Is the GOP Staring at Another 1930?

Is the GOP Staring at Another 1930

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After the victory of Donald Trump in 2016, the GOP held the Senate and House, two-thirds of the governorships, and 1,000 more state legislators than they had on the day Barack Obama took office.

“The Republican Party has not been this dominant in 90 years,” went the exultant claim.

A year later, Republicans lost the governorship of Virginia and almost lost the legislature.

Came then the loss of a U.S. Senate seat in ruby-red Alabama.

Tuesday, Democrats captured a House seat in a Pennsylvania district Trump carried by 20 points, and where Democrats had not even fielded a candidate in 2014 and 2016.

Republicans lately congratulating themselves on a dominance not seen since 1928, might revisit what happened to the Class of 1928.

In 1930, Republicans lost 52 House seats, portending the loss of both houses of Congress and the White House in 1932 to FDR who would go on to win four straight terms. For the GOP, the ’30s were the dreadful decade.

Is the GOP staring at another 1930?

Perhaps.

Unlike 1930, though, the nation has not endured a Great Crash or gone through year one of a Great Depression where unemployment hit 10 percent in June, when the Smoot-Hawley tariff was passed.

Today, the economy is moving along smartly. The labor force is larger than it has ever been. Workers are re-entering and seeking jobs. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at record lows. Confidence is high. Our Great Recession is 10 years in the past.

The problem for Republicans may be found in a truism: When the economy is poor, the economy is the issue. When the economy is good, something else is the issue.

A good economy did not save the GOP in the 18th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, where the party’s tax cut was derided by Democrat Conor Lamb as a wealth transfer to the rich. Nor did Lamb hurt himself by implying Republicans were planning to pay for their tax cut by robbing Social Security and Medicare.

Republican candidate Rick Saccone reportedly stopped using the tax cut as his major issue in his TV ads that ran closest to Election Day.

Other factors point to a bad day for the GOP on Nov. 6.

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Republican retirees from Congress far outnumber Democratic retirees.

Democratic turnout has been reaching record highs, while GOP turnout has been normal. And even in the special elections Democrats have lost, they are outperforming the Democrats who lost in 2016.

Relying upon hostility to Trump to bring out the resistance, savvy Democrats are taking on the political coloration of their districts and states, rather than of the national party of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.

There is, however, troubling news from Pennsylvania for Nancy Pelosi.

Lamb promised voters of “Deerhunter” country he would not support San Francisco Nancy for speaker. Look for Democrats in districts Trump carried to begin talking of the “need for new leaders.”

Trump seems fated to be the primary target of attack this fall, and not only in districts Clinton carried. For an average of national polls shows that disapproval of his presidency is 14 points higher than his approval rating. And this is when the economy is turning up good numbers not seen in this century.

At the national level, Democrats will turn 2018 into a referendum on the Trump persona and Trump presidency. For while the Trump base is loyal and solid, the anti-Trump base is equally so, and appreciably larger.

Lest we forget, Hillary Clinton, not the most charismatic candidate the Democrats have put up in decades, beat Trump by nearly 3 million votes. And while Trump pierced the famous “blue wall” — the 18 states that voted Democratic in every presidential election between 1992 and 2012 — the demographic trend that created the wall is still working.

White voters, who tend to vote Republican, continue to decline as a share of the population. Peoples of color, who vote 70 to 90 percent Democratic in presidential elections, are now nearly 40 percent of the nation.

Mass migration into America is re-enforcing that trend.

Moreover, millennials, who have many elections ahead of them, are more liberal than seniors, who have fewer elections ahead and are the GOP base.

But if Republicans face problems of demography, the party of “tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect” appears to be reaching the end of its tether. Federal deficits are rising toward trillion-dollar levels.

The five largest items in the budget — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, interest on the debt — are rising inexorably. And there appears no disposition in either party to cut back on spending for education, college loans, food stamps, housing assistance or infrastructure.

If the Fed did not retain the power to control the money supply, then the fate of New Jersey and Illinois, and beyond, of Greece and Argentina, would become our national destiny.

