Monday, October 24, 2005

Whatever Will They Do

In order to gain perspective, everyone should read this on the Democratic Party and this on the Tory Party. (That’s in England. Where Labour leader Tony Blair won the past 3 elections. He’s on the left.)

England and America are probably the two most culturally similar countries to eachother that they could find. Yet in one country the media acts like the right is completely dead, and in the other the Dems have given up the ghost. The point being: people need to calm down.

The left here has lost a few elections on narrow tactical margins, and the right there has lost a few elections because they’re disorganized and the margins are getting narrower. These things simply happen. The problem is the media and pundit class equate “inability to propose legislation” with “powerless and lack of ideas” and then play up any story of the day to reflect that angle. It’s pretty ugly, and doesn’t reflect that things could switch back any day. There is no reason to believe in perpetual conservative government here, or perpetual populist/left government there.

And unfortunately, for certain views of democracy, it’s just as important that people believe in a vibrant opposition party as that it actually exists. The opposition has to act as a credible check against the majority so that the majority doesn’t do stupid and/or corrupt things. Even if the opposition controls 49% of government and may very well get elected the next term, if the meme of “oh those Democrats/Conservatives can’t do anything about what we propose” dominates the media and party leaders, then the party in power will do whatever they damn well please.

2 Comments:

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Both Parties Blow said...

Wouldn't it be great if the two major parties didn't effectively block all true opposition? It doesn't really matter which party is in power at any given time. They will both do nearly the same things, even if they're doing those things for rhetorically different reasons.

I have an idea (as yet unproven) that if 15% of the voting population would vote for ANY "third party" in any election, the big boys will wake up very quickly and start rethinking what they are up to. One or the other will still win the election, but we will have shown them that we're no longer in their pockets.

Just something to think about.

 
At 12:34 PM, Blogger Rousseau said...

I assume you mean any presidential election, since 3rd parties routinely win local and state elections, and we have a Socialist congressman in vermont (Bernie Sanders) who is likely to be a Senator next year.

And our current finance laws would give a lot of campaign money to any party that secured 5% of the vote, let alone 15%.

Anyway, the reason people can't form a third party is because there's no way they could agree on it. The people who want a third party may be united in wanted more choices, but don't necessarily agree on any other issues. Would you (if you're liberal) vote for a pro-environment anti-abortion staunch-christian candidate?

You are not a special and unique snowflake, and no major party is going to endorse every single position you hold, to the degree you hold it. Unless America is divided into 200 million individual parties, then you're going to have to compromise in order to form a party. And most of the active and idealistic people who are willing to compromise... are fine with one of the current two parties.

 

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