities would gravitate toward a Democratic alderman’s office, A Jew from Poland would do likewise. From 1880 to 1945 the Democrats seized the white ethnic European vote in all of our Eastern and Midwestern cities.
After 1945, the Democrats saw their opportunity. They concentrated on grabbing the allegiance of black, Latino, and female voters by creating a special agenda for them. The Democrats cynically manipulated these voters and do so even today. Thus they created a huge coalition consisting of labor unions, white ethnic Europeans, blacks, feminists, Latinos, and other groups the Republicans did not want. In fact, Republicans hated many of these groups and still do!
Only one man could smash the hold of the Democrats on all of these groups – Ronald Reagan. A workingman’s son born into a low-income family, a man of the common people, Ronald Reagan could talk with – and to – hard hats, Jews, Italians, blacks, Latinos, and everybody else and make them proud to be Americans.
The present Republican party has no one to match Reagan’s power over the common people. There is not one Republican who can make people respond to the idea: I am an American, and feel good about it. There is not one Republican leader who has an ounce of “America first” in him. Until the Republican party rids itself of Gingrich, Lott, the Rockefellers, Pete Wilson, the Bushes, and everything they represent, it will go down to defeat. Where can we find another Ronald Reagan? We need to search for him in the lower levels of society and bring him forth. America wants a new leader who will make everyone aspire to pride in being an American as Reagan did.
The secret to supreme power is in the aspirations and dreams of the average working-class American guy, not in country-club Republicans. Bring forth this leader who will restore America to be the Puritan shining “City upon a Hill” and power and victory are yours. Wake up, Republicans. If you do not, 1998 and 2000 will see more left-wing victories throughout the country.
Michael Suozzi of La Mesa is a historian and a political independent.