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Trump or Ryan: Who Speaks for GOP?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“No modern precedent exists for the revival of a party so badly defeated, so intensely discredited, and so essentially split as the Republican Party is today.”

Taken from “The Party That Lost Its Head” by Bruce Chapman and George Gilder, this excerpt, about Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964, led Thursday’s column by E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post.

Dionne is warning what could happen if the GOP perpetrates the political atrocity of nominating Donald Trump.

For weeks now, the Post’s editorial page has sermonized about the “moral” obligation of all righteous Republicans to repudiate Trump.

The Post’s solicitude for the well-being of the Republican Party is the stuff of legend. Yet it is a bit jarring to see these champions of abortion on demand, same-sex marriage, and visitation rights for cross-dressers in the girls’ room, standing in a pulpit lecturing on morality.

Yet, there was something off about that Chapman-Gilder quote.

First, both were members of the Harvard-based, Rockefeller-backed, liberal Ripon Society. Second, their prognosis of the party’s future proved to be spectacularly wrong.

The year, 1966, their book on the headless GOP appeared, to press hosannas, Richard Nixon led the party to its greatest off-year victory since 1946, adding 47 new seats in the House.

Two years later, Nixon won the presidency, inaugurating an era in which Republicans won five out of six presidential contests, two by 49-state landslides.

Out of Goldwater’s defeat came the New Majority and Reagan Revolution. And Chapman and Gilder moved rightward to serve with distinction in that revolution.

The prodigal sons were welcomed home, and Gilder would recant:

“The far Right — the same men I dismissed as extremists in my youth — turned out to know far more than I did. At least the ‘right-wing extremists,’ as I confidently called them, were right on almost every major policy issue from welfare to Vietnam to Keynesian economics and defense…”

While the Goldwater campaign, as an insurgency of outsiders, bears comparison with Trump’s, in other ways it does not.

Goldwater never compiled anything near the vote that Trump did. At this point in 1964, Goldwater was behind Johnson 79-18 in the Gallup poll. Trump is behind Hillary Clinton by single digits. New polls have him running even in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Now, consider the issues comparison with 1964.

In July 1964, Johnson signed the popular Civil Rights Act that Goldwater had opposed. The GOP Convention in San Francisco revealed a deeply divided party, subject to the charge, validated by the rule-or-ruin Rockefeller-Romney faction, that it was receptive to right-wing radicals.

Lyndon Johnson’s decision to bomb North Vietnam after the Gulf of Tonkin incident made him a war leader, and Americans rally to presidents in a time of war.

In 2016, however, Trump holds a fistful of face cards. After eight years of President Obama, he is the candidate of change in 2016, and Clinton is the candidate of same.

Trump may bring more excitement than some folks can handle.

But Clinton has become a crashing bore, until she gets agitated, and then the voice rises to where she sounds like the siren on the hook-and-ladder in “Chicago Fire.”

Other than that she would be the first woman president, what is there about her agenda that has popular appeal? That lack of appeal explains why her crowds are a fraction of Bernie Sanders’.

The Clinton of 2016 is not the Clinton of 2008.

As for the issues dividing Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump appears to have won the argument, if the debate is decided by voter preferences rather than Beltway preferences.

Trump’s denunciation of NAFTA and other “free-trade” deals Ryan supports is echoed by Sanders, who opposed those deals when they were up for a vote. Hillary Clinton no longer rhapsodizes over husband Bill’s NAFTA, and signals she will not support Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership in a lame-duck session.

Ryan professes to be a man of principle. Why does he not then stand by his principles, as Goldwater did, and bring up TPP for a vote?

Is Paul Ryan’s “immigration reform” package as popular inside his party as Trump’s tough line? It would seem not. The longer the primaries went on, the closer the other GOP candidates moved toward Trump. And if Ryan believes in it on principle, why not bring it up?

Ryan voted for the Iraq War that Trump calls a disaster. The people seem now to agree with Trump that the war was misconceived.

