The Whigs Are Partying Like It’s 1856

For the first time in 157 years, a Philadelphia man won a local election as a Whig. Is this a comeback for the party of Webster and Clay?

Henry Clay, a former U.S. senator and Whig Party member
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Vasilogambros
Nov. 7, 2013, 6:54 a.m.

The Whigs are mak­ing a comeback.

Well, sort of. On Tues­day, 36 Phil­adelphia voters elec­ted Whig can­did­ate Robert Bucholz as the judge of elec­tion for the Fifth Di­vi­sion of the 56th Ward. He beat Demo­crat­ic op­pon­ent Lor­etta Pro­basco, who se­cured 24 votes.

The Whigs haven’t been a ma­jor polit­ic­al party in the United States since the mid-1800s. The Whigs pro­duced four U.S. pres­id­ents in their brief his­tory — Wil­li­am Henry Har­ris­on, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Mil­lard Fill­more — and had sev­er­al na­tion­al lead­ers among its mem­bers, in­clud­ing Henry Clay and Daniel Web­ster.

The party, however, dis­solved fol­low­ing the failed pres­id­ency of Fill­more that ended in 1853. It also showed deep di­vides in the party on the is­sue of slavery.

But in 2007, a group of Ir­aq and Afgh­anistan vet­er­ans wanted to change that and star­ted the Mod­ern Whig Party.

Its sym­bol an owl, the party is based in Wash­ing­ton and claims it has 30,000 mem­bers across the coun­try. While many of the is­sues for the party have changed in the last 150 years or so, party mem­bers claim its ba­sic polit­ic­al philo­sophy is the same: mod­er­a­tion and com­prom­ise.

As Bucholz, an en­gin­eer for de­fense con­tract­ors by day, told the Phil­adelphia In­quirer on Wed­nes­day, “The time for a third party that can broker con­sensus is long over­due. There have been many at­tempts since the be­gin­ning of our coun­try, but the two ma­jor parties con­trol the elec­tion laws, the bal­lot, and the con­ver­sa­tion.”

A closer com­par­is­on of the plat­forms of the party from 150 years ago to today shows many sim­il­ar­it­ies:

1852:

  • Em­phas­ize states rights on most is­sues.
  • Lim­it for­eign en­tan­gle­ments.
  • Mod­ern­ize the eco­nom­ic sys­tem through the mar­kets and in­dus­tri­al­iz­a­tion.
  • Pro­mote high­er tar­iffs on trade, not high­er taxes.
  • Sup­port a na­tion­al bank.
  • Use gov­ern­ment-fun­ded pro­grams to ex­pand the road and canal sys­tems throughout Middle Amer­ica.
  • Cre­ate pub­lic schools and pro­mote private in­sti­tu­tions, like col­leges and char­it­ies.

2013:

  • Give states the power to handles budget is­sues.
  • De­vel­op al­tern­at­ive en­ergy re­sources and re­duce de­pend­ency on for­eign oil.
  • Re­form edu­ca­tion and add an em­phas­is on space, oceans, medi­cine, and na­n­o­tech­no­lo­gies in the pub­lic and private sec­tors.
  • Be pro­gress­ive on so­cial is­sues, ad­voc­at­ing the gov­ern­ment stay out of “le­gis­lat­ing mor­al­ity.”
  • Give vet­er­ans prop­er be­ne­fits.

While Bucholz’s elec­tion is just one, small res­ult for the party, the idea of in­flu­en­cing town boards, city coun­cils, and judge­ships across the coun­try could work. Polls show that Amer­ic­ans are fed up with Wash­ing­ton and the mem­bers of the two parties that dom­in­ate polit­ics. The Mod­ern Whig Party could of­fer voters an out.

Maybe. 

What We're Following See More »
ARE “OPEN TO NEGOTIATION”
Sens. Paul, Cruz, Johnson and Lee Oppose Senate Health Care Bill
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

The four Senators released a joint statement, saying in part, "There are provisions in this draft that repreesnt an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs."

Source:
UNKNOWN IF TRUMP WANTS 2024 GAMES IN L.A.
Trump Meets With International Olympic Committee Today
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump will meet with the International Olympic Committee Thursday amid a battle between Los Angeles and Paris for the right to host the 2024 games. The meeting at the White House will come roughly three months before members of the IOC vote on which of the two cities will welcome the Olympics during what could be the final year of Trump's presidency, should he win re-election. Trump has remained largely silent on whether he plans to fight for the U.S. to receive the games in 2024."

Source:
TRUMP SUGGESTED THERE WERE TAPES
No Comey Tapes
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

Source:
DEVELOPING
Senate Healthcare Bill In Trouble?
4 hours ago
BREAKING
ALTERED, STOLE VOTER INFO
Russian Hacking More Extensive Than Previously Reported
4 hours ago
BREAKING

"The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers. ... Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign. ... The House Intelligence Committee plans to seek testimony this summer from Brad Parscale, the digital director of the Trump campaign."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login