FILE - President Donald Trump

“Political parties arrogantly choose our representatives for us. This empowers them to control government, which ultimately empowers government to totally control us.”

– Simian Levy

Considering this is the last year in office for many of our incumbents and elections will be around the corner, it might behoove us to peer into the nation around us and visualize the damage party ideology has done to this country. It’s time to journey into the caverns of the great political divide that has existed since the Al Gore, G.W. Bush vote harvesting misadventure in Florida. It’s a time to reflect upon how party politics has confiscated the intent of our founder’s government, a republican government of we the people.

“Believe it or not, I was the first to say, every vote counts.”

– Al Gore

What did our founders think of political parties? George Washington threw in the towel at the end his second term. He lamented party wrangling “agitated the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, and kindled the animosity of one part against another." Thomas Jefferson swore: "If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." Jefferson and Hamilton had always been at odds, yet Washington yielded the fatal blow himself. In 1793 with foreign policies that alienated most of the electorate, Jefferson resigned his cabinet seat in protest over a political conflict that solidified the power of political parties. In 1801, he was elected president by the party he founded.

“I have no ambition to govern men. It is painful and thankless.”

– Thomas Jefferson

James Madison wrote, “honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom rests on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” He emphasized limits on government were essential “if the United States is to obtain the full praise due to wise and just governments it equally respects the rights of property, and the property in rights.” Although our framers were optimistic, thinking the public would not succumb to party politics, they too fell victim to the policies of politics. And today, we are stuck behind the eight ball where political party control has snatched government from us like a pickpocket during rush hour on a New York City subway. Even Jefferson admitted:

"The natural progress of things is for the government to gain ground and for liberty to yield."

– Thomas Jefferson

People often think of how Henry Ford changed the world we live in today. Ford was the architect of mechanization and ushered in the Industrial Revolution with his innovative creation of machines. Yet, long before Ford, a much more powerful machine had been well oiled and up and running for years; one that had taken control of our country and government – the political party machine. We’ve heard, “what starts in Vegas, ends in Vegas." What a shame that what started in D.C. didn’t stay in D.C. Today, the party machine is an oligarchy that has consumed the people’s governments from D.C. to the barrios of the El Paso border with Juarez.

“Controlling big government is a hard choice for a society that has become accustomed to big government and big entitlements.”

– Jessie Harris

Contrary to our framers' theories that they had created a bullet-proof brand of liberty of self-governess, they failed to cognize the fortitude of the patriots would wilt quicker than a tulip in June. Instead of maintaining the gift of judiciously supervising it through carefully chosen representatives, there was no vehicle for them to control its incompetence like the English Parliament. So few paid attention to the damage done daily in the people’s forum by party politics. Due to their lack of involvement and self-civic education, people ended up voting with their feet instead of their heads – and have played follow the leader since then.

“Every country has the government it deserves.”

– Joseph De Maistre

Today, most elections are held to delude the populace into believing they are actually part of the democratic process. That has been the case since the development of the two-party system. Yet something went amiss last presidential election that has the pundits scratching their heads. What upset the political apple cart and their two party political axioms and theorems? The unbelievable became believable when the first non-party philistine since Washington was chosen by the people instead of the parties. Trump not only ran against a progressive Pied Piper but he was forced to run against his own party and corporate America, which supported Clintonism, “Believe it or not!”

“I have traveled 201 countries, and the strangest thing I've seen was man.”

– Robert Ripley

Amid the chagrin of a “How did this happen election” is the rest of the story: “How this happened?” Trump defeated Clinton receiving multi-demographic support. He received 29 percent of the Latino vote, 8 percent of African American and 22 percent of the Jewish votes. A bold slap in the face is Clinton massively outspent him. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads 3 to 1. Super PACs and other Clinton comrades spent over three times more and got less in return. Now America knows the rest of the story. Money can’t buy votes. All it does is help deliver the message. Trump’s cajoling convinced them to vote for him.

“Those who campaign in poetry never govern in prose.”

– Elegy Whitney

Richard Nixon said, “Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.” Big money and the political machine have had a marriage abiding in purgatory. Loyalty only lasts if your candidate wins the brass ring. If they lose, the money changers run from the temple faster than a hound dog swats a flea. Donald Trump was the first president running from his own party with a war chest filled with blue-collar dollars by people who wanted a “change” from the hard left of center. As they looked at their bank accounts, jobs, and tax bills, they voted for real “change they could believe in.”

“Change happens when ordinary people get involved.”

– President Barack Obama

Trump hacked history. What was unimaginable became a reality: The alt-right put a foot inside the White House door. The mainstream narrative was Trump demolished elite political wisdom and he destroyed two dynasties: the Clintons and Bushes that dominated national politics for decades. He lassoed the tsunami of blue-collar resentment, voters who had been alienated by the Democrats who had sold out to the progressives. Analysts agree it was the forgotten workers and small businesses that emptied their piggy banks and proved every vote counts as well as every contribution.

“Anger is a great force. If you control it, it transmits into a power and can change the world.”

– Swami Servinda

Trump’s unconventional following upended conventional wisdom about party politics as usual. The forlorn majority sent a modern Mr. Smith to Washington. Will the rest of Americans heed the call in our next state and local elections? The Trump stampede defied the party machine and created a schism in the art of traditional politicking. The common people put down their bets upon the long shot they had faith in. They didn’t mingle their money with the big spenders to guarantee a sure thing that wasn’t the best horse in the race. Smart money is money spent on a good investment. That’s why, “A man profits more by the sight of an idiot than the orations of the learned.” (Proverb)

Actor Frank Dane said, “Get the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.” Big money and their political machines have made fools out of voters for years. We’ve been taught, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Yet each election there are too many fools who follow the leader when the leader is a party hack and not a leader chosen by the people. No matter how little or how much you’ve got, put your money where you mouth is. It takes courage to fight for a winner. Any idiot can elect a party loser.

“It’s a nitwit who gives away his vote, knowing he’ll get little in return.”

– Al Smith

Contributing Columnist

William Haupt III is a retired professional journalist, author, and citizen legislator in California for over 40 years. He got his start working to approve California Proposition 13.