Thursday’s Post reported that, five years ago, Ryan stood on the House floor to declare, “This is our defining moment.”

And what was Ryan’s defining moment?

“On that day in 2011,” said the Post, “the House’s new GOP majority approved Ryan’s budget plan — which …called for cuts in a government program that voters knew and loved: Medicare.

“Ryan … wanted eventually to turn the massive health-benefit program over to private insurers.”

Come to think of it, Barry Goldwater wanted to turn Social Security over to private enterprise. How did that one work out?

The Coming Age of Austerity

The Coming Age of Austerity

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Are the good times really over for good?” asked Merle Haggard in his 1982 lament.

Then, the good times weren’t over. In fact, they were coming back, with the Reagan recovery, the renewal of the American spirit and the end of a Cold War that had consumed so much of our lives.

Yet whoever wins today, it is hard to be sanguine about the future.

The demographic and economic realities do not permit it.

Consider. Between 1946 and 1964, 79 million babies were born — the largest, best-educated and most successful generation in our history. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both born in 1946, were in that first class of baby boomers.

The problem.

Assume that 75 million of these 79 million boomers survive to age 66. This means that from this year through 2030, an average of nearly 4 million boomers will be retiring every year. This translates into some 11,000 boomers becoming eligible for Medicare and Social Security every single day for the next 18 years.

Add in immigrants in that same age category and the fact that baby boomers live longer than the Greatest Generation or Silent Generation seniors, and you have an immense and unavoidable increase coming in expenditures for our largest entitlement programs.

Benefits will have to be curbed or cut and payroll taxes will have to rise, especially for Medicare, to make good on our promises to seniors.

As for the rest of our federal budget of nearly $4 trillion, we have run four consecutive deficits of over $1 trillion. To bring that budget to balance, freezes would have to be imposed and cuts made in spending for defense and other social programs.

From California to Wisconsin to New York, we see the process at work at the state level. Government salaries are frozen, government payrolls are cut, government pensions and programs are scaled back.

California and Illinois are on the precipice of default. Cities like Detroit, Birmingham, Stockton and San Bernardino are already there.

As for national defense, how long can we afford to spend more than the 10 other top nations combined? How long can we continue to defend scores of nations half a world away? How many more trillion-dollar wars like Iraq and Afghanistan can we fight on borrowed money?

Moreover, the day of the great national enterprises is over.

FDR had his New Deal and World War II, Ike his federal highway system, Kennedy his space program, LBJ his Great Society, Reagan his military buildup and tax cuts, Bush his two wars and tax cuts, Obama his Obamacare.

But there is nothing left in the till to do big things. One sees only deficits and debt all the way to the horizon.

Europe has arrived at where we are headed. In the south of the old continent — Spain, Italy and Greece — the new austerity has begun to imperil the social order. In the north, the disposition to be taxed to pay for other nations’ social safety nets is disappearing.

With government in the U.S. at all levels consuming 40 percent of gross domestic product, and taxes 30 percent, taxes will have to rise and government spending be controlled or cut. The alternative is to destroy the debt by depreciating the dollars in which it is denominated — i.e., by Fed-induced inflation.

But you can only rob your creditors once. After that, they never trust you again.

There is another social development rarely discussed.

The workers who are replacing retiring baby boomers in the labor force are increasingly minorities.

Black folks and Hispanics alone account now for 30 percent of the population — and rising rapidly.

Yet these two minorities have high school dropout rates of up to 50 percent in many cities, and many who do graduate have math, reading and science scores at seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade levels.

Can their contributions to an advanced economy be as great as were those of baby boomers of the ’60s and ’70s, whose SAT scores were among the highest we ever recorded? U.S. scores in global competition have been plummeting toward Third World levels.

Everyone talks about how we are going to raise test scores. But, despite record and rising investments in education per student, no one in decades has found a way to do this consistently.

Moreover, while boomers were almost all born into families where mother and father were married and living together, Hispanics have a 53 percent illegitimacy rate, African-Americans a 73 percent rate.

