Post #458  MENAGE A TROIS

Since the nineteenth Century, the American political scene has been dominated by two major political parties, and, perforce, has accurately been designated, as a two party system of government. In a two party system, the party holding a majority of the electoral votes, is referred to as the “majority”, or “governing party”, while the other, is the “minority party,” or the” opposition”.

It would appear to us, that a democratic, two party system, is preferable to the multi-party (usually) Parliamentary system, as being more representative of the individual voter, viz., more democratic.  It has historically been the case that, in the multi-party, parliamentary system, in order to form a (legal quorum for) a ruling government, a combination of (divergent) parties is, usually required, thus giving more voice to the voters of a minority party (added by statutory necessity) than is democratically warranted. This concern is obviously, non -existent, in a two party system, where “winner takes all.” The successful election of one party, in a two party system, such as ours, thus, completely and democratically, signifies the expressed selection of one candidate and his avowed platform of intentions, over the other.

The system and tradition of two advertised candidates, affords to the voting public, a clear, known and predictable choice, between the persona and political stance of the respective candidates, and their intended programs. Under a system of, “one man, one vote,” governmental policy, thus, is democratically designated, by the prevailing choice and expression of the people.

We have noted, with great dismay and concern, the recent rise, in this country, of a new, unforeseen and perilous form of “populism.”  As known, the essence of populism is a belief which appeals to those ordinary people, who feel that they, and their interests, are disregarded, in favor of an established elite. It seems to us, that, in the U.S., such a perception, is not generally maintained, relative to the subject of economics, since there is a plentitude of opportunity, for such expression, within the traditionally, accepted platforms, of the Democratic Party. Populism, instead, appears ,rather to be, a “tribal” feeling of joint insecurity and, a felt presumption, of the haughty disapproval and dismissal, of their interests, by the better educated and more sophisticated citizenry (“the elite”).

Some of these, self-conscious, “populists” would, if they voted at all, might, in a different frame of mind, go Democratic or Republican; such populism, in general, having no ties to any one economic or political theory or another. It may well be, that many of such feelings of disrespect, are self-generated, or subjectively perceived, whereas, others may, indeed, be based on empirical experience.

Nevertheless, such perceptions, whether real, or insecurely imagined, do, in fact, exist, and appear readily exploitable by demagogues and other “snake oil salesmen,” who falsely and tactically, portray the false impression of intimate identification with their plight, and appeal to such perceived insecurity, for political or other purposes.

Donald J. Trump, a former, mediocre, television host, of an inane television game show, nevertheless, proved his acumen, as such a perverse, missionary of misleading propaganda, to these, less sophisticated, sensitive and, presumed, deprecated, people. One recalls, the tactical, populist representations, of the purported claim of superiority, and brazen, widespread scorn, directed at the common man, allegedly charged to the fictional, “coastal liberals.”

It is essential for the Democratic campaign, to recognize such dynamics and the motivation, of these millions of voters; based on their perception, of being dismissed in significance, by the portionof the nation, termed, the “elites,” (meaning more educated, and favored). They are not described by, or members of, a particular political party. The National disaster of the Trump election, was not, to our understanding, a clear victory of his Republican Party, as such; functionally, it was, in large part, a victory, based upon the additional  supplement, of amorphous populism, viz., not political science but, rather, sociology. Such segment of the National community, can be, functionally, likened to the influence and dynamics, of an additional, or “third” party.

This is, the essential reason, for the Democratic Party, to change its, present, errant, emphasis, on beating Donald Trump as its primary goal. It must wisely alter such poorly conceived, emphasis, which will predictably, help Trump, by rallying the extant tribalism, and accentuating the basic, misguided, message of the populist, voters.

The Democratic Party’s emphasis should, more effectively, be on the traditional platforms that made that party great: fair labor practices, including, working conditions and adequate wages and benefits, health care, regulations protecting the citizen, the consumer and the environment, equal rights for all, prison reform, banking and credit reforms, protection of voter’s rights, a sensible program of gun regulation, old age and retirement benefits, a vigorous infrastructure program, water purification and forestry preservation, a more equitable tax policy, relief to the needy and disabled, lobbying reforms, tuition assistance to students, support for  cultural, arts and education programs, efforts to ameliorate climate deterioration, non-political judicial selection, efforts to eliminate illiteracy, regulation of the pharmacy industry, regulations protecting the purity of drinking water, food and the safety of medicines, elimination of capital punishment, improvements in educational assistance to the States, and many other vital and needed issues.

To deemphasize the above traditional Democratic positions, in favor of the criterion, articulated, viz., the perceived ability to defeat Trump, is to exalt the importance of Trump (which would greatly please his egoistic and neurotic, persona), but far worse, it would invigorate, the extant, tribal, instinct, of that unpredictable, “third party,” the populists, and their defensive, delusions. It would also, foolishly, ignore the very platforms, that built, and won elections for the Democratic Party.

-p.

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plinyblogcom

Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Literature Student and enthusiast.

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