Why Party Politics Is No Solution

Something I’d intended to work into my last post (on the mess in Chicago) but neglected to was a preemptive retort to Republicans, like the guys at PowerLineBlog, whose answer to Chicago’s problems is that’s what they get for voting Democratic. How, precisely, do they think that’s going to happen? No Republicans ran in the 2014 Chicago mayoral election. And lest you think that’s an exception in Illinois 60% of candidates run unopposed, many more in some offices, e.g. the 90% of candidates who run unopposed for the state senate.

As I’ve pointed out before Illinois’s Republican and Democratic Parties have divvied the state up into safe Democratic seats and safe Republican seats. Gerrymandering is one explanation for it. Modern American politicians select their voters rather than the voters selecting their office-holders. But that’s not the only explanation. Mayoral candidates run unopposed, too. Tribune columnist John Kass calls this peaceful coexistence “the Combine”.

I think that the answer is that the operational differences between the two parties, i.e. their differences as manifest in conduct, are few. The rhetorical differences are huge but that’s an artifact, an illusion. You speak differently when you’re preaching to the choir.

At the national level both parties are interventionist in foreign policy, bestow tax benefits and lucrative contracts on their donors, knuckle under to the civil bureaucracy, have no real answers (or even beliefs) about the racial issues that continue to plague America, and support borders that are open in effect but look formidable. The primary purpose for both our political parties is incumbents remaining in office, receiving substantial compensation while in office, collecting large pensions when they leave office, and moving on to lucrative jobs lobbying their former colleagues.

Nearly every day I encounter editorials, op-eds, or blog posts characterizing Democrats as socialists and Republicans as racist fascists. Eliding over the fact that the actual fascists were socialists, if Democrats are all socialists why don’t they support more redistributive policies? If Republicans aren’t socialists, why do they continue to support policies in which the means of production, e.g. money, are controlled by the state?

If you care to look for a source for the anger that’s so much a part of the American political scene today, you need look no farther than the chasm between political rhetoric and political action.

I agree with Chesterton. It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged in this country.

6 comments… add one
  • ...

    Gerrymandering only works with voters who never change their minds about brand loyalty. That is, the possibility of effective gerrymandering is a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself.

  • PD Shaw

    It appears to me that Chicago has a uniquely successful machine:

    Last Republican Mayor of 10 Largest Cities:
    San Diego: 2016
    Dallas: 2011
    New York City: 2007
    Phoenix: 2004
    Los Angeles: 2001
    San Antonio: 2001
    Houston: 1982
    San Jose: Before 1967
    Philadelphia: 1952
    Chicago: 1931

    (San Jose started popular elections in 1967, before that city council elected a member.)

  • TastyBits

    … if Democrats are all socialists why don’t they support more redistributive policies? If Republicans aren’t socialists, why do they continue to support policies in which the means of production, e.g. money, are controlled by the state?

    Because of their intentions to control anything that does not think or act accordingly, I always considered Democrats, especially progressives) to be the closet fascists (not National Socialists), and because of their love for the Keynesian required credit based money system, I always them to be the closet socialists (European version).

    I doubt that there is a law, rule, or regulation the Democrats will not endorse. Democrats abhor torture as long as it does not leave any marks. Democrats are witch hunters, and they will find every witch even if they have to kill every innocent person to do so. Of course, the only way to save a witch is to burn the evil out of them, but this is not torture.

    Republicans are less complicated. They love dollars, and they care not from whence they came. Any second grader could tell you the money system vs the credit available makes no sense, but they want as much of it as possible. They invest money borrowed into existence, and then, they complain that they must pay taxes using even more money that was borrowed into existence.

    Killing the welfare state (and Keynesianism) and paying for everything is easy, eliminate (or seriously curtail) the credit based monetary system. Other than Sen. Rand Paul, which one of these clowns is going to put forth that plan.

  • michael reynolds

    Political rhetoric is telling people what they want to hear. The fault is in the voters who cannot seem to grasp that a lot of what they want is either unaffordable, plainly stupid, overly divisive or impossible.

    Everyone wants a pony so politicians promise them a pony and when no pony appears, people get pissed. It doesn’t occur to them that they don’t own a stable, can’t afford oats and on top of it all, don’t know how to ride. It doesn’t penetrate that they were asking the impossible to begin with and aside from being peeved that pols are so ready to cash in on their stupidity, they really have only themselves to blame.

  • Guarneri

    Sigh

    “Everyone wants a pony so politicians promise them a pony…….. It doesn’t occur to them that they don’t own a stable, can’t afford oats and on top of it all, don’t know how to ride. It doesn’t penetrate that they were asking the impossible to begin with and aside from being peeved that pols are so ready to cash in on their stupidity, they really have only themselves to blame.”

    Replace pony with “affordable home ownership” or “a subprime financed car” and you have a housing boom and bust (almost ready for round II) and 7+ year car loans.

    “They invest money borrowed into existence, and then, they complain that they must pay taxes using even more money that was borrowed into existence.”

    I’d sure like to get me some of that free money.

    “If you care to look for the source….of anger….”

    The root of the “Trump Phenomenon”. To paraphrase a well known author and “grant” him his due, “we have only ourselves to blame.”

  • TastyBits

    @Drew

    I’d sure like to get me some of that free money.

    Sigh.

    You must have copied the wrong part because the word “free” is not in my comment, or you intentionally twisted my words to suit your purposes. You are an idiot or a liar. You are either incompetent or a scoundrel. I could call you worthless, but why bother?

    You claim you have worked at a non-rinky-dink bank and you know all about the financial industry. Therefore, you know or should know how money in the US is created and destroyed, and if you do not, try to figure out how you can lend more money than you have. (Hint: In the real world, you can’t.)

    Counterfeiting is not free. It takes physical materials and equipment, and through human labor, you add additional value. Depending upon the denomination, the final product could have cost more than it is worth. In addition, undetectable counterfeited bills would be no different than the real type.

    In small doses, there would be no discernable harm, and a case could be made that if the bills were used to improve the community, the harm could be counteracted. (To my Keynesian friends, Happy New Year.)

    If the government owns or sanctions the printing apparatus or operation, it is not to be confused with the activity performed by lowlife scum. If the lowlife scum had any sense, they would buy an expensive suit and learn about leverage and derivatives, but you saw that coming.

    Amazingly, you read and link to articles from a site that you disagree with 75% of the content and the authors. The majority of disagreements between ZeroHedge and me are that they go a lot further than you could ever dream.

    This year you might want to actually read the site you post links. I would also recommend David Stockman. Apparently, Saint Reagan thought he was good enough. Of course, President Reagan could just have been a nice old man. You pick. (I doubt you will like Stockman much, but if you want to run with the big dogs, you have to get off the porch.)

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