Among the white poor and working class, the illegitimacy rate is now 40 percent — almost twice as high as it was in black America when Pat Moynihan wrote his 1965 report on the crisis of the black family.

And between the illegitimacy rate and the drug-use rate, dropout rate, crime rate and incarceration rate, the correlation is absolute.

Some of us are often accused of always “crying wolf.”

But it is worth noting that one day the wolf came.

The Republicans — After Dunkirk

Cash Advance

By Patrick J. Buchanan

At the Potsdam conference with Harry Truman and Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill learned that the voters of the nation he had led for five years through World War II had just voted to throw him out of office.

“It may well be a blessing in disguise,” said his wife Clementine.

“At the moment, it seems quite effectively disguised,” replied Churchill.

Republicans must feel that way today. For they have survived their own Dunkirk. They may have left their helmets, canteens and rifles behind, but they did finally get off the beach.

That Republicans suffered a rout, as the British did with the fall of France and evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940, is undeniable.

The party that blocked tax increases since George H.W. Bush agreed to raise Ronald Reagan’s top rate of 28 percent to 35 percent, thus repudiating his “no-new-taxes” pledge, just signed on to one of the largest tax increases in history.

Payroll taxes on working Americans will rise by a third, from 4.2 percent of wages and salaries to 6.2 percent. For couples earning $450,000, the tax rate rises from 15 to 20 percent on dividends and capital gains, and from 35 to 39.6 percent on ordinary income. The death tax will rise from 35 to 40 percent on estates over $5 million.

Obamacare will push those rates up further. And now we learn the bill was stuffed with tax breaks for windmills, NASCAR owners and Hollywood.

Why did Republicans go along?

Had they not, taxes would have risen for everyone. And Obama would have postured as the tax-cutting savior of the middle class by proposing to restore the Bush tax cuts for every couple earning less than $250,000.

What does this bill do to spur growth and create jobs? Nothing.

Even Lord Keynes would have wondered what these Americans were doing raising taxes on a recovering economy.

The GOP defense: We took this rotten deal to prevent a worse one.

And what, if any, is the “blessing in disguise”?

Obama has no more leverage. The Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent are now permanent. To block further tax hikes, all the House need do, from now to 2017, is stand united and just say no.

Obama is thus almost certainly staring at four more trillion-dollar deficits to match the last four, and he has no leverage to force Republicans to provide him with new revenue.

The president threatens that before he signs on to new spending cuts, Republicans will have to “make the rich pay their fair share.”

The GOP response should be: We will work with you on spending cuts, but there will be no more tax increases. If higher taxes are a condition you impose for spending cuts, there will be no spending cuts.

But, Mr. President, you will be in the driver’s seat when we go over the cliff into bankruptcy. You will be your party’s Herbert Hoover.

John Boehner and the Republicans got their clocks cleaned in these negotiations because they believed the president was dealing in good faith.

But the ideology and the interests of the Democratic Party dictate not only preserving federal programs, but expanding the numbers of beneficiaries, already near 100 million.

For the larger the number of beneficiaries, the larger the bloc of voters for the party of government and the greater the opposition to any who would dare to cut government.

The question for Republicans is what they do now, besides say no to new taxes.

Most Democrats are not going to agree to freeze or cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, federal aid to education, Head Start, Pell Grants, housing subsidies, welfare, earned income tax credits or unemployment checks. These are the party’s pride and joy, the reason the Democratic Party exists.

As we have seen since 2009, Democrats will readily accept trillion-dollar deficits rather than do even minor surgery on their cherished programs.

As for the Republicans, is it wise to propose cuts in Social Security and Medicare, upon which Republican seniors depend, when they know for certain Democrats will reject those cuts and take credit for doing so?

Will Republicans recommend cuts in defense and foreign aid and a rollback of the U.S. military presence in Europe, the Far East and Persian Gulf? Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham already want to know why we are not intervening in Syria. Soon, some Republicans will be beating the drums for strikes on Iran.

