We the People: The GOP divided against itself cannot stand (again)

During the 2012 campaign, the Republican establishment supported Mitt Romney, a rather unknown who he never generated a clear majority of support from Republicans. He was a multimillionaire businessman who did not resonate with the Tea Party. He was able to convince enough of the GOP to give him the nomination although the majority of GOP voters and obviously the American voters did not support him. Another GOP candidate may have been more successful.

In the 2016 elections, there still is a split between the elements in the GOP. Extreme conservatives and the moderates of the Republican establishment disagree on the candidate who should hold their banner in the presidential election. Most of the GOP field is not sufficiently conservative or anti-establishment for the TeaPartistas even though they could be too conservative for the rest of the American people to be elected.

Donald Trump’s popularity is not based on what he stands for but for what he says he stands against. He rails against immigration, immigrants, big government spending and he is definitely not part of the GOP establishment.

Conservatives associated with the Republican party usually split support between several conservative candidates while more the moderate Republicans unify early and defeat the divided opposition. This year may be different since there are many establishment moderate Republicans vying for the nomination and only two distinctly different and anti-establishment Republican candidates with a chance: Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Jeb Bush is the leading establishment Republican choice but he is just one of many uninspiring choices for the GOP. Mr. Bush’s campaign performance has been so lackluster that he may fail to get the nomination despite his numerous campaign advantages. The other establishment Republican candidates have the collective personality of a potted plant. So the TeaPartistas have thrown their lot in with Mr. Trump despite his own obvious shortcomings as a candidate: personal history and lack of experience.

If the GOP somehow returns to the usual playbook, it will rally around Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio and have a conventional candidate who loses the general election. The only chance for a GOP White House success may be to try something new: Trump/Carson in 2016?

Locally, the Kings County Republican Party is completely fractured and at war with itself after the September convention led to the selection of two county leaders for the GOP. The mess must be sorted out in a courtroom. The idea that persons in the same political party cannot even accept one leader for their local organization raises doubt about how they can address issues and problems for the people that they want to represent in office.

After the convention, Dr. Arnaldo Ferraro, a former assemblymember and the leader of the LaGuardia Republican Club in Dyker Heights, was elected chairperson by the legitimate votes cast but a local attorney, Ted Ghorra, backed by State Senator Marty Golden, who has been at war with outgoing GOP chair Craig Eaton, had his supporters continue the convention out on the street where the Golden votes selected Ghorra as chair (big surprise) even though the actual convention had concluded. The two bickering sides will await a decision from a judge by the end of October. Amazing.

A bicycle/pedestrian pathway may get added to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The idea was raised again by the MTA since there is major reconstruction planned for the span in the future. The people of Brooklyn and Staten Island have always supported the idea but the original plans dropped it and there has never been sufficient funding to consider adding it after the fact.

The MTA hosted a meeting to unveil a master plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge which included a proposal for a bicycle/pedestrian path on the bridge. The master plan details multi-billion dollar improvements to the span over the next two decades to maintain it and to make operational improvements. Part of the funding will be for a study of a shared-use bicycle/pedestrian pathway.

The idea of exploring and testing whether this idea can practically become a reality is wonderful news. The community and interested groups should be included in the study process. This step toward linking the entire city by bicycle/pedestrian pathways is a dream for many alternative transportation supporters. If the plan makes sense, it should be made part of the MTA master plan for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

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