Rainbow over Galileo Lane, Tucson

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The end of the two party system .

Trump and Sanders: America’s Alter- Egos and the end of the two party system

Perhaps the most important aspect of the 2016 Presidential election has largely been missed. It is the rejection by American voters of the two party system.

 It’s been apparent that the Republican party has lost control of its process for choosing its presidential nominee and faces a dilemma of Donald Trump winning their nomination or taking it away from him and fracturing at their convention. But this is only a symptom of a much more important event: the American electorate is showing by their voting patterns that they no longer accept the two party system that has dominated national politics.

The pundits have struggled to understand the relationship of the defection on the Republican side to Donald Trump and on the Democratic side to Bernie Sanders. The reason in both cases is that they have massively rejected the two party system. 

All through the primary season the news coverage has had to throw away voting models in trying to explain each Tuesday or Saturday what voters did. The old ways of predicting results didn’t work.

And each week, no matter how much money the array of wannabees on the Republican side spent it could not buy votes. Yet Donald Trump seemed to get votes simply by saying outrageous things no party politician would ever say. while a 74 year old Jewish Socialist Senator came out of nowhere to mount a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton. 

In both cases the voters no longer were willing to support the two party system. Perhaps what finally got through to voters was the 8-year outrageous behavior of a Congress so dysfunctional that it almost brought the government down several times.

As they disserted the party candidates the electorate fractured, not on the red and blue lines the parties had drawn. They divided between two alter egos of American voters both the product of the persistent way party politicians steered voters away from what they really stood for by framing their beliefs as something quite different.

The Republicans have for years built their platform around the idea that the enemy of the middle class and working class people is “big government," which threatened their jobs with too much regulation and took too much out of their pay checks with taxes. Somehow, from their offices in Washington, they made Washington the enemy.  They created a block of largely male working class voters who voted against their own class interests.  “Washington” was favoring those dangerous foreigners, blacks, Hispanics and women and discriminating again white, Christian, regular Americans. 

So one American alterego distrusts government and believes that “They” are taking America away from us. They don’t like all that politically correct stuff and believe that the second amendment is the most important thing in the Constitution. "They" want to take our guns away. 
These folks get their news and views from radio talk shows and have great fear and anger at change.

The other alterego is evident in the changing social attitudes toward difference of all kinds. Gay marriage and alternate life styles have become acceptable to them. They care about the environment and drive energy efficient cars. 

They believe that the real problems of modern industrial society can really only be solved together and that they are problems that require government to be responsible for dealing with them.

 They get their information on-line and distrust network news and media controlled by big business.  They trust the fake news more than the conventional media.They want the issues to be confronted honestly and fairly and they expect the best knowledge to guide government decisions.   And they don’t like the way politicians hide their beliefs in political doublespeak.

 They see the Democratic party drifting in policies and action farther and farther to the right avoiding confrontation of the serious issues and trading perpetuation of policies that favored the multinational corporations in return for support of their campaigns.    They want to have a government that make things happen.  And socialism is not a bad word if it means being concerned for each other and not beating up on each other.                                                                             .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
This alterego is embraced by young people who have always been more idealistic and impatient for action to solve problems. They connect with each other through smart phones and social media and prefer the fake news which exposes the hypocrisy of politicians and distrust conventional media.
Trump and Sanders represent well these American alter egos.

Even their names tell it: The Don
 He’s the self-proclaimed winner of winners; He’s rich and powerful. His name  is  on everything. Disdainful of losers (and they are so many to be disdained) destined to rule. What is good for him is good for all. He can do no wrong and is ruthless to all who get in his way. He preaches hate of others and contempt for the weak. He shoots from the hip, takes no prisoners, and the ends always justify the means.

And plain Bernie.
Unadorned, independent consistent, truth speaking. He’s S/socialist with big and little S.  A son of Jewish immigrants, proudly Jewish but more likely to cite history than God. His mantra is equality for all.  His priorities are health, education, fair wages, fair elections, fair laws, and a continuous revolution to preserve those priorities. He would provide free higher education, single payer medicare for all, and massive programs to provide jobs by rebuilding the infrastructure by taxing speculation. And he would reform campaign financing and the broken criminal justice system.

These are the alter egos that are America in the twenty-first century. Each truly American. And the electorate has polarized around them because the two party system has failed to govern. The Republicans and Democrats were for a long time two sides of the same coin, both funded and at the bidding of the moneyed interest  while maintaining an apparent choice between conservative and liberal versions of the same status quo.

This election made apparent to voters just how badly the two party politics had failed. Republicans after 8 years devoted to negating any Obama initiative, offered up a sleazy array of Republican politicians in a primary system rigged to favor a candidate who could say patriotic inanities while following the dictates of the rich. And along came the Donald, brashly proclaiming himself Mr. macho America who could do anything, say anything, make up his own laws and beat up on anybody, anywhere anyhow. The rigged system was ripe to be high jacked.
  And the Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton with all her qualification is sounding too much like a politician even when echoing Sanders agenda. Her agenda is eventual slow change meant to sound realistic but sounding like another political excuse for why what is needed can’t be done. Yes, but not just yet is. 

And voters listen to Bernie hammering away at a rigged economy, a rigged criminal system, a system in which the wealth produced by workers goes to a tiny percentage of the elite. And college is either unaffordable or saddling those who do graduate with life -long financial burdens. And when he says it will take a revolution to get our priorities straight, it is the young idealists who believe in his fair and democratic ideals who say enough of two party politics, enough of favoring the rich and powerful.

The two party system is no longer viable. There are no longer any regular republicans who can rely on loyal followers to vote for their official candidates nationally. And their traditional supporters will not vote for Trump. On the Democratic side, if Hillary is nominated she will win by default but if she wants a friendly house and congress she will need not only to mouth commitment to Saunders issues. There have to be local and congressional candidates to earn the support of the revolution he has called for.

 The two party system benefits multinational corporations and wall street. And they will use their media to marginalize, malign, corrupt and control any movement that threatens their power.

America once did have a realignment of our parties that was between a slave based economy in the south and an industrial economy in the North in which half of the states rejected the results of an election and the rule of Washington.
Could our tradition of constitutional law survive if our evil alter ego rejects an election result? A lot depends on how the greed of the powerful corporations prevails  or  our democratic traditons are strong enough to overcome.

Perhaps the best result of the current situation would be a realistic realignment of the party system. What could emerge is something perhaps like Canadian parties which stand for specific platforms that truly are right wing, centrist, or left wing and which give minority parties more participation on national and local politics. Canadians regularly turn out ruling parties from office.

In any case the Red/blue two party system is done.

 Perhaps we will have four parties to represent what are our current blocks:
The Know Nothing Party of the anti government right.
The Greed party that belives in government for the rich and powerful
The Moderates Who want good government without much change
And the New Democrats who see socialism as needed to solve social problems

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