The Bare Bones of Dems and Repubs

This is the eighth year of the 2016 presidential campaign, and we still have more than a year to go before the 2024 campaign kicks off.

Even so, it’s very clear what the parties stand for. It’s the same thing they’ve stood for over the past century-plus: the Dems stand for the people; the Repubs stand for money.

The Republican hopefuls look like the roll for a company of field artillery. As usual, it consists largely of vaporous true believers who seem utterly ignorant of things like science, the Constitution, and history, work hard to demonize various kinds of people, and assure themselves that women’s personal lives must be managed by old white guys. As usual, they seek to gain the support of people who are utterly ignorant of things like history and science.

The Dems stand for the people;
the Repubs stand for money.

If their beliefs could be pinned down to two or three, they would be that war is good, government is bad, and giving money to the rich will improve everything. There’s darn little debate needed about the efficacy of these things: they are all tragically wrong.

The US has a long and sordid history most Americans never heard of, a history of military intervention and installation of right-wing dictatorships via military coups. Among other amoral illegalities, we overthrew the government in Iran and put the brutal and hated Shah in power. We helped assassinate the elected president of Chile and installed the military dictatorship of Pinochet. We kidnapped the elected president of Haiti, and installed yet another puppet government nobody liked. And this was before President Bush launched two utterly unnecessary failures of wars that cost us several trillion dollars and spread violence all across the Middle East and elsewhere.

The primary Repub beliefs
are all tragically wrong.

These atrocities are not entirely Republican, of course, but it’s in their DNA to favor invasion, regardless of the probable consequences. We can’t afford the economic or human cost of this foolishness.

In spite of the popularity and obvious economic success of numerous government programs such as Social Security and the Affordable Care Act, Republicans continue to claim they are utter failures that nobody wants and are wasting billions. We have to ask, at what point do these repeated contradictions of factual evidence become outright lies? Is their poorly educated but dependable base so ignorant that they can’t see through such falsehoods?

The third pillar of false belief is that giving many billions to the rich will create affluence for us all. The question is, how many times will it be necessary to demonstrate the utter falsehood of this claim before conservatives take another look at it? It’s false: the fortunes of the rich have skyrocketed for more than forty years because of gifts to the rich, yet the income of everyone else has actually declined. This is what comes from the purchase of congressional control through the investment of billions spent on lobbying and hidden payments to Repub election campaigns, made possible by the Supreme Court’s fairyland belief that giant corporations are actually human beings, presumably with heart, lungs, fingers, noses, and so on.

In spite of the stone age policies of most of the Repub candidates, some have made points that bear more investigation. The blowhard hotelier Trump actually spoke of some economic changes that made sense. Among these were support for a steeper progressive income tax, as well as voiding several of the favorite tax avoidance schemes and deductibles of the very rich. Even the hopeless Jed! Bush! made a few decent suggestions, among most that weren’t. Most of the rest have relied on fairyland beliefs in repeatedly disproven economic magic, when they weren’t busy denigrating one group of people or another, or the President.

Hillary and Bernie
each have some very strong positions,
and both have weaknesses.

The other side of the aisle is dominated by Hillary and Bernie. Both of them have some very strong positions, and both have weaknesses. To see Hillary’s weaknesses, take a look at some of Bernie’s campaign propaganda. Of course, he presents only what he sees as her weaknesses, which look an awful lot like Republican positions. But Hillary has been at the center of power for a long time, and probably understands international politics better than Bernie.

I consider Bernie’s domestic positions to be completely consistent and admirable for his entire career, and they are all in support of what I think of as the reason for government: they support the people, not rich special interest groups. If he has a weakness, it’s in international relations.


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