Sunday, September 4, 2011

Have The Democratic & Republican Parties Become Outdated?

Since their inceptions the Democratic and Republican Parties have existed as broad, diverse coalitions. While distinct factions existed within each party, the goal was to unite to pursue shared goals. But, over time, differences within the parties have become more pronounced and at times they may be greater than the differences between parties. For example, as a conservative I should be drawn towards the Republican Party, but I find its religious and militarist (neoconservative) factions as alienating as the statist and ethno-political activists within the Democratic Party. It now may now be time to break up the two great "political conglomerates" and create smaller, more cohesive political parties that could cross (the old Democratic-Republican) party lines and pursue common points of interest. Individuals would need not confine themselves to a single "micro-issue" party, but would presumably gravitate towards several parties that promoted their various points of interest. If we were to break up the unwieldy conglomerates, the following political parties would form:

The Economic Freedom Alliance would be focused on promoting limited federal intervention in the marketplace, greater fiscal responsibility and a more moderate tax burden. In order to not risk becoming another "conglomerate," it would remain neutral on social issues, allowing its members to turn to other parties to express their social visions. They may be able to cooperate with social democrats on pursuing the elimination of corporate welfare (subsidies and selective tax breaks). 

The Social Democratic Party, would be a rallying point for those who believe in greater government intervention in the private sector and a more robust welfare state. By remaining neutral on social issues, it might draw in working class Evangelical Christians who used to form a key component in progressive economic movements.

The Christian Democratic Party would be a rallying point for those who promote social conservative positions and seek to reaffirm the role of Christian values in American society. 

The Progressive Social Front would represent citizens focused on issues of gay rights, women rights, etc. Both economic libertarians and social democrats could overlook their sharp differences in economic issues to curb the role of the state in regulating individual social choice. 

The Nanny Dearest Party would be an alliance between the social conservatives and "nannyocracy" progressives who look to maintain the war on drugs, tight control of gambling and other federal efforts to protect us from ourselves. 

The Legalize It Party is the arch nemesis of the Nanny Dearest Party. 

The Neoconservative Movement.would provide a home for those who still believed that the federal government should engage in nation building and an interventionist foreign policy. I suspect that this faction never enjoyed wide spread popular support and was only able to survive by gaining the support of the upper echelon of the Republican Party. Lacking broad popular support, I anticipate that they would wither in a relatively short period of time. 

The Thomas Jefferson (Non-Intervention) Party would provide a voice for the many Americans who are deeply opposed to the bi-partisan support of nation building, excessive foreign intervention and militarism. A great many Americans who sharply disagree on cultural and economic issues would lend their support to this party.

The Afro-American Alliance and Hispanic People's Party would create formal parties for those whose focus is on narrow ethno-identity politics, rather than broad national welfare. I predict that the strength of these factions were primarily derived from their participation in the broad Democratic Party coalition. A surprisingly large number of Democrats support the enforcement of existing immigration laws, but were willing to overlook their party elite's support of amnesty in order to maintain the cohesiveness of their coalition. Especially considering that many African-Americans and Hispanics are patriotic Americans whose focus is on broad national interests, I am confident that outside of the protective confines of a progressive coalition, these factions would shrivel. 

The 10th Amendment (State's Right) Movement would provide a voice for those who believe that greater good occurs when the majority of divisive social and economic issues are resolved at a local and state level. In most cases they would rally against intrusive law suites from the left and right that thwarted the will of local communities to determine their destiny.

Having observed Israeli Politics for many years, I do not harbor illusions about multi-party systems, for they possess their own fundamental defects. In heavily divided, coalition systems, small factions are often able to exercise a disproportionate influence. For example, in order to form a working coalition, Israel's larger secular parties have to acquiesce to the demands of religious parties, such as exemption from military service for the Haredim. But, a system that offers greater flexibility and choice may be more conducive towards addressing the fiscal and political ills that beleaguer us.

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