Friday, March 04, 2016

More About Two Parties

My wife commented that the Republican Party establishment is overriding the voters to oust Trump because otherwise they will lose the general election. Assuming that to be true, which I’m not sure it is, that still is oligarchy rather than democracy.

Republican voters have long had a set of overriding principles. I don’t happen to agree with those principles, but I rather admire their willingness to lose elections when needed to send a message to their elected representatives that they expect them to abide by those principles. “Do what we elected you to do or we will throw you out of office.”

Democrats not so much. For one thing, if you put five Democrats in a room you will get six or seven sets of overriding principles. In any case, if a Democrat is elected to office and acts like a Republican, the Democratic voters might complain but will reelect him rather than risk losing an election. “Vote for anybody so long as they have a D after their name.”

The Democrats have been playing a “divide and survive” game for years, dividing their voters into many factions, making it much less likely that they will get thrown out for their demonstrated inability to govern.

No two legislators run on the same issue, or set of issues, so voters are fragmented into small splinter groups rather than being united behind one unifying set of ideals. As a result, their voters don’t know what they want their legislators to do, and are therefor not disappointed when they don’t do it. They just know, because this is the one unifying theme of Democratic legislators, that they do not want Republicans to win.

Now the Republican establishment is moving to the Democratic model, splintering the voters by throwing a plethora of candidates at them and campaigning on the horror of a Hillary Clinton presidency, and when the voters seem to be doing their usual thing of unifying behind one candidate the establishment frantically tries to unseat the people’s chosen candidate. In a democracy, if the people want to choose a losing candidate the party would be obliged to allow them to do so, whereas in an oligarchy we have the open admission that the establishment does not want the common voters to be in charge.

And nominating a losing candidate might very well be a perfectly logical choice for voters wanting to send a message to its party leadership that they have taken the party where the voters do not want it to be and willing to surrender control of the executive for four years in order to send that message.

“What we are doing is not working and we need to stop doing it. Even if the new thing is wrong, at least it’s different, and we are not merely repeating the same stupidity,” is a valid message. Democratic leadership is rejecting that message somewhat more subtly than are Republicans, but both parties are vigorously rejecting it.

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