By ZACH NOBLE
I have a dream that our country will become even more divided.
It will be better that way.
After Donald Trump completed his hostile takeover of the GOP this week, conservatives and libertarians alike have no one who remotely represents their interests running a viable presidential campaign.
It's unclear how many Republicans will actually burn their voter registration cards, but some 15 million GOP primary voters cast ballots against Trump, helping him become the GOP candidate with the most ever votes against him. Uber-Republican Utah might flip to the Democrats in the general election.
It's a disaster for the GOP and an opportunity for the rest of us.
Americans are increasingly identifying as independents. Young Republicans diverge sharply with older GOP-ers on LGBT and immigration issues. Democrats are debating, "Spend a lot of money we don't have," and, "Spendmageddon."
In other words, it's the perfect opportunity to break up the two-party system.
Duverger’s Law is garbage. The U.S. can support more than two political parties, and it probably should.
Anti-Trump Republicans have the numbers to start forming a viable opposition party (Constitutionalists?) in the Western states that value liberty over ethno-nationalism. Many young Republicans could help swell the ranks of the modest Libertarian Party. And, seeing the GOP fall apart, socialists could safely split from the Democratic Party, knowing that their exit probably won't impact a presidential race.
We could see a 2020 that shakes down with a five-way split.
Every state will become a battleground state -- and therefore no state will be taken for granted. Take reliably Republican Mississippi: A protracted battle between Cons and Firsters would allow the state's black population (nearly 40 percent of the total and, in the current world, reliable anti-Bernie Democrats) to sweep in an easy Centrist win.
In the scenario above, the Leftist-Centrists/Democrats would easily win a presidential contest with 312 electoral votes. But they'd have to appeal carefully to a broad coalition of voters to ensure it happens: fiscal conservatives, fiscal moderates, social moderates, people who neither want nor actively deride foreign entanglements. Today, Hillary Clinton doesn't really have to do that to win; she just has to be Not Donald Trump.
More importantly, the presidency alone isn't what matters.
A major split in both parties would give teeth to minority viewpoints. Libertarians may never carry a state in a presidential contest, but they could pick up House and Senate seats nationwide. Same for Socialists. We already have examples in Sens. Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders -- now imagine those guys have a few more friends and some real bargaining power in D.C.
On state levels, different ideologies could get more room to actually govern. A split could also be an opportunity for many Christians to more coherently work their faith into their politics.
A political quintet could better represent Americans' diverse opinions while promoting federalism and subsidiarity.
If nothing else, it would mean not facing a Trump-or-Clinton dilemma again.
"[O]ur Founders didn’t want entrenched political parties," wrote Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, one of the loudest GOP voices against Trump. "So why should we accept this terrible choice?"
Zach Noble is a journalist who has covered everything from the OPM hack to a rescue dog's retirement party. He's been wrestling to reconcile his bleeding heart Catholicism with his pragmatic libertarianism since that freshman year love affair with Ayn Rand. He tweets erratically as @thezachnoble.