(As published in the Leavenworth Times, June, 2011)
Is it possible to be objective when describing the two parties as to how they operate, and how they are motivated? Can they be sketched in a few words? Let me try.
Democrats (Liberals) focus around the poor, the underprivileged, and the downtrodden – society’s victims. They want as many as possible of such people, and they want the government to help them, even support them. Because they help, they believe they have the moral high ground. The party includes labor unions, for which Democrats pass legislation that gives them advantages over their employers. They also help pro-choice women, minorities, illegal immigrants, drug users, and homosexuals by advocating their “rights” and striving to pass legislation to obtain those rights. They want the federal government to support the “poor” financially and try to obtain free health care, food, housing, and retirement for them. Of course, the more victims who vote, the more the Democrats ensure their power.
Big government implies a lot of federal employees, who also vote. Democrats favor that.
Where there are victims, there must be demons – those who hurt the victims. Democrats are forever demonizing people, businesses, and institutions. Among the demons are white people, businesses (the bigger, the more evil), capitalism, the wealthy, and conservatives.
Democrats are micro-managers — they don’t like businesses, and try to regulate them to death. They believe they are smarter than anyone else, including management of the businesses, and imagine they can use regulations to obtain a perfect outcome. They often encounter unintended consequences.
Democrats are dependent on the income redistribution model of government. Like modern day Robin Hoods, they take from the rich and give to the poor. There are many more poor than rich, which skews the vote toward the poor. The process breaks down somewhat when there aren’t enough rich people, or when rich people find ways to evade paying taxes. Lack of federal income doesn’t stop the Democrats – they just raise taxes on businesses, borrow money, or print it.
Republicans (Conservatives) want a smooth-running, capitalist economy. They know a strong economy guarantees high employment and brings in federal revenue. They believe in minimum interference from the federal government, with taxes – personal and business) as low as possible. They expect the federal government to provide a strong national defense. They want government finances to be managed properly. While they believe in a social safety net, they want as few people using it as possible. They admire traditional, Christian, family values. Marriage is sacred to them, and most don’t like abortions unless medically necessary. They begrudge “rights” for homosexuals, illegal immigrants, and drug users. They believe in individual responsibility, and want the “victims” to get off their couches and become useful members of society – earning their own way. They aren’t quite as sympathetic to minorities. They want labor/management rules to be balanced, and they don’t like having people forced to join unions in order to work. Conservatives claim the moral high ground because they want everything to work right and everyone to be a good, responsible citizen.
Republicans believe in smaller government, with fewer federal employees.
Republicans tend to demonize those who violate the law or ethical or moral rules. They abhor liberalism and the Left.
Republicans believe in the “Laissez Faire” (let it alone) approach to the economy. They like to give businesses free reign where possible, with few regulations and low taxes and tariffs. They want the wealthy to be taxed fairly. They mistrust bureaucrats to control anything intelligently.
Republicans want to cut the national debt, reduce the annual deficit in revenue to a balanced budget, and tax individuals and businesses only as much as is necessary. To them, income redistribution should be minimized.
Republicans hope to obtain their votes from intelligent, “right-thinking” people who believe in capitalism and personal prosperity. Sometimes such people are in short supply. Republican politicians are human, however, and often support subsidies and block grants – buying votes in the process.
Independents (Moderates) are confused by all this and go one way, then the other. Actually, most people are confused by all this. Many Republicans don’t fully understand conservative principles – study George W. Bush and John McCain as examples. Rarely, a Democrat has a lucid moment and (temporarily) believes in fiscal responsibility. They may also pretend to believe in it during election campaigns.
In summary, Republicans think our country is on the road to disaster, while Democrats wonder “What’s the problem?”. That’s why they never reach a consensus.