2005/01/18

Why the Democrats Must Not Go Right

I am a Green, and as a Green I feel the Democrats aren't all liberal as Republicans say they are. While the elites of the party express more liberal views than their constituency (most Democrats are moderate to conservative, and the party on whole is far more conservative than the Republicans are liberal) the party is not all that different than the Republican Party. Many are pro-lifers, even a few evangelists and there are a whole lot of military Democrats, especially in my town where we have navy, marine, and just up the road an hour, army bases.

Because of what happened in the past two presidential elections, we can look to the Democrats to start slowly (probably over the next two or three elections) make the move rightward. Kerry, for being the "liberal" he was, was not all that liberal when compared to Clinton--universal healthcare comes to mind; Clinton supported it, Kerry did not. If the Democrats wish to win elections, they're going to have to sift off some conservative votes. They're definitely not getting any votes from the ideological liberal third parties like the Greens (and the Democrats of course tried pawning off failure in 2000 onto Nader and his followers). Let's face it, unless Senator Kennedy or Howard Dean are suddenly nominated to the head of the DNC, the party's going to be making rightward movement to pick up some moderately conservative votes.

This brings up a couple of questions: what happens to the portion of Democrats that are liberal? Well, I'm not really sure but there are a couple of possibilities. First, and most likely, the liberal Democrats will just go right with the rest of the party. This isn't to say that they will change their views on politics, but that for the "sake of the country," they will hang on to the party and move with it wherever it goes. The second option would be a bit more ideological; Democrats could move left and beef up the Green party. Rumor has it that Nader's also starting his own party before the next election--he left the Greens in a horrid schism before the last primaries, completely crushing the party, splitting it down the middle.

What will this do to the Republicans and the Greens? No doubt, if the Democrats are able to mobilize themselves well enough (something the Republicans shouldn't be worried about) they will undoubtedly do harm to the Republicans, sifting off some extraneous votes. It would take a lot of work on their part to attract the Republican "moral" base, however. Most likely, the Democrats would get the independents, who tend to be moderately conservative, and many Republicans who are economically conservative and opposed to the war (my neighbor is one such person, and she voted Democrat this past year). As far as the Green party is concerned, this movement will either boost the party enormously or completely decimate it. As the Democrats move further right, many liberals could move Green-ward, or the party as a whole could sucker them into believing the Greens are the cause of their demise as has happened in the past.

But what does this mean for democracy?

Unlike fascism or totalitarianism, democracy thrives on conflict. The only reason for its existence is conflict between political factions and social cleavages. If this conflict, or not the right amount of it, does not exist, one ideology, one party will take over and control the government. This is happening now; the Republicans control the Congress, the judicial branch, and the governorships as well as most local governments around the country. There is little internal conflict between political elites and not enough strong resistance from the outside of the political machine. It appears to me that there is only one other time in American history when this occurred--the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He was in control of Congress as well as most state governments, and pushing to stack the judiciary. While FDR is my favorite president and I agree wholeheartedly with his ideals, it was a good thing for our system of government that Republicans made such a huge fuss about his power grab. Why can't the piggish Republican Party let everyone else do that now? It's just not in human nature to give ground willingly to those with conflicting interests.

This clearly means that if the Democrats move any more right than they are now, it will be the end of whatever democracy we think we have. With the Democrats as a conservative instead of a moderate party, there will be no strong voice to speak out against overwhelming conservatism. Perhaps it will be to the benefit of the nation; after all, totalitarianism is so much more efficient than discussion.

5 Comments:

Green? Did you say "GREEENNN"? Man, just when we had settled on this blue pastel look for our blog ....

Hey, you know, here in France, for the first time ever the 1001 different factions of the Greens at last agreed on a "Secrétaire". Not at all what you might rightly assume to be, i.e. a dumb blonde with a generous rear-end bending over the desk, but "secrétaire" of a party here means the elected representative.

In this case, a 33 year old guy from Alsace (north east of France, next to Germany, in case your name is Bush is you don't know where to place Antartica on the globe map).

Saw him on TV, heard him. Sounds like a cool dude. At least he's at last got the unanimous vote from all the factions, so with some luck, they can now start demolishing McDonalds stores and burning down GMO crops on a grand scale without José Bové finding himself in jail every time. :-)
1/19/2005 12:55:00 am  
I became totally disgusted with the Democrats well into this last presidential campaign. The differences between these two parties already are miniscule. The most vocal protestors of Mr. Bush today are Progressives, Greens and a few Democrats. Many Democrats are already trying to find a way to join hands with the right for the sake of the country (as you say). Indeed many Democrats stopped blogging after the election. They just gave up.

My take on things...

I have little use for so called democracy. It is what it is...the majority rules..51%.

There's little hope for liberty in America within the two party system and the current electoral process. The checks and balances are no longer working. There is no hope for 'another' party to rise with influence under this system of government.

The monarchist militarist are winning. How long before we see private armies and suspension of Constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression, press, assembly, association? In fact, aren't we already seeing this?

I'm for whatever it takes be it resolution, reformism or revolution. Some tell me to butt out because I live in France. But, the US under the current administration is imperialist and that affects us all no matter where we live in the world. The fight is against injustice wherever we find it and that includes America.
1/19/2005 12:29:00 pm  
"vive la revolucion!" (sp? not sure lol. there's a special coming on the history chanel on sat about the french revolution. sounds an awful lot like modern day america. the event leading up to it that is. to bad they did away be-headings)
1/19/2005 02:16:00 pm  
"vive la revolucion!" (sp? : revolution)

Yeah, off with their heads!

You know, I wonder if it won't have to come down to that in the US, the way things are going.
1/19/2005 02:49:00 pm  
Viva la revolucion--Espagnole!

I sure hope it doesn't come to that... all the people with their SUVs, assault rifles, and security guard armies would kick all our liberal gun-control asses. I'll be the first to admit, I'd buy a couple arms if martial law were to be instated. I may be against guns, but I don't want to die.
1/19/2005 08:10:00 pm  

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