Louis A. Bevilacqua Republican Party is drowning

January 30, 2019

These are scary times for the New England Republican Party. Going back to the founding of our country, New England Republicans were responsible for the improvement of our constitution, the repudiation of slavery and the enactment of most things considered essential to our government the “American-ness” that made us unique in the world. There are no members of the GOP elected to Congress in the vast northern kingdom in these media soundbite times, when disloyal political consultants answer to some base instinct rather than the profession which was once populated by patriots. Our country had heroes and real patriots who were not some second rate football team, but public officials who kept our nation’s ideals pure, they defended workable democracy, they created the opportunity and prosperity that was the dream of the old nations of the world.

One need only look to our state’s largest city, an urban failure, unable to maintain its essence of self when it brings national retail in, if not it’s condemned to be some broken backwater, an example of what not to become, making the suburbs feel the greater of significance. That’s not what constituent-based democracy was about, where each district is unique and of equal importance! Our urban cities, once places where business occurred, have become where you dump your rubbish, where you take your train to Boston, but not much more than that. The decline of the Republican Party has coincided with the decline of Bridgeport, once the city of national political leader, Republican Mayor P.T. Barnum and a few GOP congressmen, in other words leaders of the Republican Party of America. Lincoln himself got his start on the steps of McLevy Hall in Bridgeport during his presidential campaign’s opening during his swing through New England not far from what is now the veterans memorial.

The only way for the Republicans to win is to change the way they run elections in Bridgeport, and they must start to have leadership on the City Council, which they cannot do if they do not win. The current politics of our country is about divided territory. Obama leaves W. Virginia alone in this gentleman’s agreement and the GOP runs a straw candidate in New York City. It makes sense to the Democrats and Republicans who think they are part of some rational compromise but who loses are the people. The purpose of republic-based democracy is defeated and it becomes simple, predictable and money-making for the fat cats. We did not vote for this new system, and it’s not legitimate in any sense. It’s dangerous because it produces a sort of civic slavery, oligarchy and it clearly, if you look at the region, does not work as it’s supposed to.

If you look at one district, for instance, the 136th, where a sort of Democratic gang exists, in 2015, 717 voters cast a ballot for the Democrat, 176 for the Republican. In a city where there are 61,000 active voters, certainly it means the Democrats are not inspiring anyone. You do a better job of constituent service and a better campaign and you’ll find 600 extra votes to ensure both a Democrat and Republican are on the Council.

The Republican Party and our democracy cannot win in these “automatic” elections. Business as usual here is a race to the bottom and a race which will begin to drag everyone down, even the suburbs, which like to think themselves as superior.

Louis A. Bevilacqua, of Shelton, is a former City Council of Bridgeport legislative liaison.

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