Guess who I am talking about. A major U.S. party runs a charismatic candidate, with populist appeal, for president. The Congressional candidates ride the presidential candidate’s coat tails all the way to Washington DC. Once they win, they start spending and printing money with little concern for the economic impact that will follow. Depending on what the stock market is doing, they may either pass a small tax increase or decrease, but nothing substantial. The lack of concrete change on real and systemic issues is completely ignored by the public, and it becomes obvious that this candidate was solely elected to appoint partisan judges and spew polarizing rhetoric.
If you guessed the Republican Party, you’re wrong. If you guessed the Democratic party, you would also be wrong. If you guessed both parties, Congratulations, you would be one of the few Americans, who has realized that the two party system is nothing more than a horse and pony show…or you’re just a cynic.
Walk into most highschool civics classes and sit in for a lesson about U.S. political parties. You’ll probably start at the riff between Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, which philosophically evolved into the modern day Repubican vs Democrat debate. You will be told that the feud between them is based mostly on theory. The republicans believe that government is a necessary evil that should be feared, and aim to keep it small to decrease the chances of tyranny. The Democrats believe that government can be a force of good in the world, using its power benevolently to destroy injustices and improve the quality of life for all.
On paper, this is mostly true. The official party platforms, with a few outliers, confirm this highschool history teacher/swimming coach’s assessment; however, when taking a look at the actual history, and actions taken once elected, this analysis starts to crumble. Truth be told, there is no difference in theory between the two parties, and the disparities can be summed up as a difference in scope and not a conflict of values.
You would expect that a believer in small government, once elected, would push for massive income tax cuts, spending cuts, return of power to the state, and a decrease in the national deficit. These expectations, while reasonable according to the platform, never come to fruition. Donald Trump’s administration has, per year, spent more than Barack Obama. Barack Obama spent more than George Bush. George Bush spent more than Bill Clinton. The list continues through history, regardless of partisan affiliation, all the way back to the godfather of federal spending, Franklin Roosevelt.
Conversely, it would be fair to assume that a democratic president would use their power to expand the rights of liberty and freedom to all. In reality, the democratic party has done very little to liberate the people it vows to protect. Most democrats in office today are on record of being against gay marriage, and didn’t support it until they started loosing votes. They’ve done nothing to reform the welfare system that stagnates impoverished inner-city communities, overwhelmingly ignore, like their opposition, the push to legalize recreational marijuana, and refuse to repeal qualified immunity. Instead, they opt to use their time to fight conservatives in twitter comments and instagram live videos, while doing very little to actually help anyone.
Publicly the two parties agree on nothing. They rally the masses into arguing about common sense things like wearing masks during a pandemic and whether there is a difference between utilizing the first amendment and destroying public property. Privately, they agree that gerrymandering is acceptable, state sponsored primaries are fine, and that the power of the federal government should be monopolized between the two, instead of having a true open discourse.
Through these locked doors the true philosophy of our major parties is hidden, and their personal theory on human nature is revealed. Keep the people distracted, angry, and voting, and get drunk on the power of overly expansive federal government, while doing so.
It’s no coincidence that the everyday American knows virtually nothing about the Social Security bubble, or that the Federal Government essentially created the student loan crisis by trying to “help”. Their time is occupied by reposting Facebook memes about wearing masks and triggering snowflakes. Then, when real issues arrive on the public scene, the people are forced into a cookie-cutter all or nothing solution.
There’s never any discussion of low voter turnout across the nation, or active suppression of third party candidates. No news networks will cover federal overreach or congressional term limits. These issues aren’t in the discourse cause they don’t make people fight, and that’s the goal. Confrontation, especially in situations of dire consequences, naturally lends itself to the creation of two sides. This is why World War II was a battle of Axis vs Allies and not a geopolitical royal rumble. The major difference between now and the last noble war being that the weapons are rhetoric and legislation and the enemy is the war itself.
Michael A. Romano