Republicans Chris Christie and Peter King already want to know why Congress has not forked over $60 billion to repair the damage done to New Jersey and New York by Hurricane Sandy.

With the GOP splintering, with Democrats running the Senate and White House, conservatives must realize: They cannot make policy.

Let the Democrats take the lead, drive the car, propose the tax hikes, refuse to make the spending cuts and answer for where we are in 2016, because, right now, it looks as though we are headed for an even bigger cliff.

For the next two years, the best offense may be a good defense.

Why God Created the GOP

God GOP

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“God put the Republican Party on earth to cut taxes. If they don’t do that, they have no useful function.”

Columnist Robert Novak was speaking of the party that embraced the revolution of Ronald Reagan, who had hung a portrait of Calvin Coolidge in his Cabinet Room and set about cutting income tax rates to 28 percent.

But, to be historically precise, the GOP was not put here to cut taxes. From infancy in the 1850s, its mission was to halt the spread of slavery. From 1865 to 1929, it was the party of high tariffs. Mission: Build the nation and protect U.S. industry and the wages of American workers.

And if the Deity commanded the GOP to cut taxes, the party has had an uneven record. Warren Harding and Coolidge cut Woodrow Wilson’s wartime tax rates by two-thirds, but Herbert Hoover nearly tripled the top rate.

Under Dwight Eisenhower, when the top tax rate was 91 percent, the GOP ratified the New Deal and provided the tax revenue to balance the budget at the elevated levels of spending 20 years of Democratic rule had established.

Richard Nixon followed suit. Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, aid to education, the Peace Corps, the arts and humanities endowments, all of the Great Society programs grew — with Nixon adding OSHA, EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Cancer Institute.

Reagan cut tax rates to 50-year lows, but also accepted new gasoline and payroll taxes. George H.W. Bush then raised the top rate back to 35 percent.

George W. cut tax rates, but put two wars, prescription drug benefits for seniors and No Child Left Behind on the Visa card. Speaker Boehner is about to sign on to higher tax rates.

Point of this recitation: Republicans may talk of reducing the size of government, cutting taxes and balancing budgets. But the history of the last century suggests the party has been driven into what may be described as an inexorable long retreat.

When Coolidge left the White House to “Wonder Boy,” as he called Hoover, federal spending was 3 percent of gross national product.

Today, it is around 23 percent. Add state, county and municipal government spending, and we are at 38 percent. Anyone think this figure is going down in our lifetimes?

Can anyone say the GOP, if it is the party of small government and low taxes, has over the past 80 years been a successful party? Or does the America of today look more like the country Socialist Norman Thomas had in mind in 1932?

How, conceivably, can spending go down when, from 2012 to 2030, 75 million baby boomers will be retiring and going on Social Security and Medicare at a rate of 10,000 every day?

How can spending go down when a million legal immigrants arrive annually, 85 percent from the Third World, and most lacking the academic and linguistic abilities or the work skills of Americans?

These immigrants — and, with “immigration reform,” 11 million to 12 million illegals, as well — will be eligible for welfare, earned income tax credits, food stamps, rent supplements, Medicaid, Head Start, free schooling K-12 with two or three free meals a day at school, Pell Grants and student loans at graduation, job training and unemployment checks for 99 weeks.

Under Bush and Barack Obama both, these programs have exploded. And with 40 percent of all babies now born to single moms in America, does anyone believe these programs will shrink?

When the Great Wave of immigrants came between 1890 and 1920, these programs did not exist. In the 1930s, welfare was seen even by FDR as a temporary necessity to get through the hard times.

Our gargantuan welfare state of today, however, is permanent, as are the millions of government employees who milk and manage it.

Consider our largest government expenditures.

They would be, at the national level, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, homeland security and interest on the debt. At the state and local level, education, transportation — streets, highways, subways — and public safety.

If God put the Republican Party on this earth to cut taxes, how do we do his work in the face of these inexorable forces for increased spending? Do we ignore the surging deficits and soaring debt?

