reply to post by stumason
As far as I am aware, the USA is the only two party system that springs to mind. Most of Europe is multi-party Parliamentary democracy
with dozens of parties, of varying sizes and flavours. In the UK, there are three major parties and a swarm of smaller parties. Now, if your talking
about the system in America being all fudged up, I suppose that you'd be right. I'm not so sure for that's the case for Democracy in Europe.
I’m native born but no “America my country right or wrong” sycophant. I’m at that point in life when history has a firm grip on my time.
I’m still trying to get a handle on why America is so much different than Western Europe despite the obvious fact that most of our early inhabitants
came from that part of the world. It’s as if Europeans were from Venus and Americans are from Mars.
I attribute that phenomenon to the “self selecting” by the voyagers who traversed the Atlantic when it was not a fun thing to do. It was costly
and it was generally unpleasant and it was always risky. Our own historic Mayflower of 1620 took 95 days to cross, about a month longer than usual.
I’m more a southern type person and so, I find myself in the group that lampoons the New Englander types because their objective was Virginia but
their seamanship put them ashore 600 miles short of their intended destination. Nothing to boast about there.
America was always a pure capitalist country until the Great Depression of 1929-1939. Over here. My personal icon, FDR, gets credit NOT for ending the
Depression but for getting us through it in good spirits. And kudos for creating a modern government that really functioned. The New Deal. It was War
2 that ended the Depression for us. 1941-1945 although we began shipping materials to our natural allies in 1940. (In my own pantheon of demigods I
actually rank Sir Winston Churchill as the single MOST significant person of the 20th century, just ahead of FDR).
We had that which Europe did not have but which was essential to personal standing. Land and more land and yet more land. Even another of my admired
persons, Voltaire, had to have land to be fulfilled. Our first great acquisition of land came in 1785 when George III ceded to the US the land we
called the Northwest Territory. It contained the states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota. I do want to point
out the Continental Congress set aside every 16th section for public education, thereby creating a commitment to education that antedates the present
Constitution by 4 years. But alas, I digress.
In the first election under the current constitution we did not have political parties. It is frequently said George Washington was chosen
unanimously. I do not mean to detract from him, but only 10 states voted in the first election. NY, NC and RI did not adopt the new Con in time to be
included. There were 8 men who received one or more electoral votes for president. Washington did however carry majorities in all 10 states.
By the second election, America was divided into strong central government types - Federalists - and weak central government types, then called
Republicans and were followers of Jefferson and were later called Democratic-Republicans. After losing the 1800 election, the Federalists morphed into
the Whigs. By the 1840s, they had disappeared. We then had TWO Democratic parties. The Northern Dems who were anti-slavery and the Southern Dems who
were pro-slavery. That was the ONLY real issue dividing Americans. By 1856, a third party, the anti-slavery Republican Party had been formed. Lincoln
polled barley 39% of the popular vote in a 4 way race in 1860 to become our 16th president.
Although Grover Cleveland was twice elected as a Democrat, he was as much anti-labor as any Republican ever was. You might say the Republicans held
sway in America until the 1912 election. It fell to Republican Calvin Coolidge - 1923-1928, who was Harding’s vice president, to say it most
succinctly, “The business of government is business.”
The only time in American history when the LEFT held sway was 1932-1938. The New Deal under FDR. Johnson got a lot of important social legislation
passed - Medicare - in the post JFK era of remorse which ran from 1963 to 1968 but most of which was done in 1964-1966. All but one of the large labor
unions have been broken. The Teachers Union excepted but it is under constant attack from the Republican Party and anti-evolution Evangelicals.
Darwinism is a dirty word over here.
I’ve said a lot to say this: America is a conservative, capitalist society with a strong religious component. Reagan - 1980-1988 - had the goal of
disassembling the New Deal and Great Society. I would say he has 90% accomplished his goal. While the people want the protections government
regulations offer, they always fall for the Reagan slogans, “Less Government is Better” and his best, “Government is the problem not the
solution.” As the regulators died or retired, they have not been replaced. As you might have heard in the lead paint toy scandal revealed the
government had only ONE full time investigator and he operated out of a 40 year old smallish laboratory. Similar reductions in staff have all but
ended food inspections, and as you may have noticed, lack of bank auditors has allowed poor loans and the resulting mortgage meltdown.
America is a right wing state. The Dems are right wing, and the GOP is far right wing (reactionary) which accusation makes its followers all the
happier. Ron Paul, an unabashed Libertarian 10 times elected to Congress on the GOP ticket got 10% of the Iowa vote. He wants NO government at all.
Mike Huckabee quietly advocates what once was called the FLAT tax but when it failed to gain purchase, it was re-named the FAIR tax. (Not 100%
Two parties are deeply institutionalized in America. In the 20th century, only Teddy Roosevelt (1912) and Ralph Nader (2000) changed the presidential
outcomes. Only in 1860 did a 3rd party have any success in the 19th century. That’s only 3 out of 43! Democrat Billionaire Mike Bloomberg who
changed party and succeeded Rudy Giuliani as the Republican Mayor of NYC “thinks” he might run a third party bid in ‘08 if Giuliani does not get
the GOP nomination. The GOP convention is in early September. If he waits that long, he'll be wasting his money. I expect he will be guided more by
the February 5 Super Tuesday outcome when 40% of the delegates will be chosen.
[edit on 1/6/2008 by donwhite]