There is a huge ideological divide between politicians and voters. There are clear causes, but the fact remains that most voters simply have no opportunity to vote for a candidate who represents them.
Part of the problem is caused by the very nature of our two-party system. You can’t encapsulate the ideologies of over 300 million people into Brand A and Brand B. Not everyone likes Coke or Pepsi. Some people like RC Cola, or Dr. Pepper, or tea, or coffee, or apple juice, or even just plain water.
For a country that demands grocery stores with hundreds of different kinds of beverages, cable TV with hundreds of different channels, and vibrators in every shape from a small egg up to a full fist… we are woefully lacking in variety when it comes to politics.
The parties have played to this disparity to great success, especially Republicans. I say this because I notice a far greater ideological gap between most Republicans and their elected officials than I do between most Democrats and their elected officials. I say this largely based on the fact that I have never heard of a reasonable Republican politician being elected during my lifetime, and yet I meet reasonable Republicans all the time.
I hear Democrats being called the “big tent” party from time to time, but I find that the people who are Democrats support all of the same initiatives, though they may not all apply to them personally. Most are pro-choice (even the men), pro-immigration (even white liberals), pro-gun control (even the gun owners), anti-war (even the soldiers), anti-rich (even the kids of rich people), and whatever else I missed. There are some people who don’t agree on an issue or two, sure, but it’s nothing like I see among Republicans.
For Republicans, this is almost reversed. From what I can tell, I have never met a Republican who wouldn’t have been happier just electing a Democrat (and I base this on record, not rhetoric). In fact, I meet Republicans all the time who are just as liberal as any Democrat I’ve met, in that they are essentially Democrats with one issue as the sole exception (like a lot of Democrats, actually). Often, that issue is seen by the Republican as being of the utmost importance, so they vote for a Republican who then goes off and does all the other stuff they didn’t support, as well.
There’s so many kinds of Republicans, compared to the almost zombie-like clone army that is the Democratic Party. This is sad, because the Republican party is monolithic in its voting record. Since the Reagan administration, Republicans have stuck together on just about everything, and this loyalty has paid off for them in that all of their initiatives seem to pass, despite public outcry (I don’t expect a bunch of dithering, candy-ass Democrats to stop them).
There isn’t one issue I’ve seen that I haven’t met, not just a few, but many Republicans who oppose what is a primary pillar of the Republican Party. This must be frustrating for Republican voters, because if your most important issue is fiscal responsibility, you probably won’t get it at all (Republican politicians are not fiscally responsible for anything besides trillion-dollar debts), and yet you have to endure attacks on abortion and opposition to gay marriage, both of which are issues I know many Republican voters would flip parties on.
I’ve met many who identify with being on the right who understand that global warming is happening (one even helpfully pointed out that “climate change” isn’t liberal rebranding of a failed idea, but is actually from the mouths of Bush-era press secretaries, specifically concocted by Frank Luntz, conservative spin-man). I’ve met people who identify as conservative who oppose violent interventionist foreign policy and the buildup of the military industrial complex (hell, it was Republican president Dwight Eisenhower who coined the term, “military industrial complex”).
It’s mind-boggling, really, that such an ideologically diverse group of people manage to elect the most backwards, brain-dead bullshit artists I have ever seen. Republican politicians make me wonder if perhaps it’s a good thing that America is on its way down. I wouldn’t trust most Republican politicians with running a lemonade stand for a day. By the time I got back, dozens of customers would be suing me for lead poisoning and they would have run off with all the money.
At least a Democrat would have stuck around and apologized when they fuck up. You gotta love Democrats. They’re like Republicans, only they have a conscience. It doesn’t make them do the right thing, but you can at least tell they feel bad about it afterwards. Republican politicians are like some idiot who takes a shit in the pool, loudly takes credit for it, and is proud of it enough to tell people about it for years afterward. Show a little shame, at least.
The solution is simple, if you ask me. We need more political parties. Three. No, not three political parties, three new political parties, to go along with the shitty two we already have.
What three should they be? Stick around, and the next time I’m bored, I’ll tell you. Or, better yet, tell me what you want from a political party. Or don’t, and bitch about what I come up with on my own. That’s the beauty of interactive blogs.
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