Those who refer to the Democratic Party as the party of obstruction clearly misapprehend the concept of “loyal opposition” — and also may be confused about its role in government.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, we may presume that they have been shorted, information-wise; and stand ready here to provide information to help clarify matters.
Lawrence Lowell was a highly respected legal scholar and a thoughtful student of government who served as President of Harvard University. In one of his many well-regarded books, in which he studied the government of England, he termed loyal opposition the “greatest contribution of the nineteenth century to the art of government.” Of course, Lowell was referring to the more formal, institutionalized structure recognized by the parliamentary system of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms. But loyal opposition has also been described (in the Yale Law Journal) as “a stand-in for some of the best practices in democracy: making space for dissent, knitting outsiders into democracy’s fabric, attending to the institutional dimensions of integration.”
In the view of many, the most vital role of the loyal opposition within a democratic government is to hold the executive to account by questioning and/or opposing its actions while remaining loyal to the source of the government’s power and its fundamental principles.
So if an executive in a democracy were to advance an agenda that contradicts or undermines the essential values of a nation and jeopardizes the freedom of its people, the loyal opposition has a sacred duty to take action to stop that agenda: by dissent, resistance, and any other means that may be available and appropriate.
The Democratic Party stands for everything that the man who currently occupies the Oval Office does not, from the rule of law and separation of powers to freedom of the press and the integrity of the electoral process.
Except for a few members of the GOP and a couple of Independents, no one in elective office outside of the Democratic Party has shown the courage to defend those values.
What will it take to embolden them?