Thursday, September 25, 2014
Reforming the GOP Part 2
American political parties change with time. According to my recollection of American History, the two parties in the year 1800 were called "Federalist" and "Democratic-Republican." The Federalists supported the new constitution adopted thirteen years earlier. The Democratic-Republicans advocated having a new constitution every ten years or so. The Federalists were strong supporters of a string central government. The Democratic-Republicans thought that the existing political system catered to the interests of the wealthy property owners and that a revolution was needed every few years to provide for the interests of those who were effectively frozen out of the political process.
It turns out that the constitutional system in which the president is popularly elected forces the successful political parties to become coalitions, temporarily stitched together to try to win the presidency every four years. Unlike political parties in other countries that have parliaments our parties have not been consistently ideological. Rather, they have been coalitions of interest groups. And here's where I want to rant a bit about the interest groups that now dominate the Republican Party.
An interest group is a segment of the voting public that have a common issue, religious or economic, that leads the segment to vote for a political party. Often the interest group gains a position of control within the party and is able to dictate statements that express the desire or intention of the party toward certain actions if the party wins a majority in the national legislature or wins the jpresidency. The followint are a few examples of interest groups:
- Organized labor
- Banking, speculating in securities and bonds, finance
- Large, wealthy corporations and their stockholders and managers
- Small businesses
- Members of professional organizations (physicians, professors, engineers)
- Members of certain churches (e.g., Catholics and Baptists on the issue of abortion)
- First and second generation latinos
- Angry old white men