Hot Posts


A few thoughts on the uniparty conspiracy

If you’ve paid close attention to the recent rhetoric of certain Republican lawmakers like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Senator Mike Lee (Utah), you might be concerned about a demonic, omnipotent cabal of politicians who have taken over Washington, D.C.: the “uniparty.” According to Greene, it was the “uniparty” that spoiled her effort to remove Mike Johnson from the speakership. And Lee blames the “uniparty” for the $95 billion defense-aid bill recently signed into law. Lee alleges that the “uniparty” has now captured such a dominant role in our politics that it needs its own symbol. Indeed, he recently revealed on X that he had designated the “Uniparty Unicorn” to serve that role “after considerable reflection.”

Is it true that our two-party system has entirely collapsed into a single blob of elites from both parties who are opposed to the interests of true conservatives? For a sensible observer, a few seconds of thought reveals the answer to be no. Large, irreconcilable differences remain between Republicans and Democrats on such issues as immigration, environmental policy, guns, taxes, religious liberty, the role of the courts, and the politicization of government agencies. That is not to say there are no areas in which both parties are complicit in bad policy. They have both presided over years of ballooning budgets and skyrocketing deficits, and have refused to address the entitlement spending at the root of our fiscal crisis.

But “uniparty” conspiracists like Greene and Lee distort the reality that Democrats and Republicans agree on some bad things into the manifest untruth that they agree on everything. In doing so, they falsely message to conservative voters that there is no reason to elect Republicans over Democrats at all, reducing conservative turnout and increasing the chances of actual single-party rule — by the Democrats.

It is particularly foolish to rage against an anti-conservative “uniparty” when Republicans hold a tiny House majority and control neither the Senate nor the White House. Clearly there isn’t going to be a mass implementation of doctrinaire conservative policy in such a situation. To suggest otherwise is at best deeply unserious and at worst threatening to the actual policy goals conservatives can hope to achieve. That’s to be expected from Republican politicians like Greene, who are primarily concerned with generating controversy and don’t actually care about public policy. But conservative commentators should know better.

Yet some do not seem to. In a recent op-ed titled “The Tyranny of the Uniparty,” Josh Hammer notes that, especially in a presidential-election year, it is important to ask “whether the Republican Party, its protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, is itself institutionally part of the American ruling class.” For Hammer, the answer is an obvious yes.

His assessment contains tidbits of truth. He correctly notes that both parties are “spending like drunken sailors and selling out future generations of American taxpayers.” But it is nonetheless self-refuting. For one, he acknowledges major differences in the attitudes of our two major parties towards illegal immigration and the border.

But most perplexing is his assertion that the Republican Party ought to abandon the “free trade absolutists at The Wall Street Journal editorial board” for a more “populist” economic outlook. One can agree or disagree with this proposal. Adopting it, however, would shrink the distance between Republicans and Democrats on these matters, not expand it. Hammer asserts that Democrats have “abandoned the working class for the abstract dictates of neoliberal ideology.” That would be news to Joe Biden, who just this week announced tariff hikes on Chinese imports (and has kept Trump-era tariffs in place). True defiance of the uniparty, then, would have one avoid protective tariffs of the type enforced by both Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

In this case and in others, conservatives’ use of the term “uniparty” mirrors leftists’ use of such epithets as “fascism” and “threats to democracy.” All of these terms assume the practical definition of “everything that I personally dislike.”

The uniparty theory also suffers from its cluelessness in how to handle Donald Trump. By any measure, Trump is synonymous with today’s Republican Party. His daughter-in-law is the co-chair of the RNC. Aspiring and incumbent Republican politicians alike seek his endorsement. That means one of the following assertions must be true: Either Trump is a leading member of the uniparty, or the uniparty doesn’t exist. If the former, Trump ought to be disposed of immediately. If the latter, we should all stop fighting the uniparty, in his name or anyone’s.

None of this should prevent or discredit serious criticism of the GOP for its failure to represent the conservative outlook on a variety of policy issues. William F. Buckley justifiably wrote that “the most alarming single danger to the American political system lies in the fact that an identifiable team of Fabian operators is bent on controlling both our major political parties.” But it is no longer 1955. Nothing suggests the existence of a monolithic “uniparty” in 2024. Democrats have since moved far to the left, and Republicans, at least in some areas, to the right.

Today, those who trot out their opposition to the “uniparty” at every turn fail to distinguish between the bad policies of the Democrats and the unideal but still better policies of the GOP. In doing so, they make a forceful case against voting for Republicans, and in turn tacitly endorse the total Democratic rule one suspects they oppose.

Post a Comment