Frankenstein's Body Politic

Yield Mary Shelley a kind eye.  The first science-fiction novelist had no precedent in avoiding engineering errors.  Such was never the point.  Shelley's motive was to probe the persona rather than postulate the possibilities.

If Shelley's tale contains any glaring technical gaffe, it must be that young Victor Frankenstein possessed knowledge of sinew and collagen that even modern scientists lack.  His cadaverous creation might be infused with vigors and nostrums to imbue metabolism, but that would not be enough.  In reality, the pathetic being would have torn itself apart attempting to get off the table, leaving nothing on the slab but squirming rotted parts.

Strangely, the bicentennial of the novel Frankenstein is witnessing a practical demonstration of Shelley's tale of promethean horror.  A mishmash assemblage, long on borrowed time, is ripping itself to shreds at the seams.  We will never know what agonies might have erupted from the throat of Frankenstein's creation as it struggled to rise.  But of the vaster Democratic Party and its fellow travelers in media and entertainment, the death throes prevail across our screens.  Those silicon bindings may not be enough to contain the rising lust for wrath.

Four years ago, I shared a prediction: that both the Democratic and Republican Parties would go extinct sooner rather than later.  That was leading up to the 2014 election.  However disparate the numerous the factions of the Democrats were, they at least were kept cohesive by the charm of Barack Obama.  But that time was ending, and there was no electrifying figure to keep the party focused and coalesced.  The Democrats faced internecine conflict that would split them asunder.

Republicans faced a more grim fate: stagnancy and obsolescence.  The Republicans of early 2015 had no clear leadership or mission or even a clue as to why their party existed at all.  Eight years of George W. Bush's disastrous policies extending into and amplified by the Obama regime had left the American field spent of nutrient and laid waste.  The stalwarts like McConnell and McCain and Romney persisted in maintaining a holding pattern, but they refused to provide any fresh direction or driving vision.

To be blunt, the Republican leaders were afraid of acting like leaders.  They were shirking the responsibilities they had begged for.  No wonder the grassroots clamored not so much for a third party as for a second party, so peripheral had the Republicans at the national level become for the Democrats.

The improbable rise and election of Donald Trump altered the respective trajectories of the two parties' damnations.  Whether through uncouth eloquence or appeal to long neglected folk sneered at as "deplorables" by their coastal and urban betters, the Republican Party was not reinvigorated, but almost completely reinvented.  The rise of Trump gave the GOP accomplices in the so-called uniparty an ultimatum: "evolve or die."  Shockingly, they acquiesced.  The Republican Party now is practically unidentifiable from the pitiful band of scattered refugees in 2014.  It may be the most startling turnaround of modern political history.

There is no such catalytic figure of salvation for the Democrats.  Neither is one apparent on the horizon.  The Democrats at the national level have been without solid purpose and confidence since John F. Kennedy, or Franklin D. Roosevelt, or perhaps even William Jennings Bryan.  That unifying vision was never an element in the administration of either Clinton or Obama.  The social spenders, the teacher unions, the pro-abortion activists, and the anti-military interests have compacted with each other across more than half a century for the acquisition and maintaining of power.  In the long run, the factions within the Democratic Party would have inevitably fallen apart.  Their scheme for shared power was not sustainable.

Now we are seeing that implosion triggered.  President Trump's wild card tenure has accelerated Democratic decrepitude, and radically far beyond what most had envisioned.  Trump himself has not been the cause of disintegration.  He is condemned as the rationale.  But in the rants of celebrities and the threats across Twitter and the increasingly violent "protests" in the streets, there is now revealed what is become the true unifying element of organized progressivism on a cultural scale: anger and hatred.  That is no basis for late-night comedy, and certainly not for political values and vision.  When the cry of "Resist!" is raised, it is less a rally against an adversary than it is a convulsive scream not to go gently into that good night of ideological antiquity.

I do not enjoy employing words such as "liberal" and "conservative" because they are too limiting in my scope of paradigm.  But too many self-professed liberals are, in their desperation, providing no reason why any of sound and sober mind should adhere to their cause.  Indeed, they are driving away even those who have traditionally been most counted as loyal adherents.  That's not just self-destruction.  It's self-immolation.  That desperation will be ramping up as we approach the midterm elections and the 2020 race.  Even now, we see uncommon incivility bearing a fruit of unfettered rage.  It will only intensify.

Doubtless, the Democrats will continue to exist and perhaps even thrive among the cities and counties and states.  I sincerely hope that they will, after reconsidering their purpose and approach.  But as a nationwide caucus?  The lifetime of their party, as the Democrats have come to recognize it, is now measurable in months and days, not decades.

Is this demise inevitable?  As of now, yes.  But it needn't be irrevocable.  Perhaps in time there will be a reassessment and a true renaissance of what the term "liberal" is meant to embody.  Perhaps then the Democrats will become the party they were always meant to be.  There is a lesson here: that ideology should never become appropriated and attached to a single entity.

That being said, however...

The Democratic Party will no longer exist by the next presidential election – at least not as we have come to know it.  It may not be much of a party come this Christmas.  Had one openly suggested two years ago that either of the major parties was priming itself to join the Whigs, the remark would be met with derision.  It is something to address no longer with condescension, but with apprehension.

People rarely appreciate drastic change.  Losing sense of identity against one's will can be the worst of change.  It is something to resist by any means necessary – up to and including lashing out with threats and violence.

Too many people have erred in bonding themselves to a political identity.  That identity is now being wrested from them.

Their desperation may soon elicit a horror worse than that of any fictional monster.

Christopher Knight is a writer, indie filmmaker, and traveler across America.  He sleeps sometimes.  Visit his blog at and find him on Twitter at @theknightshift.

If you experience technical problems, please write to