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On Morning Joe, George Will and Howard Dean Agree: Our Political Parties Aren’t Doing Their Constitutional Duty

On Morning Joe on Monday, columnist and author George Will and former DNC Chair Howard Dean were on together to assess the current health of the political parties in the United States, and the diagnosis wasn’t great.

Host Joe Scarborough, following a discussion of poll numbers, asked Will and Dean about about “the long-term impact of this for Reagan’s party, for Lincoln’s party?”

George Will blasted the Republican party under Trump, something he’s done a lot of recently. So much, in fact, that he has denounced the Republican congress and advocated voting against them. He spares them no mercy here, either.

“This year, this seems to me, this is a referendum on Donald Trump which means it’s a referendum on Republicans generally,” he said. “Because at the five hundred day mark Ronald Reagan’s approval among Republicans was 77%. Trump’s was 87%.”

Will is pointing out that not only do we as a nation tend view every election nationally, eve the local ones, but that in the case of Republicans in 2018, it is national locally in actual fact, because Republicans adhere directly to the president’s will.

“Watch what happened to Congressman Sanford, an incumbent republican in South Carolina who had the temerity to not be completely purely loyal to Donald Trump,” he pointed out. “He was purged from the party.”

Will goes back to the example of FDR’s failure to purge his party “because at that time, Congress still had a sense of its institutional dignity and its independent role in our system, and the voters understood this and resisted.”

Not so now, says Will. “Times have changed now, I’m afraid, so that the Republicans in Congress think of themselves as subordinate members of the team of which he is the captain,’ he said. “Thereby completely overthrowing their function under the separation of powers.”

That separation of powers being, of course, the critical underlying principle of the U.S. Constitution.

Mika Brzezinski then turned to Howard Dean and asked him to “look at the other team, the democrats.”

Dean was likewise critical of his own party.

“I think what’s happening is the Congress is moving itself to irrelevancy, and I’m shocked” said Dean. Like Will, Dean’s diagnosis of the politicians in Congress rests on their degree of compliance to and cooperation with Trump, and the shirking of Constitutional responsibility.

“I grew up when the Congress reasserted itself after Nixon and I think all that’s gone,” he said. “They’re — I’ve never seen a Congress with this little willingness to take on the chief executive.”

The two very different political figures agree, they do not find the Republic in good health.

Watch the clip above, courtesy of MSNBC.

[Featured image via screengrab]

Follow Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) on Twitter

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