America needs six political parties.
What I mean is, if our political system were fundamentally changed in some way so that parties other than the Democrats and Republicans would have a chance, we would probably end up with six major parties.
(The only way this scenario would even work is if we switched to a European style system where a party would get a percentage of Congressional seats based on percentages of votes cast for the party…or something like that. Don’t quote me on the details!!!)
The Democrats and Republicans would still hold the moderate positions they hold now. Each party might pretend to hold more radical ideas, and their enemies regularly accuse them of such, but when it comes down to it, they stick to the safe positions. They won’t make any big changes to the system, they’ll just make noise about it.
Conveniently for both groups, the lack of any real change can be blamed on the other party. The Republicans won’t really outlaw abortion completely, and when they don’t, they can blame it on the meddling liberal Democrats. Democrats don’t have to really propose or vote in any actual social services, because they can always say that the Republicans won’t let them.
This really pisses off the voters on both sides. They start calling their representatives “sellouts” and bitching about how we need third parties.
Well, I agree, kinda. But we need more than one more party.
So, why six parties? I just think that’s how many major groups of political thought we’re looking at. In reality we’d end up with a bunch of little parties too but these would be the major players.
Well, look at the Republicans. If you take all the reasonable moderates out of the right wing, you’re left with two different “conservative” groups, which I will call the Libertarians and the Theocrats.
The Libertarians are a familiar group already, believing specifically in getting government to leave people alone as much as possible. They would not only be in favor of lowering taxes and deficits, like Republicans, but they would also champion such causes as legalizing victimless crimes, which is a big draw these days.
The Theocrats is the party that all the overly religious would flock to. Maybe they would believe in lowering taxes and all that boring fiscal stuff initially; but their focus is bringing America back to God. They want to make America a Christian nation.
That doesn’t imply the government leaving you alone at all; on the contrary, if the Theocrats had their way, they’d be all up in your face every time they could get away with it. They’d test your pee for drugs and give you the evil eye if you wore something that looked a little gay. If it was up to them, alcohol would still be illegal and all the women would stay home and have babies and all the infidels would mysteriously disappear. They’d pass a durned law every time they turned around.
(Try Googling “Cromwell” and “English Reformation” and “Puritans” if you’d like to research how this went down for the English in the 1600’s.)
Ironically, if the Theocrats really believed in outlawing abortion, and put their money where their mouth is, they’d have to institute a very generous welfare system and raise taxes to maintain it. (This is why Republicans don’t really want to outlaw abortion, because then you’ve got to take care of a bunch of kids, and that’s expensive.) And if they want to regulate everyone’s social life, that’d take spies, which would take money, which would mean raising taxes.
Or they could criminalize sex. I wouldn’t put it past them. They love to turn people into criminals; that’s what religion is about, after all! But prisons take money, too. Heck, it’s the 20th century American Puritans that got our prisons so full already from the misguided Drug War. There’s your “Christian Nation” for ya!
Now let’s look at the leftist side. I believe the left wing would split up in a similar way to the right wing. Let’s call their two extra parties the Socialists and the Greens. (Yes, I know those already exist.)
The Socialists would be in favor of social programs to better the country. They would be in favor of welfare (or some kind of decent safety net), nationalized health care, higher wages, support for unions, and all those nice things that Democrats used to pretend to care about. They might raise taxes but they’d hopefully be using them to better the country and provide services for Americans.
The Greens would be a different story. They’d have their focus on the environment, not necessarily people, and although it’s a good idea to clean up the environment, sometimes environmentalists have some pretty fucked up ideas. They’re the left’s version of the Theocrats.
I got an insight into this when I spoke to a woman in the Green party who said if it was up to her, people would have to pay a fine for wasting electricity and leaving the lights on when no one is using them. A shudder went down my back. She didn’t even consider whether people could afford those fines, or how much it would enrage people to be snooped on that much. I don’t want some government drone peering over my electric bill to tell me I’m using too much power, or telling me what kind of car to drive, or any of that.
I’ve seen a couple of examples lately of laws here in Hawaii enacted to help the environment that are just stupid.
The first was the mandate to put ethanol in the gasoline. Normally most of us wouldn’t care what’s in the gasoline as long as our cars keep running, but there’s some evidence that ethanol shortens the life of the engines that it’s used in. Boat owners here in Hawaii are extra mad, claiming that the ethanol is ruining their engines; and I know my husband’s chainsaw died extra fast after having ethanol laced gas in it. If you have to replace cars faster because the engine is messed up from ethanol, you force people to buy more cars, and how much energy does it take to make a new car?
The other law that sticks in my craw is the proposed shopping bag ban. I don’t know about you, but I use my plastic shopping bags as trash bags. If there’s no shopping bags, I have to not only buy a reusable bag for my groceries, but I also have to buy trash bags instead of recycling a bag from the store.
Ok, sorry about rambling there, but you get the idea. It’s my blog and I can go off topic if I want to.
Aside from the Democrats and Republicans, both left and right has a potential for one slightly more radical party that’s still sane and one really out there party that would cause more government intervention and make our lives hell.
So when someone says, “We need a third party!” Say, “No, we need four more parties, at least!”