A Short Primer on US Party Politics of the Past 25 Years

Ronnie writes:

Ok, just another insight upon how non US people find US politics so obscure. There are the Democrats, who obviously want to instigate a democracy, hmm, that doesn’t equate they have one of those already. Oh well, then there are the Republicans, who obviously want to get rid of the Monarchy, hmm, that doesn’t work either. Ok, so is it obvious to anyone outside of the US which party is the one left of center and which is to the right of center. Well no not really.
There are the predictable arguments about specific issues which arise, and who has made the most mistakes on budget spending, but specifically what differentiates one lot from the other. Which are to the left, and which to he right? The vast majority of those outside of the US are baffled by it. What does not help the image on an international basis, is the game show host type presentation of political speeches when on election campaigns, complete with trumpet music and the like. All very, very obscure to non US people.

Well of course as a general rule, the Democrats are more to the Left and obviously the Republicans are way to the Right. That’s pretty much noncontroversial. However, the Democrats are not a very leftwing party! On a worldwide scale, probably both parties would be on the Right, and the population in general is probably one of the most rightwing populations on Earth. In fact, when people talk about what makes America so great, they usually rattle off a list of a bunch of rightwing attributes. The super patriotards are almost always rightwingers, and the America that they love is a very rightwing country. To them, that’s the real America.
There really is no large leftwing party in the US. There are the Greens, but they do not get any votes.
The base of the Democratic Party is called the left wing of the Democratic Party. These are Democratic Party liberals. This is probably one of the most leftwing groups in the US. However, even here, on a worldwide scale, they are not all that leftwing. For instance, most of these folks would not call themselves European style socialists or social democrats. The problem is that the Democrats elected to office are usually to the right of the base, because if you run on the base’s agenda, it’s often thought that you are going to lose because the base of the party is too leftwing for America as a whole.
Democrats like Obama are either in the center of the party or on the rightwing of the party. The rightwing of the party is called the DNC Democrats, or Democratic National Committee Democrats. They took over in 1990 and decided that the party is just too liberal to keep winning elections and that if the party wanted to keep on winning elections, it would have to move to the right. They also decided that it costs a lot of money to run for office these days, and the only way to get that money is to suck up to the rich and the corporations to get the money.
So the party started becoming pro-upper class and pro-corporate and moving away from supporting working class people and unions. There was also this idea that the party was “too hostile to business,” which has never been true as the party has never been anything close to even a European style socialist party. And I doubt if Democrats lose elections because they are “too anti-business.” Corporations have among the lowest favorable ratings in the US at ~22%, lower than the media or government. Nobody likes them.
The two wings of the party pretty much hate each other’s guts. The base thinks the DNC Obama Democrats are nothing but a bunch of Republicans in Democratic clothing. Any real leftwing people keep peeling off the Democratic Base to leave the party, vote Third Party or maybe quit voting. For the last 25 years, lefties have been continually leaving the party every year. This has accelerated in recent years since Obama came in. The problem is that in the US voting 3rd party is crazy because all you are doing is voting for the other side or at best throwing your vote away. Unlike in Europe, no 3rd party candidate can ever win national election.
The DNC wing is governing now under Obama. These people actually hate the base of the party as they feel that if they cater to them, they are going to lose elections. So the DNC types play to the base in elections to get their votes, and then give them the finger once they are in office. Obama and his advisors refer to the Base as “those fucking hippies,” the professional Left” and other epithets.
DNC Dems govern by now and then doing something leftwing for their base and then sticking it to the base by doing something rightwing. So the project is Feed the Base -> Feed the Right, Feed the Base -> Feed the Right, Feed the Base -> Feed the Right. This nonsense is also called triangulating. It’s a crazy way to govern, but that is how they do it. When DNC Dems are feeding the Right, they look much like Republicans. Of course the base hates this governing style because the party is pushing rightwing stuff half the time.
Anyway, this was the DNC thinking: if we don’t move to the right and fast, we are going to become a dinosaur party. So for the last 25 years, the party has been moving further to the right. The Republican Party has been doing the same thing. Ronald Reagan seems like a liberal Democrat nowadays.
Every year, the Republicans move further to the right, they move the goalposts and shift the Overton Window to the Right, and call the Democrats socialists and Communists. The Democrats are stung by being called Commies, so they follow by chasing the Republicans to the right to try not to be called Commies. Then they steal some of their rightwing ideas, water them down and pass them.
Welfare reform was a Republican idea passed by Democrats. Obamacare was a hard right health care proposal from the Heritage Foundation and the Republican National Committee in 1992. Now either the Republican Party has moved so far to the right that 1992 Republicans seem like socialists or else the Republicans hate it because the Democrats are pushing it. The Republican agenda is simply to oppose everything that the Democrats promote. So the Democrats steal a Republican idea, water it down and try to pass it, and the Republican go apoplectic and scream, “They are stealing out ideas!” and call the Democrats Communists.
The Republican Base is extremely rightwing, almost fanatically so. It is probably one of the most reactionary movements on Earth in many ways. The Tea Party is the Republican Base. The Base is very White and very much openly racist. The Republicans appeal to them with coded racist “dog whistle” stuff which is more or less a rhetoric of “stick it to the niggers” or “fuck the niggers.”
A vast number of Whites vote Republican because it’s seen as the party of the Whites, and the Democratic Party is seen as “the party of the niggers and the Mexicans,” as a friend of mine bluntly put it once. Nevertheless, the Republican Party doesn’t really benefit Whites in any way, so it’s irrational to vote Republican because it’s the White party, but that’s what people do. Once Republicans get in power, they don’t do anything for average White people except screw them over as the Republican Party is a Tory like party of the very rich and the corporations that thinks everyone else can basically go the Hell.
Recently there has been a mass rebellion as the Republican Base has flipped out and turned on the RNC group as RINO’s (Republicans in Name Only). They have tried to throw out a lot of RNC Republicans, saying they are nothing more than Democrats. Of course that is stupid, but that is how these people think.
The Republican Base represents about 20% of the population. Their politics is bizarre, irrational, fevered, conspiratorial, aristocratic, anti-democratic, anti-government, anti-liberal, militaristic, anti-environment, anti-woman, anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian, pro-traditional values, racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, anti-social spending, anti-regulation, atomistic, radical individualist, economically Libertarian and fanatically partisan. They actually celebrate inequality as some sort of a virtue!
The RNC Republicans are not as rightwing as their base, but they do play to them, and the differences are not great. Whereas the DNC Democrats hate their base, the RNC Republicans fear their base. They are terrified of being replaced by the Base, so the RNC types are always trying to cater to the Base’s positions without having to actually vote for them. The end result of all of this is a race to see how far rightwing you can go without falling off the cliff.

