The two things which separate the United States from other democracies is that we do not have a parliamentary democracy, and we have always had two
major parties. I believe that there is a major sea change underway, which will completely re-align the existing Republican and Democrat parties or,
equally likely, change to three parties. Before I explain further, I’d like to give some background.
If you live in a democracy other than the United States, your structure is set up sort of like this. There are one or two legislative houses, the
lower of which gets most stuff done. Two, three, or maybe more parties seek seats in the legislature (usually called “parliament”) with one party
ruling either because it has an absolute majority or because it creates a coalition (in return for particular favors) with smaller parties.
In a parliamentary democracy, the various parties’ platforms are usually adhered to by all the members; all legislators or parliamentarians almost
always vote the party line, and the leader of the majority party becomes the executive, called the Prime Minister. There usually is another executive,
like a president or a monarch, but they are usually figureheads.
Our Federal system, on the other hand, has two parties of convenience with little philosophical differentiation these days. Our legislators (or
“congressmen”) are in two houses, both with extensive power; the executive is a completely different branch; and the legislators are not faulted
severely if they vote against the party “line”.
Historically, two-party advocates (which comprise most politicians) equate the Democrat and Republican parties with two philosophies, liberalism and
conservatism, respectively. But this equation, never very exact anyway, is rapidly breaking down. The Republicans, long touting themselves as small
government advocates and fiscal/moral conservatives, have presided over and legislated some of the largest budgets and associated deficits in the
history of the Republic.
The Democrats, self-described “progressives”, have failed to come up with any vision and are limited to saying that the Republicans are Bad.
And the parties are fracturing themselves, as well. The Democrats have alienated their historically strong and anti-war base by having some of their
best and brightest (Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Lieberman) pretty much deny themselves any future on the national level by braking with this
tradition. The Republicans are split mightily on the issue of illegal immigration, with the president taking the more moderate view while the House of
Representatives and many of the rank-and-file Republicans want much stricture enforcement and blockade.
Years ago the Advocates for Self government (www.theadvocates.org...
) came up with a small quiz to help the individual to determine is
or her political views. It’s an interesting quiz, and I suggest you take it, although the reason I bring it up is that I see our political system
changing to reflect a populist/statist swing where more and more people seem to want to see more government control of both the economic and social
aspects of government. These folks tend to be fairly religious (Roman Catholic, Mormon, or Protestant Fundamentalist) are against flag-burning,
abortions, and global trade; and often look for mutually exclusive situations such as a low tax rate coupled with increasing handouts to
“deserving” individuals (but not corporations) restrictions of pharma prices (but unlimited “free”) healthcare, and so one.
Given the fracturing of the two Old Parties, I see a new large populist party growing, taking about sixty to seventy percent of its membership from
disaffected Republicans, and thirty to forty percent of its members from disaffected Democrats. The Democrats will probably morph into a neo-socialist
party, with the remnants of the Republican party becoming more and more fiscally conservative and libertarian in the outlook.
If this obtains, we can expect higher taxes and/or deficits, a withdrawal from global agreements such as various environmental treaties and NAFTA and
Anyone have any comments on this?