In a new post at Forbes I explore the possibility, hinted at in a previous GOPLifer piece, that centrists in both parties could create something remarkable in the new Congress. With one party holding the slimmest of majorities, we could see an opening for real parliamentary politics for the first time.
The rising Trumpnami has placed the Republicans’ once-formidable Congressional majority in jeopardy. This raises a very interesting possibility. Right now, the most plausible projections involve Paul Ryan retaining his Congressional majority, but by only a few seats. If Democrats win a majority, they can only hope to hold the tiniest of margins. Congress is about to be presented with a monumental opportunity to transform our political system for the better.
In the coming Congress, a surviving remnant of relatively rational Republicans like Mia Love, John Katko and Barbara Comstock will be handed remarkable power. They will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to crack open our two-party monolith by forming a parliamentary coalition with centrist Democrats. Congressmen like John Katko could potentially hand the Speaker’s gavel to a Democrat, opening the door to a new era of multi-party, or rather “sub-party” politics in America.
If this occurs, there is a real possibility that partisan “sub-labels,” like the Freedom Caucus, Progressive Democrats, and so on, could become a very important part of Congressional primary races. In so doing, we could usher in an era of intra-party political competition that would look very much like multi-party politics. As the parties at the national level weaken, this could offer a chance for reform that would retain some coherence in the existing parties while opening up much broader representation. And it is a real possibility if Congressmen recognize it and have the courage to act.