Wednesday, March 30, 2016

An Argument For The End Of Political Parties In The United States

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The Basics: U.S. political parties have outlived their usefulness.

Recently, when I wrote my article #GOPDraftHillary (that's here, check it out!), I had a bit of an epiphany. In arguing that Hillary Clinton's voting record as a Southern Democrat was much more in line with that of a moderate Republican and exploring the idea that both major political parties in the United States are at risk of nominating a candidate that either alarms their establishment or upsets their base. The liberal core of the Democratic Party does not want Hillary Clinton to represent them, hence the rise of the Bernie Or Bust Democratic Movement - a group of voters who have let the Democratic Party know that if Hillary Clinton is their party's nominee, they will not vote for her. On the other side, the establishment Republicans have become fearful that Donald Trump might get enough delegates to become their nominee and they are alarmed that he might not be someone they could keep in line; they do not like the idea of what he might do to their organization.

These two trends - a nominee members of the party do not want and a nominee that the organizers of the party do not want - force the question: what is the point of political parties in the United States today?

The Concept Of Political Parties

Political parties have a remarkably simple concept; groups of people associate with a common agenda in order to create blocks of political power. Political parties give clout to widespread ideas that translate into political action: a citizen in Vermont votes for a representative advocating an idea as part of a political party because they trust that idea might translate into law because that candidate has the backing of the political party. The concept of a political party is that people are standing together for a common good and a philosophy of laws that no single member of Congress could ever achieve.

The Execution Of Political Parties

Political parties have grown to be multi-billion dollar organizations that are less concerned with representing any form of core values and are, instead, concerned with perpetrating their own power and control. While there is something inherently respectable about the spirit of inclusion that led former President Bush to campaign on a "big tent" platform, the Republican Party that he was a part of has been systematically hijacked and converted into an unrecognizable political entity. The Republican Party was once a collection of political activists that were pro-small government with an economically conservative platform of fiscal responsibility; the elected officials within the Republican Party have racked up the world's largest debts and now campaign almost exclusively on issues of national defense, anti-abortion, anti-woman, anti-choice, pro-Evangelical Christian, anti-gay legislation. These are all big government concepts that place the federal government in the role of moral police who are highly interventionist.

The Democratic Party has become no better. The sitting Democratic President supports big business interests, has mortgaged the environment and has one of the weakest stances on gun control that, with rising numbers of mass shootings while on his watch, gun regulation has not increased and several laws that were in effect have lapsed. The Democratic Party has been so ineffectual over the last thirty years that only now is the Democratic Party fighting to reclaim both the terms of debate and the moral and legislative ground it won over the prior fifty years. While Democrats have been in power, social progress has been stunted, educational initiatives have been de-funded, social programs have been shuttered and environmental protections have been sold off to allow big businesses to return to raping the environment.

Despite no longer representing any clear core values that translate into consistent legislation and/or executive actions regarding legislation, both the Democratic and Republican Parties continue to bring in billions of dollars in revenue each year. The effective result is that donors throw their money at two big businesses that have a sole function: to perpetrate themselves. If political parties do no convert donations and political capital into consistent, clear results, their only result is their own existence and that is the most consistent result of the two major political parties. They exist, not to represent the people they are supposed to serve, but rather, to keep themselves alive as a political entity. Their attitude of "we are the only legitimate political parties" exhibits a mentality where power and control are their truest, most consistent agendas.

Why The Death Of The Two Major Political Parties Could Benefit The United States

So, why then should we continue to have and support political parties? If nothing else, the 2016 Presidential election cycle makes the argument that we should not continue to support the two-party system and that the existing Republican and Democratic Parties deserve to die as corporate entities. If the Republican Party does not like the candidate who will represent them and the bulk of new blood flocking to the Democratic Party wants a candidate other than those within the Party establishment is pushing upon them, the answer is clear; both parties should splinter.

A four-way race in the U.S. Presidential contest could be the best thing to happen to both the United States and the two major political parties in decades. The Sanders campaign progressing beyond the Democratic Party would force the Democrats to actually take a stand for something. They would either solidify their effective views as a pro-business conglomerate that occupies the space that moderate Republicans used to, while those who are actually liberal would flock to Sanders's new party or they would be compelled to actually return to their core values with actions as opposed to their empty rhetoric. On the Republican side, Trump supporters could rally for whatever pro-business, anti-woman, bullying platform they wanted and the Tea Party/Republicans could figure out how to differentiate themselves with a candidate they could both control and represent their interests beyond the one election cycle.

The two major political parties have the potential now to ruin themselves as citizens become both more politically educated and politically involved. That makes the Republican Party terrified because they have long preyed upon the ignorance of their members; it terrifies the Democratic Party because their ineffectual, milquetoast record in recent decades is easily exposed as counter to the values of its membership. Both major political parties are on notice and find themselves in perilous positions that have exposed them as the frauds they are; citizens deserve better and this election cycle they are becoming astute enough to notice how poorly they have been served.

For other political articles, please check out:
Why Bernie Sanders Will Be The Next President Of The United States
An Open Letter To Senator Elizabeth Warren
Why Modern Libertarianism Is Disastrous For The United States

For other commentary and reviews, please check out my Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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