The political background of Human X is not completely beside the point. It helps to define Colin Jeffries, and it also sets the groundwork for future stories. His father, Remington Jeffries is a U.S. Senator, but not for one of the two major parties with which have been all too familiar this year. Seriously, previous election years may have seemed like the country was giving birth to a new administration. This year felt more like we were collectively passing an especially painful kidney stone.
Remington Jefferies is the leader of the Constitution Party (after Republican and Democratic were taken as party names, what else is left?). The new party was carved out of the center of both parties, composed mostly of politicians who felt marginalized by their respective parties catering to their bases. Both parties took a hit, but especially the Republicans. In 2039, the GOP has little left but Tea Party types (although the name itself has fallen blissfully into distant memory), but still maintains an iron grip on the South and resonates with staunch social conservatives. The culture war hasn’t been going well for them, but they still feel the call to fight the good fight.
At the time of the novel, the Constitution party has achieved and surpassed parity with the Republicans. Even at the beginning, when they were a small minority, they took enough votes away to keep either of the two major parties from having a majority, especially in the Senate, meaning that either party had to form a caucus with them in order to pass legislation. This gave the Constitution party power out of proportion to its numbers.
As the first novel ends, Remington Jeffries is preparing to launch the party’s first serious presidential bid, and despite the dismissal of mainstream pundits, some are predicting he will prevail against two ideologues that the other parties will probably put forward.
So how likely this is scenario? I don’t know and don’t claim to be political prognosticator, but I have to admit to some moments of deja vu in the run-up to and aftermath of Election Day, 2012. The Republican Party seems poised on the edge of a struggle to define who they are, if not by 2014, then four years from now. Will they embrace the changing demographics of the nation or just go on believing that Mitt Romney wasn’t “Republican enough” to get elected?
Who today might be the kind of Republican that would hear the siren song of the Constitution Party?
Governor Chris Christie, perhaps? His relationship with the GOP is certainly strained, and he presents himself as something of a centrist. I think he has to be close to the middle to get elected in the solidly blue state of New Jersey.
And the Republican Party seems to have gone out of its way to alienate the governor lately. When Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of his state, Christie stopped being a Republican election operative and put on his public servant hat, seeming to be everywhere in New Jersey at once. It wasn’t his fault that the federal government coming to his aid was led by a member of the other party. It wasn’t his fault that the hurricane hit a few days before the election. Nor was it his fault that, in those days, he looked more presidential than his party’s nominee had at any time since Mitt Romney began seeking the presidency back in 2008. It wasn’t his fault that the nominee and the vice-presidential candidate both made ill-informed comments about cutting funds to FEMA just before FEMA went out and proved exactly why that was a bad idea.
Yet his party was unhappy, incensed in some cases. How dare he? How dare he do the job that the people of New Jersey elected him to do, instead of doing his real job, which was apparently to be Mitt Romney’s mouthpiece even as mother nature was devastating the Garden State? How dare he be gracious to the President for doing part of the job we all elected him to do? Rupert Murdoch, media kingpin, sounded a surly, mobster-ish note when he suggested that the governor had better get back on board and be a good Republican. He didn’t say “or else” but it was certainly implied.
Right now, Christie is doing his best to mend fences, but some may never forgive him. If Mitt Romney were the President-elect right now, all might be forgiven, but four more years of President Obama are sticking in their craw. The party hacks need someone to blame and the U.N. Ambassador can only be a whipping post for Benghazi.
Feeling sufficiently unloved and unappreciated, might the governor run as an independent? If there were a viable, center-right party to welcome him, he could easily find a home there. I suspect that Governor Christie and Remington would see eye-to-eye on a sufficient number of issues to tempt him into the fold.
Of course, there is no Constitution Party in the real world and Governor Christie exists in the here-and-now, but I believe that someone of similar convictions would be exactly the kind of person would break from the GOP in the Human X universe.