Mitt Romney said cutting tax rates would lead to a balanced budget. But when? The Bush tax cuts never did. His were the largest deficits of all, until the coming of Obama.

If we would see our future, we should look to Europe. There, the governments consume more than 40 percent of GDP and, in countries like France, almost 60 percent.

In Europe, the militaries have been hollowed out. Political parties face repudiation. Taxes in France have hit 75 percent. The wealthy flee. Pension promises are reneged upon. Government salaries are cut; employees laid off. Unemployment is astronomical for the young. The divisions deepen; the protests grow. Now, Europe‘s banks, fearing social unrest, have started to emulate the Fed and buy up regime debt.

Looking at the West over the last century, the arc of history bends toward socialism and insolvency.

Who’s Afraid of the Fiscal Cliff?

Money Fight

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Were the average Republican asked for a succinct statement of his views on taxation, he or she might respond thus:

“U.S. tax rates are too high for the world we must compete in. The tax burden — federal, state, local, together — is too heavy. We need to cut tax rates to free up our private and productive sector and pull this economy out of the ditch.”

This core conviction holds the party together.

Yet today the leadership is about to abandon this conviction to sign on to higher tax rates or revenues, while the economy is nearing stall speed. Yet, two years ago, President Obama himself extended the Bush tax cuts because, he said, you do not raise taxes in a recovering economy.

Why are Republicans negotiating this capitulation?

Because they have been warned that if they do not sign on to a tax hike, they will take us all over a fiscal cliff.

If we go over, Republicans are being told, you will be responsible for tax hikes on all Americans as the Bush tax cuts expire on Jan. 1.

You will be responsible for a surge in tax rates on dividends, interest, capital gains, estates.

You will be responsible for an automatic sequester catastrophic to the national defense.

This is the pistol Obama is pointing at the GOP. This is extortion.

Republicans are being told that they either vote for something they believe to be wrong and ruinous — or get something worse. Pay the ransom, fellas, Obama is demanding, or take the blame for a second recession.

Like the Panama Canal debate that made Ronald Reagan a hero, this is a defining moment. No GOP senator who agreed to the Carter-Torrijos treaty ever made it onto a national ticket.

What are the perils for Republicans who sign on to an Obama deal?

They will sever themselves permanently from much of the base of the party. While their votes may ensure that tax rates or revenues rise, they will have no assurance that the promised spending cuts will ever be made. Even Reagan fell victim to this bait-and-switch.

Then, if the tax hikes slow the economy, Republican collaborators will share the blame. Not only will they have gone back on their word, they will have damaged the recovery. What would be their argument for re-election?

If you believe higher tax rates or tax revenues would be like poisoning an already weak economy, why would you collaborate in administering that poison? Why not just say no?

Having lost the presidency and seats in both houses, Republicans should not partner with a president with whom they disagree on principle.

They should act as the loyal opposition in a parliamentary system whose duty it is to oppose, to offer an alternative agenda and to wait upon the success or failure of the government, as Labor is doing in Britain and the conservatives are doing in France.

What should Speaker John Boehner do?

Tell the president politely that America’s problem is not that we are taxed too little but that we spend too much — and the GOP will not sign on either to tax rate or tax revenue increases. For Republicans believe that would further injure the economy — especially an economy limping along at between 1 and 2 percent growth.

Then Boehner should depart the White House, go back up to the Hill and urge his Republican caucus to do two things.

Pass an extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut and block its automatic rise from 4.2 percent of wages to 6.2 percent. To raise that tax now and scoop off the discretionary income of most of America’s families in this anemic economy makes no sense economically or politically.

The House should then vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for another year, with a pledge to do tax reform — lowering tax rates in return for culling, cutting or capping deductions for the well-to-do in the new year.

Then let Harry Reid work his will. If the Senate votes to let Social Security taxes rise, let Harry and his party explain this to the middle class that gets hammered in January. If the Senate votes to let the Bush tax cuts lapse for those over $200,000, decide in the caucus whether to negotiate — or to go home for Christmas and New Year’s.

