Importance of the “loyal opposition”

(Note: this is a highly speculative, opinionated opinion, with a minimal amount of actual knowledge of the events in question.)

The big political news of yesterday was the pact between Cruz and Kasich to try and stop Trump. All the scrolling on the TV screens I saw had Trump blasting (when doesn’t he blast) Cruz and Kasich. He called them “pitiful” and said they were “whiney”. But to me it seemed like he was whining that they wouldn’t play the game by his rules, but by the ones actually in place.

The posters I noticed from the Trump rallies had the slogan to “make America great again.” And while I am very patriotic, the thought running through my mind was “we don’t need to be great that way again, just like Germany didn’t need to be great again the way Hitler made her great.” We also don’t need a bombastic leader like Trump, just like Germany didn’t need Hitler.

Now, I’m not trying to make out that Trump is a Hitler. For one thing, he grew up too privileged to know the sort of street brawling life that Hitler learned. He isn’t capable of that sort of violence, though he could engender followers capable of that sort of violence. I’m rather more concerned with the civilized sort of solutions he could come up with for those who disagree with him.

Because the one thing I don’t see in his economics, politics, or psychology, is the concept of the “loyal opposition”.

The term “loyal opposition” is usually used more in parliamentary systems than in our presidential one, but the concept is equally applicable. The idea is that the opposition, the party out of power, is yet still loyal to the government, or the crown even in its opposition. There is a respect between parties, with the knowledge that who is in and who is out could flip back and forth — that being in power isn’t a guaranteed steady-state.

This is something Trump seems incapable of. Cruz and Kasich are well aware of the need to respect the opponent. Trump seems more willing to crush the opposition.

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