Are we failing as an electorate? Have we let elections become too competitive?
The Founders of the United States warned against Parties because they thought politics was supposed to be rational and collaborative, not competitive.
Competitiveness has resulted in Americans voting for President and the US Congress based on Party and not person. It started in the 1970s and has been significantly increasing to where voters overwhelmingly voted for their party’s nominee in the last general election.
Both Parties have wings whether they are liberal or conservative and both Parties have a centrists and moderates. We need balance within the Parties to help balance our politics and our elections. Balance works. We need balance between work with recreation. We need balanced brains so that we are somewhere in between full stop and full go. We need balance between greed/profit and workers’ well being. We need balance between overly weak regulations and protections of the environment and our safety.
Republican Party moderates include Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Nelson Rockefeller, Dwight Eisenhower. Republican conservatives include Ronald Reagan, George Will, William Buckley, Donald Trump although George Will has said he will vote for Biden.
Democratic Party moderates include Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Barrack Obama, John Kennedy. Democratic liberals include Franklin Roosevelt, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren. Note that while the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is loud, it elects moderates.
I prefer to have moderates as Presidents but there are times when we have slipped too far left or too far right and gotten out of balance and we might need a President to be from one of the wings of the Parties for one term to pull us back to the middle.
Franklin Roosevelt is a case in point. His New Deal policies and steady voice pulled America out of their mental depression caused by the Great Depression and led us to a victory in World War II. Republicans fought those policies and wound up losing the Presidency for 20 years and got it back with a candidate that both Parties wanted as their candidate. That was Eisenhower who was not only a war hero but moderate enough for both Parties.
Eisenhower warned us about the Military Industrial Complex which would put America in debt with too much military spending. The tax rates were high during his terms of office and the economy was good. Reagan reduced taxes and spent big on the Military Industrial Complex and while the economy was also good, the national debt climbed.
Republicans call Democrats Tax and Spend Democrats but Republicans spend just as much but use debt instead of taxes to pay the bills. Medicare Part D, Desert Storm, Iraq war were used debt to finance. I guess the term for that would be Debt and Spend Republicans. Republicans tend not want to tax business and still keep pouring money into the Military Industrial Complex. Democrats want to increase taxes on businesses and spend on health care.
Because we more and more vote for people based on Party lines we have become a divided nation. In 2016 we had two candidates that were loathed. It doesn’t help America to be more united by electing a President that the other Party loathes. Neither Party should offer up one that is loathed by the other Party.
Candidates and Presidents should take to heart what Bill Clinton has said and practiced. He believed that “politics and governing are one long conversation where you have to explain to people what went wrong and why, explain your plan to fix it, persuade them your idea is better than the other side’s.” “Today, politics tends to be heavy on assertion, light on explanation, and bereft of persuasion.”
We are here on Earth with free will, right?
Our free will allows us to make choices in life. It can be developed during life by making conscious choices, hopefully, based on a set of values we make for ourselves describing who we are or want to be. If we act reflectively on those values instead of winging it based on our old habits and tendencies we evolve.
Free Will, to say it another way, is our ability to control our behavior by stopping and thinking about that behavior first. If we stop and think about what we are going to say and do before we say or do it, we are using our free will and not our habits. But, we also have to examine the roots and validity of our perspectives, thoughts, opinions, prejudges, so that when we use free will to change unwanted habits and instincts, we actually evolve and not stagnate.
Why are you voting Republican or Democrat? Why are you again Party voting?
Parties change. Sometimes we change. The original Party of Lincoln wanted to give blacks full citizenship. But after Southern Democrats moved in droves from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party after Johnson was able to pass the Civil Rights Act, it’s hard to say that the Republican Party, based on membership, is still the Party of Lincoln.
I would say that what is needed most right now is for Americans to again be rowing the boat in the same direction. That is powerful.