As for the automatic sequester that would impose $100 billion in cuts next year, half in defense, do nothing. Let it take effect. The budget has to be cut, and while these cuts are heavy on defense, the depth and mixture can be adjusted in the new year.

If Republicans walk away from tax negotiations with the White House, market investors, anticipating a sharp rise in tax rates on dividends, interest and capital gains next year, will start dumping stocks, bonds and investments to take advantage of the last year of lower taxes.

The market may tank. Let the party of high taxes explain it.

Romney for President

Mitt Romney

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

So wrote John Jay in Federalist No. 2, wherein he describes Americans as a “band of brethren united to each other by the strongest ties.”

That “band of brethren united” no longer exists.

No longer are we “descended from the same ancestors.”

Indeed, as we are daily instructed, it is our “diversity” — our citizens can trace their ancestors to every member state of the United Nations — that “is our strength.” And this diversity makes us a stronger, better country than the America of Eisenhower and JFK.

No longer do we speak the same language. To tens of millions, Spanish is their language. Millions more do not use English in their homes. Nor are their children taught in English in the schools.

As for “professing the same religion,” the Christianity of Jay and the Founding Fathers has been purged from all public institutions. One in 5 Americans profess no religious faith. The mainline Protestant churches — the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian — have been losing congregants for a half-century. Secularism is the religion of the elites. It alone is promulgated in public schools.

Are we attached to “the same principles of government”?

Half the nation believes it is the duty of government to feed, house, educate and medicate the population and endlessly extract from the well-to-do whatever is required to make everybody more equal.

Egalitarianism has triumphed over freedom. Hierarchy, the natural concomitant of freedom, is seen as undemocratic.

Are we similar “in our manners and customs”? Are we agreed upon what is good or even tolerable in music, literature, art?

Do we all seek to live by the same moral code? Abortion, a felony in the 1950s, is now a constitutional right. Homosexual marriage, an absurdity not long ago, is the civil rights cause du jour.

Dissent from the intolerant new orthodoxy and you are a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, an enemy of women’s rights.

Recent wars — Vietnam, Iraq — have seen us not “fighting side by side” but fighting side against side.

Racially, morally, politically, culturally, socially, the America of Jay and the Federalist Papers is ancient history. Less and less do we have in common. And to listen to cable TV is to realize that Americans do not even like one another. If America did not exist as a nation, would these 50 disparate states surrender their sovereignty and independence to enter such a union as the United States of 2012?

Nor are we unique in sensing that we are no longer one. Scotland, Catalonia and Flanders maneuver to break free of the nations that contain their peoples. All over the world, peoples are disaggregating along the lines of creed, culture, tribe and faith.

What has this to do with the election of 2012? Everything.

For if America is to endure as a nation, her peoples are going to need the freedom to live differently and the space to live apart, according to their irreconcilable beliefs. Yet should Barack Obama win, the centralization of power and control will continue beyond the point of no return.

His replacement of any retiring Supreme Court justice with another judicial activist — a Sonia Sotomayor, an Elena Kagan — would negate a half-century of conservative labors and mean that abortion on demand — like slavery, a moral abomination to scores of millions — is forever law in all 50 states.

President Obama speaks now of a budget deal in which Democrats agree to $2.50 in spending cuts if the Republicans agree to $1 in tax increases. But given the character of his party — for whom Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, Head Start, earned income tax credits and Pell Grants are holy icons — any deal Obama cuts with Republicans in return for higher taxes will be like the deal Ronald Reagan eternally regretted.

The tax hikes become permanent; the budget cuts are never made.

In the first debate, Mitt Romney said that in crafting a budget that consumes a fourth of the economy, he would ask one question: “Is the program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

If a President Romney held to that rule, it would spell an end to any new wars of choice and all foreign aid and grants to global redistributionsts — such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It would entail a review of all U.S. alliances dating back to the Cold War, which have U.S. troops on every continent and in a hundred countries.

Obama offers more of the stalemate America has gone through for the past two years.

Romney alone offers a possibility of hope and change.