No matter what anybody says about the two parties being “no different”: they are. The GOP doesn’t care how deep in the mud they have to get to win. Race-baiting ads and dog-whistle code words have been standard practice since David Gergen and Roger Ailes kicked off Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Reagan had his Welfare Queen and Strapping Young Buck, GHW Bush had Willie Horton. The list goes on and on. (McCain and Romney were arguably more principled — and lost. The lesson for the GOP wasn’t, “Improve your product.” It was, “Whatever it takes.”)
The difference between the parties comes down to two things, I believe:
- Democrats want to win on the merits; Republicans want to win.
- Democrats want to govern; Republicans want to rule.
The second point shows why the first is so important. We ignore the difference between “govern” and “rule” at our peril.