A Case for Political Parties

Political parties, in a vacuum, aren’t a bad thing in and of themselves. What makes them bad is a combination of corruption and blind loyalty to Party brand.

Republicans kind of have it easy. They are the Party of Big Business and the 1%. They embrace that role, and that’s where they get all of their campaign funding. That’s their true constituency.

But you’re never going to win any elections that way. Corporations can’t vote. So, if your constituency is the top 1%, you’re going to get 1% of the vote. You need to trick people into voting against their own economic self interests.

So they promote wedge issues. They tell racists that immigrants are coming for their jobs and terrorists are going to kill their children in their beds, and they tell misogynists that women need to be put in their place, and they tell evangelicals that abortions are happening on every street corner and they tell country folk that the Democrats are coming for your guns and it all. Must. Be. Stopped. Right. Now.

So, racists and misogynists and the rural poor and the evangelical Right vote for people who will cut taxes for the owners of their companies and slash their own benefits. The number of greeters at Walmart who vote Republican and don’t understand that they need SNAP subsidies because Walmart won’t pay them a living wage is staggering. And then the Republicans they voted for? Want to cut SNAP. Because abortion happens everywhere. All the time. It’s a scam.

And Democrats make it so easy for them to do.

Because the Democratic base is a pretty liberal group. We all want universal socialized healthcare and public college education and regulations on the criminals on Wall St and restrictions on predatory lending and robust unions that force companies to share the wealth made from our sweat. We all want a less belligerent foreign policy that maybe doesn’t create quite so many terrorists as we do today. And can we all get on board with the idea that polluting the ground water with fracking waste is just a bad idea?

The base is united. We all agree on these things. Which makes it very odd that the Democratic establishment continues to pony up candidates who are against all of those policy ideas. Every one of them.

It’s odd, until you realize that the major donors of the party all profit heavily from the candidate’s hostility to those policy planks. Then it starts to make sense.

So, if the economic and foreign policies of the candidate are watered-down conservative responses to those issues, the base is going to be, at best, apathetic towards that candidate. All that’s left to run on are the social wedge issues that the Republicans want to use to distract from their economic policies anyway.

And so, elections become a bad joke, where the economic and foreign policy conservative with a (D) is running against an economic and foreign policy conservative with an (R), and all they are doing is fighting over social wedge issues that split the country down the middle.

Democrats could hold the high ground in every one of those conversations, if they just represented the base of their own Party, and started campaigning on the economic and foreign policy issues we already agree with. But they won’t, because their donors are the same donors who donate to the Republicans.

At this point, we don’t have opposing political parties anymore. Not really. We have one Party — The Party of Corporate Interest — with two wings. A Social Conservative wing, and a socially liberal wing. As far as the policy that makes the wheels of industry, commerce, and the economy work, they are in lock step.

This is what’s wrong with the suggestion that you vote Blue, no matter what. Sometimes, the Blue candidate is as big a schmuck as the Red candidate. Sometimes bigger. And neither of them will represent your interests where it really counts. They are paid very well to be hostile to those interests, and distract you with social issues their donors don’t really care about.

See, I believe trying to get Democrats to give us better, more progressive candidates by supporting the neocon candidates they give us currently is a bad strategy. They have no incentive to give us anything better than they are, if we’ll support them anyway. It’s only by demanding better candidates, or no vote for you, that they will hear our demands.

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