Brent Budowsky: A GOP one-party state?

Brent Budowsky: A GOP one-party state?
© Getty Images

If the Republican nominee for president is elected in 2016 — even by one vote — America will become an effective one-party state with the GOP controlling the presidency, the House, the Senate and the Supreme Court.

I warn my fellow liberals who casually discuss a challenge to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonConservatives pound BuzzFeed, media over Cohen report BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president Trump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier MORE from the left, a challenge I oppose, despite my strong agreement with their views and aspirations.


The mortal threat to American liberalism is not in electing a Democratic president we agree with 90 percent of the time, who would nominate Supreme Court justices we agree with 100 percent of the time and would help elect more Democrats to the House and Senate. The mortal threat to American liberalism is in putting the legislative and executive branches of government under the unrestrained power of a Republican Party in the grip of intolerant and extremist factions, and imposing a partisan conservative Republican Supreme Court majority that would set back American justice for a generation.

Clinton is well within the mainstream of progressive thought. She is by far the most electable Democrat. In the unlikely event that Clinton does not run, I would strongly support Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryGraham criticizes Trump canceling Pelosi trip as 'inappropriate’ Howard Dean to CNN: All Dem candidates qualified to be president except Tulsi Gabbard Not your ‘grandfather’s’ campaign: 2020 Dems look to stand out in crowded race MORE for the Democratic nomination, because he is vastly experienced on foreign and domestic matters, and battle-hardened in the crucible of presidential politics.

America is a 50-50 nation with public support equally divided between the parties. The problem for Democrats is that we lost so many House and Senate seats in the 2010 and 2014 elections, if the Republican presidential nominee wins by even one vote in 2016, the result would be a winner-take-all outcome that would create a one-party state of Republican control in Washington.

By contrast, if the 2016 election is won by a Democrat, presumably Hillary Clinton, she could lock in a liberal Supreme Court majority but would have to be elected by a significant margin to restore Democratic control of Congress.

I would note that the only people who want Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Democrats barnstorm the country for MLK weekend Kamala Harris picks Baltimore as headquarters for potential 2020 campaign: report Dem voters split on importance of women atop the ticket in 2020 MORE (D-Mass.) to run for president more than some Democratic liberals are Republican partisans and conservatives. They fear Clinton, who could win a substantial victory in 2016, according to polling. Republicans believe Clinton is the only Democrat standing between them and the one-party GOP state I warn about here. They desperately want Clinton to be bloodied up by Warren in bitterly divisive Democratic primaries.

At the same time, I have serious concerns about the putative Clinton campaign, which is top-heavy with consultants who are already feuding with one another for the financial spoils from Clinton money, and short on motivating messages to inspire grassroots Democrats and aggressive party building that requires more than being “ready” for any one person.

The Republican right has substantial infrastructure advantages that Clinton and Democrats must urgently address. The one-party syndrome infects numerous campaign battlefields that are necessary for Democrats to win elections.

The Koch brothers are going all out to win and plan to spend nearly a billion dollars in 2016. Democrats complain about the Kochs, but what they need and lack is someone such as Warren Buffett to match them.

Despite a large base of liberals and Democrats, conservatives and Republicans dominate talk radio and cable news. Conservative radio has a virtual monopoly, after Air America went under and many liberal hosts were taken off the air. The partisan Republican Fox News slaughters MSNBC, whose ratings tank, while it begins every morning with a host who regularly insults “stupid liberals.”

Conservative Matt Drudge dominates news management like a Goliath, exercising unprecedented power to influence what is covered by television, newspapers, radio and the Internet.

The danger of one-party Republican rule in Washington is real and immediate. Liberals should spend less time planning to run against Clinton, and Clinton should spend more time inspiring Democrats and building a national party that is more than a consultant-driven, one-person movement.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Contributors Blog and reached at