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Oh, how far Republican Party has drifted from its formation

  • Published in Letters

To The Daily Sun,

In 1854, members of the Whig Party and Free State Democrats got together and formed the Republican Party. They believed in stopping the spread of slavery in the new territories but their leaders were just as committed to expanding the industrial might of the nation by moving from an agricultural economy. They recognized that the Industrial Revolution had brought more prosperity to Western Europe than the United States. "Railroad Republicans," as they were called, believed that the government should take a major role in expanding business activity by promoting infrastructure projects. Unlike European nations, we had no national railroad network that connected the far-flung parts of our nation.

A large part of the problem was political. Southerners were against the establishment of an intercontinental railroad, citing that bringing more passengers and commerce to the territories would speed the establishment of new states and the political power of the South would be diluted. Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860 on a platform to build an intercontinental railroad, as well as expanding the industrial potential of the U.S.

When the Southern Democratic states seceded, five months after his election, resistance to the Republican platform evaporated and the Lincoln Administration began to make its industrial plans a reality. The Southerners in Congress could no longer stand in his way. They had formed the Confederacy, a loosely held nation of seven sovereign states that would later be joined by six other states in the Great Civil War.

I bring up this little snippet of history to illustrate how far today's Republican Party has come from its formation. The philosophy that the GOP stood for under Lincoln has been transferred to the modern Democratic Party. Maintaining financial institutions, establishing high-speed rail, helping bankrupt car companies, building airports, and helping to establish electric battery and solar panel companies, to name a few areas, are now the province of the Democratic Party. The Republicans and their Tea Party cohorts have shown no interest in expanding or even maintaining the nation's business infrastructure. A majority of Republicans even voted to let the nation's banks and financial institutions implode in 2008 and the nation default on its debts in the recent vote in October, 2013. In both cases, if the Democrats had voted with the Republicans, the nation would have suffered a monumental, financial disaster. I have no idea why a clear-eyed business person or any voter could reward today's Republicans for their harmful and basically, unpatriotic actions.

People who look at these actions objectively, have to ask themselves: "Why would the GOP take this bizarre course? Is it possible they have made the decision to sabotage President Obama, and in effect, the entire nation's prosperity so the voters will turn to them in the next election? This suicidal strategy didn't work in 2012. Is it possible they'll try again in 2016?

Nick Vazzana