America’s two-party political system worked remarkably well until recently. Unlike most nations who have gone through all manner of revolutions, rule by despots, booms and busts, the USA has been (save for the Civil War) stable and improving since it was founded.
But something feels different now, not only culturally, but also politically. 50 years ago the Democrat and Republican parties were both made up of conservatives, moderates and liberals. Cross-party coalitions were not only possible, they were routine. Policy moved forward, generally in the best interests of the majority of citizens.
Think back – president John Kennedy was a conservative Democrat who believed in free markets, small government, exploiting natural resources, and peace through a strong military. Nelson Rockefeller was a liberal Republican who served as Gerald Ford’s vice-president. When America elected a president, all of our citizens coalesced behind him, regardless of party, presenting a united front to the world and joining forces to advance the well-being of all.
Those days are gone. Today’s Republican party is still made up of a few liberals, a few conservatives, and the rest moderates. Because of these ideological differences, and the fact that Republicans are a more independent lot, they will never vote as a bloc. But the Democrats have adopted a tactic that requires monolithic devotion to their hard-left leadership. They must bloc vote against anything proposed by Republicans. Last week’s votes on the future of health care are proof. Until the Republicans can muster a core group that outnumbers the bloc-voting Democrats, there is no chance of meaningful policy change. And that won’t happen any time soon.
This state of affairs was inevitable as money became a greater influence over congress than the will of constituents. As voters became less engaged and knowledgeable about government, party bosses learned that political offices can be bought, through slick and often dishonest campaign advertising, and also through policy that patronizes voters who don’t pay taxes with largess from those who do.
Money now rules politics, and the party bosses control the money. A house campaign costs a minimum of $1 million these days, and candidates for senate offices will spend $5 million and up. And these numbers ratchet up exponentially with every election. Spending more than the competition does not guarantee a win (Hillary Clinton reportedly spent $1.2 billion on her losing campaign), but failure to raise a war chest usually promises defeat.
The few voters who are engaged can’t contribute this kind of money, and the low-cost old-school practice of door-to-door campaigning just doesn’t work like it once did. The Democrats find themselves having to pay for “protestors” to advance their messaging.
With few exceptions, anyone who wants to become a congressman or senator (and stay there), must have the money that only K Street, deep pocket donors, and the party leaders can provide. As a result, true representative government is totally dead in the Democrat party, and barely breathing in the GOP, thanks only to the life support system known as the House Freedom Caucus.
The situation has the Capitol, the press, and a good portion of the general public totally disoriented. On top of that, our executive branch, elected on good intentions, can’t seem to stay on task. Meanwhile, our treasured public institutions – schools, churches, military, media – flounder around in a fog.
We know from history that when there is disorientation and discomfort with the status quo it can’t and won’t continue. Change is inevitable. Something is going to happen, probably something nobody has anticipated.
It might be a direct change forced upon our system of government. More likely it will be an unanticipated outside event – a war, a new technology, a financial disaster, an epidemic. Who knows? Maybe a space ship full of little green men will land in front of the Capitol.
My life experience has shown me that there’s no point getting too upset about the way things are, because things will change.
And right now, a change would do us good. As long as it’s not the change that happened to Russia, China and all the other socialist failures.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
I’ve been thinking ’bout catching a train,
Leave my phone machine by the radar range,
“Hello it’s me, I’m not at home,
If you’d like to reach me, leave me alone.”
A change (a change) will do you good!
Sheryl Crow – A Change Will Do You Good
Interesting – watch this great amateur video of Sheryl live from the front row. The instruments and vocals are picked up from amps and stage monitors, not the big main cabinets the rest of the audience hears. This is what it sounds like to the performers on stage.