This Tuesday was a momentous one for politics in New Haven. With the Green Party now holding two seats on the city’s Board of Aldermen, New Haven’s long tradition of Democratic Party rule is being threatened from the left.
No doubt, Green Party partisans are whooping it up on the streets this week, celebrating by wearing their best patchouli and throwing parties with environmentally friendly, biodegradable confetti. But the Greens aren’t the only ones with reason to rejoice in the Elm City.
No, indeed, for it is another party, sometimes known as the Grand Old Party, that has even more reason to celebrate. Now, I have no connection to local Republican politics, but I am a Republican, and so I think this qualifies me to generalize broadly about Republicans everywhere.
If you were a Republican big-wig in this town, you would surely, upon reading the news of the Greens’ triumph, call a meeting at Secret Republican Headquarters. You would, no doubt, enter the ordinary looking pastry shop that serves as a front for your offices, reach for the red plastic wait-in-line-number dispenser, and, giving it a quarter turn, open the secret passageway.
Once inside, you would be greeted by the posh surroundings of your hideout, which would look something like a cross between a Masonic temple and the lounge at the Federal Reserve Bank. Once safely ensconced therein with your cronies — doubtless also Elm City financiers, tobacco executives and oil merchants — you would review the events of the week, and initially lament the rise of the Greens. They are, after all, like Democrats, but worse: they favor stringent environmental controls, “progressive” tax schemes and other horrible liberal causes. But unlike the Democrats, they don’t apologize for it.
You picture yourself living in a Green dystopia, where your Guccis would be confiscated and replaced by Birkenstocks. Your Lincoln Town Car, with its measly 17 miles to the gallon, would be pulled over for no reason by a cop wearing a uniform made of hemp who rides on an electric scooter.
“Like, give me your driver’s license, man,” he would say, as you shudder in your Brooks Brothers duds. After he writes you a ticket for “Killing the Planet” on pulpy, recycled paper, you drive away in anger and frustration, accidentally running over a sapling tree on the sidewalk.
When you are convicted of this newly capital offense, you curse the revolution that pierced your bourgeois bubble and sent you to your death on the city compost heap. You are sent away sobbing like that kid you used to beat up all the time at the Foote School and later at Choate, or maybe Hopkins.
Shaking yourself from this nightmare, you and your colleagues begin to do what Republicans do best: diabolically plot and scheme. You remember the 2000 presidential election, in which Nader’s quixotic campaign pulled leftists out of Gore’s camp, giving Bush the opportunity to win with a minority of the popular vote.
You giggle with childish glee at the way the Democrats are getting beaten by their own left flank. You know that if the Democrats lurch leftward to recoup Green splinters, the treasured middle ground of politics will return to the GOP.
The Democrats are between a rock and a hard place. Since the Greens have such disproportionate support in this leftist town, aggressive Republican candidates could steal aldermanic seats and perhaps even the mayoralty with as little as 34 percent of the vote.
You raise your glass and toast, with your compatriots, to the renaissance of GOP politics in New Haven. That night, as you curl up on your big pile of money, you get the best night’s sleep you’ve had in years.
Jack Snyder is a junior in Davenport College.