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Moving Day - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Feb. 3rd, 2005

07:55 pm - Moving Day

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From:erikforperson
Date:February 4th, 2005 08:45 pm (UTC)
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What's lost in this debate over the left is the oft-missed point that the Republican party is a coalition bound to fall apart. There are many on the right who vote Republican because they lean more towards a libertarian point of view, and want nothing to with the evangelical side of things, which is way overblown by the media at this point. There are many more traditional small-government, fiscally conservative Republicans who are uncomfortable with many of Bush's policies. In fact, it's strange to see Bush use a lot of the rhetoric of the small-government side of the party (especially in tax reform, or this Social Security business), yet turn around and spend, spend, spend. And at the rate he continues to cut taxes, there are those on the right who do not like this method to his madness. In other words, the Republican party and the right is not as united as it wants to be, or appears to be in the mainstream media.

For those familiar with political theory - both abstract and historically based - one commonly held axiom is that political parties (and this is true throughout the history of our two-party system) tend to hold stronger when the opposition is stronger. In other words, look at how the left unites in opposition to Bush, despite our many differences and dissatisfactions with the Democratic party. In turn, the right remains solid behind the Republicans in opposition to the Democrats.

What happens if the left falls apart? Let's say current Democrats abandon the party for the Greens, or even more unlikely, the Democrats actually move back to the left to shore their up traditional base?

More than likely, middle-of-the-road voters go to the the Republicans. But the Republican tent is not large enough to serve all newcomers, or even all of its current factions, and eventually the Republicans splinter, especially without a firm opposition on the left. What comes out in the end is very possibly a 3-party system - a lefty party, a right-wing party, and a centrist party. This would be the ideal situation, as then no party could get anything done without concessions to the other.

Not likely, I know, but regardless, the historical lesson is this: all realignments in our history have been voter based. With only one or two exceptions, politicians do not form new parties or dramatically change platforms on their own. Such changes are always reactions to dramatic shifts in voter allegiances. So, if we want change, the only way is with our vote. Hanging on blindly to the Democrats isn't going to bring it around.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 6th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Interestingly something like this has apparently happened at the Champaign County Board. Before the recent election the 27 person board was dominated by Democrats 15-12. Greens ran against three of the Democrats which, if we'd all won, would have made the board 12-12-3 and a coalition would have to be formed to create a majority. Of course, none of us won. The Democrats lost one seat elsewhere to make the board 15-13. But in the end, after the Democratic party hemmed and hawed about how dangerous that kind of loss of majority would be...3 Democrats (including my opponent) broke ranks with their party and allied with the Republicans in order to prevent the Chairperson apparent from getting elected.

So now our County Board is essentially a 3 party system even though it only has Democrats and Republicans because of these three rogue Democrats who vote as a bloc.
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From:mathuaerknedam
Date:February 8th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
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I don't understand why Libertarians are associated with Republicans, or why anyone with libertarian leanings would feel strongly about voting Republican*. As a person who agrees with almost every plank of the Libertarian platform, I'm much more drawn to the Greens (or even Democrats).

(*Philosophically, Libertarians should have as much in common with Dems as Reps. One shares economic liberalism, the other social liberalism.)
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From:zarfmouse
Date:February 8th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Well it's just that traditionally and demographically, the Libertarian Party has drawn more voters from Republicans (e.g. Libertarian candidates tend to do better in predominantly republican precincts) just as the Green Party has drawn more voters from the Democrats. It's annoying to talk in those terms though because Greens draw Libertarians and Republicans and Libertarians draw Democrats and Greens. Greens and Libertarians have very different and novel political philosophies from either the Republicans or Democrats. It's hard to say the Republicans or Democrats really even have a clear political philosophy given that their marketting image, their rhetoric, and their actions are so totally out of sync.

The Greens and Libertarians are both broad parties with appeal to a wide variety of types of people.

So who "should" be drawn to the parties and who has "historically" been drawn to the parties are two different things.
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