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Sunday, 01 May 2016 14:07

Freitag: The Party Is Over

Written by  Carl Freitag
Freitag: The Party Is Over Carl Freitag

Posted May 1, 2016
National Politics: Republicans and Democrats
Member Commentary / Opinion*


The Party Is Over
By Carl Freitag

Mike Lofgren’s book is summed up best by his subtitle of How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. I agree with Lofgren, the country has been kidnapped by two political parties who are beholden to various elite groups who pay well for their services. Yes, both parties are financed largely by corporations and only pretend to represent those who elected them. The only difference I can see is that the Democratic Party is not crazy for war and are not opposed to public education, social security, Medicare, unions, Obamacare and women’s health. 

How are they alike? They both don’t give a damn about habeas corpus, they both approve of surveillance, they both are obsequious to the NRA and they both consider reelection their God-given right. Lofgren concludes that all three branches of government have been captured by corporate interests. Senator Durbin even said …"The banks, frankly, own the place."  

I was most interested in the last chapter, which in most books is a list of what we can do. He starts out with how we must get private money out of elections. He says the system is so poisoned it seems hopeless and the only recourse is to scrap the entire system and start over. HA! It would probably take a French-type revolution including the killing of all the aristocrats before the rich would give up their ownership of the government.  

All we have to do is change the tax code, clean up Wall Street, wind down the wars and break the stranglehold the NRA has on congress. Simple as that!

The baby boomers are getting too old to make major changes. Lofgren Has more faith in the younger millennials because they are more socially conscious, optimistic and multiracial. In fact, the millennial generation seems to be appalled by the Republican Party’s overt hostility toward immigrants, gays and women. I myself am pessimistic for the present generation to do anything. However, I am optimistic about what the not so far future will bring. 

The numbers of old white men in blue suits is declining. Now more minority babies are born than whites and 45% of K-12 students are already minorities. Although many Hispanics are really white, we are including them in with Blacks, Asians and mixed groups because of how they as a group usually vote. As these minorities increase in number there will be many more Democratic votes.  

You can see why Republicans have their underwear in a bunch over legalizing 11 million immigrants. Most do not want them to get on a path to citizenship because they will mostly vote Democratic. Immigrants and poor people are not likely to vote for the business party. When the white population drops below 50% in 2043 we may gain the opportunity to find "a way out."

Now it is obvious that the fastest growing group of Americans fall under the category of "multiracial." However, Americans still adhere to the "one drop" rule in regard as to who is classified as black. Barak Obama is known as the first black president, not the first half white and half black president. This is a peculiar practice of Americans. Many people who are very multiracial but have one drop of black blood are still considered "black." Less than 60 years ago if two white people in some southern states got married and one was found out to have had black ancestors they both could be arrested for miscegenation. We have been quite unreasonable in how we treat people of color and it continues still.  

If the Republican Party is slowly becoming obsolete, what will replace them? Will they be replaced? Do they have to be replaced? The Democratic Party has already taken on many Republican values as they also move to the right. They support Wall Street, vote for war, support surveillance, etc. Perhaps we will end up with only one party. The wealthy elite of the nation doesn’t care who does their bidding, as long as they are not overtaxed.  

The combat between the two parties is not always ideological. For instance, the House adopted an energy appropriations bill that forbids the government from enforcing energy efficiency standards for ceiling fans, light bulbs, refrigerators and freezers. The Republican sponsor said they have had enough of Obama's nanny-state policies and nothing is safe from the administration's excessive regulatory tentacles. What really happened? In 1987 Ronald Reagan signed a law establishing minimum standards for refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances. In 2005 an energy law was adopted by the Republican House and a Republican Senate and was signed into law by George W. Bush. Obviously this reversal of sound energy policy was just another personal attack on President Obama. Excessive regulatory tentacles indeed! (NYT July 28, 2013)

More than once Obama has said that the Republicans were for something until they heard that he was also for it. The contrary Republicans then opposed what they were previously for. It has become a joke. Obamacare, a close copy of Romneycare, has been repealed over 50 times by the House. They obviously want to deny the President's major legacy from his term in office. I call this a dysfunctional political party system. It is shameful and dangerous the way the parties, especially the Republicans, have turned into an insurgency group like the Taliban. They are threatening again to shut down the government in order to destroy Obamacare. How close to treason is it when the Republican Party will sacrifice the whole country in order to get their way? 

The Republicans have now realized they are a declining species. In a last ditch effort to turn back the clock the conservative Supreme Court allowed the states to again suppress Democratic voters. It may be their only chance.  

Thanks to the Tea-Bagger faction, the Republicans are slowly crumbling into a polarized party and are starting to squabble among themselves. The Republican presidential campaign is a good example. With their attitudes toward minorities and decreasing numbers it will be difficult for the party to win future presidential races. However, on the state level the red states are chalking up huge Republican majorities. When governors and legislatures have super majorities they do things that the federal government cannot or will not do. They take glee in inflicting more suffering on the already down-and-out. What they do can only be described as pathological mean-spiritedness.  

You may have noticed that Republican super majority states are passing multiple laws weakening Roe versus Wade, loosening gun controls, suppressing Democratic voters and destroying any programs concerned with women’s health. I don't understand how any self-respecting woman can vote for these Neanderthals. Maybe it's a religious thing.

It is conceded that the political parties in America no longer care about the people. They vote in blocks and tolerate no individualism. It is amazing how 218 republicans can vote for or against a bill in unison. Is ideology so entrenched that they all really think alike? Or are they forced to acquiesce or else?

American career politicians feel that they should be reelected for life, and they frequently are. Just like any other government career, if you keep your nose clean and blend into the background you will be regularly promoted. Being in the Congress or Senate is a cushy easy-money job. Why do they work so hard to keep their seats? I think it's because they are not much good at anything else.

Carl Freitag is a retired psychology professor and a member of the Space Coast Progressive Alliance. Illustration also by Carl Freitag.

*ED. NOTE: The views expressed here are solely those of the author. SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, please contact SCPA.



Mike Lofgren, author of the book, The Party Is Over, on Moyers & Co.
19-min. video interview by Bill Moyers

Compiled by Team SCPA

Last modified on Sunday, 05 June 2016 10:46

1 comment

  • Comment Link Linda Stasik Saturday, 14 May 2016 22:23 posted by Linda Stasik

    We do live in a two party system. The best course of action will surely be to improve the health and honesty of our Democratic Party, by working from within.

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