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13 thoughts on “A Short Primer on US Party Politics of the Past 25 Years”

  1. Thanks for this. The concept that most have of the US is that there is a choice between the right of centre party, or the right of centre party, and hence they are essentially same. From your description there seems to be an attempt to demonstrate that the difference is between how far right they are respectively. At least now I understand there is a difference between them, or at least between the ideologies that they like to be associated with.
    A bit like wanting to choose a colour of new car, only to find that they are all blue, but if you drive them out into the street, you might see differences in shades of blue.
    Your kindafukd if you aren’t keen on blue though eh?

    1. No, but the Democrats do do some relatively progressive things about half the time, even if it is stopping the country from going further right. About half the stuff Obama does could be seen as “Left” from a US viewpoint. So they are worth supporting.

        1. Obama just bypassed Congress to issue regulations on coal burning emissions. He is also going to bypass Congress to get some sort of a wimpy global warming deal with many other nations. Honestly, he does stuff like this all the time.

  2. Dear Robert
    If the US had proportional representation for its House of Representatives, as nearly all non-Anglo-Saxon countries have, it would be easier for third parties to win seats. Eventually there may emerge a party which is more in line with the average American, who isn’t really all that ideological and who fears more the word socialism than socialist policies.
    Regards. James

  3. Pat Buchanan has tried to cater to liberal race realism. He’s more liberal on economic issues (Well, maybe not, but at least against neo-liberalism), and extremely socially conservative.
    Chomsky said that Nixon was the last anti-neo-liberal president. The last one to try to increase the minimum wage to match inflation. However, Nixon also brought the US off the gold standard. As some might notice, Buchanan was the speech writer for Nixon.

    1. Nixon’s other speechwriter was the neocon cheerleader William Safire. He was worse than Buchanan in some ways.

      1. Totally disagree, last president that fitted that description was Hugo Chaves. Last Prime Minister who fitted the description was Yingluck Shinawatera. Gosh I hear you ask what part of good old uncle Dam did they come from? Does this guy not get it, does he not understand that in sporting terms the ” World Series” is obviously correctly named because it includes representation from every parts of he US. What does this Brit guy keep talking about non US stuff like anybody gives a fuk. Has he not understood yet tht every time he provides an opinion son say, European politics, or world circumstances that I’s not related toa US perspective hath just gets ignored, cos its irrelevant crap? Why don’t people outside of the US like us, oh boy it’s o fukin difficult to work out.

    2. Buchanan was the first employee Nixon hired when he decided in 1966 to make a political comeback. The Vietnam War was the only issue Nixon really ran on.
      Nixon plucked Bush Sr. from the political graveyard after his loss to Lloyd Bentsen for the US Senate, in 1970. Nixon selected Rumsfeld to serve in his administration, who in turn gave Cheney his first political job.
      Nixon is the grandaddy of modern political evil.

      1. Buchanan?? Lloyd Bentsen??. Nixon the Grandaddy of Modern Politial evil? What about Margret Thatcher, or the Pre Appartheid White South African leaders, with their “hang the caffers from the trees” ideology, or the pre- democray Argentianian Juntas, and all those who follow a similar edict. Papa/ Baby Doc. Edi Amin. Pol,Pot, Slobedon Malojavich,

        1. “Buchanan??”
          Yes. Nixon hired him in 1966.
          “Lloyd Bentsen??”
          Yes. He beat sitting Sen. Ralph Yarborough in the primary, then defeated Bush in the general.
          “Nixon the Grandaddy of Modern Political evil?”
          If you look at history, at how the modern Republican party jockeyed itself to power, its Nixon who made it possible.
          “What about Margret Thatcher, or the Pre Appartheid White South African leaders, with their “hang the caffers from the trees” ideology, or the pre- democray Argentianian Juntas, and all those who follow a similar edict. Papa/ Baby Doc. Edi Amin. Pol,Pot, Slobedon Malojavich.”
          I was talking about this country, the U.S. of A. That said, we tend to set the tempo for the “free world”.
          If you look at the international power base today, we stand to make the most difference, for better or worse. It’s always been this way. When we use our potential, we influence the world for the better. When we don’t use it, the world looks like an even greater Hell hole. The world has never been a pretty place, but just look at where the world has gravitated under Bush and Obama.
          The US has, and has for a long time, the most powerful, evil people in it. They are actually in a position to help cure the world. There is something unique about the potential of American leadership. It doesn’t seem to be in the dna of other countries to solve problems and rescure those most in need. But with anti-leadership, the powerful and selfish elite among us fan the flames of Hell around the world and at home.

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