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It happens so regularly you might call it tradition! Whichever party is on the outs is the party that's going to be on the outs forever more. According to the commentariat.

Now that Republicans hold the U.S. House and Senate, the presidency, and not to mention the majority of seats in the governments across the several states--one state particularly we could mention--the obituaries are being written for the Democratic Party.

Oh, spare us.

Didn't the Republican Party die when a president named Nixon resigned? And a weak president named Ford was beaten by The Next Big Thing, aka Jimmy Carter? Or maybe the death rattle came when the Republicans were put out of office in 2008, and the president-elect's coattails brought along Democratic majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. Didn't somebody call it the new Permanent Democratic Majority?

Come to think, the Democratic Party was the dearly departed in 1980, wasn't it? And again in 1984 and 1988. And 1952. And 1968. America's political parties have been killed off frequently, like "Clue" characters. And the parties always come back, having reformed themselves after defeat, and sometimes by just getting lucky. God may look after drunkards, fools and both major American political parties.

Montana's governor seems to understand. His name is Steve Bullock, and he spoke in Arkansas over the weekend. We were glad to see his comments in the paper. He is of the Democratic persuasion, and proudly so. He lamented that some party insiders want to focus on turning out its base this November, instead of converting Trump supporters: "Why," he asks, "can't we do both?"

Some of us can remember the days when the papers had to identify national figures in Congress by party and point of view. As in a "conservative Democrat," or a "liberal Republican." The parties held both. Mike Ross, anybody?

Now that the parties have once again polarized, some want to turn them redder or bluer. Steve Bullock might be right to want more shades of purple.

The two-party system seems to be working the way a two-party system should: Each party serves as a check on the other. Each offers the voters its own views while criticizing the views of the other. Each defends its record while subjecting the other's to the closest scrutiny. Both are kind of public watchdogs, barking madly whenever they spot the other planning a raid on the public weal--or just barking madly for no good reason.

But there's nothing in the law that says the parties must bend to the reddest or bluest of constituents or lobbyists or financiers. Things were a lot smoother in the days when political parties were coalitions and members of each could talk to each other without fear of scandal.

Editorial on 08/09/2018

Print Headline: Party all the time

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