You know, one of the most absurd things I hear and read on practically a daily basis is the outlandish idea that the two major political parties are somehow similar. And yet, the entire professional left seems to demand that we believe that both parties are largely two sides of the same kind. How anyone with a functioning cerebellum could think that the Democratic Party of 2016 and the Republican Party have any similarities whatsoever. I have decided to take a look at ten major political issues of our day and compare the approaches taken by each major party. This may take a while, but I think some people need to see this.
There has rarely been that much similar between the two major political parties, but these days? It’s not even close. There’s something about 50 years of recruiting the worst dregs the right can offer than turns a formerly reputable opposition into a veritable crazy train. Seriously, who could possibly imagine that the two parties are roughly the same at a time when there really are no similarities on any issue crucial to our society. For example:
Democats: Democrats led the creation of health insurance in the first place, which may seem like a pain in the ass now, but at the time, it was a godsend to people who wanted to see a doctor and couldn’t afford to shell out a few hundred bucks for any kind of hospitalization. In addition, it was Democrats who encouraged employers to provide health insurance as an employment benefit, by making such benefits tax deductible. Moreover, every major advance in health care has been championed by Democrats. It took Democrats nearly 30 years to do so, but they created Medicare in 1965. it was first proposed under FDR, but it was strongly opposed by Republicans and Dixiecrats (all of whom are now Republican). Truman proposed something similar, but it wasn’t until Kennedy was assassinated the LBJ had a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans (extinct now, they were a thing in the 1960s) to pass it into law in 1965. Democrats also created Medicaid for the poor as part of LBJ’s “Great Society.”
The impetus for President Nixon’s ridiculous attempt to promote HMOs was as a reaction to Ted Kennedy’s proposal to create a universal health insurance plan back in 1970. Finally, it was Democrats – and only Democrats – who wrote, fought for and passed the Affordable Care Act, which has thus far cut the number of uninsured to the lowest levels in history at a time when the number of uninsured had been skyrocketing for decades. Democrats are still keen to improve the Affordable Care Act. There have been at least five attempts to create a universal health insurance plan and every single one was proposed by Democrats and a majority of Democrats voted for each one.
By the way, this is the 2016 Democratic Platform on Universal Health Care:
“Democrats believe that health care is a right, not a privilege, and our health care system should put people before profits. Thanks to the hard work of President Obama and Democrats in Congress, we took a critically important step toward the goal of universal health care by passing the Affordable Care Act, which has covered 20 million more Americans and ensured millions more will never be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Democrats will never falter in our generations-long fight to guarantee health care as a fundamental right for every American. As part of that guarantee, Americans should be able to access public coverage through a public option, and those over 55 should be able to opt in to Medicare. Democrats will empower the states, which are the true laboratories of democracy, to use innovation waivers under the ACA to develop unique locally tailored approaches to health coverage. This will include removing barriers to states which seek to experiment with plans to ensure universal health care to every person in their state. By contrast, Donald Trump wants to repeal the ACA, leaving tens of millions of Americans without coverage.” (Source)
Republicans: In the several weeks since Republicans lost seats in Congress, but not enough, and also gained the White House, they have been plotting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, in part because they hate Obama and want to pretend we never had a black president. Not only that, but Paul Ryan feels “emboldened” to attempt to kill Medicare as soon as possible after Trump takes the oath and Pence becomes president. They have been killing health care initiatives since the 1930s and, again, none of them voted for “Obamacare.” Not only that, but they have voted about six dozen times to repeal health insurance reform. What they will end up being able to do is questionable, but there is an obvious difference between Democrats and Republicans on health care. That’s why it’s puzzling that so many “progressives” keep demanding “single payer.” I mean, if you really want something even close to “single payer,” how likely do you think you are to get that with a Republican Party who thinks the old health insurance system was perfectly fine and who want to kill the closest thing to “single payer” that we have, in Medicare? If you’re going to talk about how “principled” you are, you might want to explain where those principles allow you to lie about things like this.
I would love to point you to the 2016 Republican platform on universal health care, but there is nothing. The word “universal” does not appear anywhere. There is this, however:
“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It weighs like the dead hand of the past upon American medicine. It imposed a Euro-style bureaucracy to manage its unworkable, budget-busting, conflicting provisions. It has driven up prices for all consumers. Their insurance premiums have dramatically increased while their deductibles have risen about eight times faster than wages in the last ten years. It drove up drug prices by levying a $27 billion tax on manufacturers and importers and, through mandated price cuts for drugs under Medicare and Medicaid, forced pharmaceutical companies to raise prices for everyone else. Its “silver plans,” the most common option on the government insurance exchanges, limit people’s access to their own doctor through narrow networks and restrict drug coverage, forcing many patients to pay for extremely costly medicines for their chronic diseases.” (Source)
Like me, did you choke on their use of the word “honest”? Yeah, both parties are the same. They are SO MUCH THE SAME that it justifies your refusal to vote for Hillary Clinton.
And for those who think Hillary Clinton was somehow tainted by the amount of money she raised, I bring you the next issue:
Campaign Finance Reform
Democrats: You would be hard pressed to find a single Democrat (yes, including Blue Dogs) who isn’t appalled by the current state of campaign finance. While I know many unicorn progressives think Bernie Sanders was out front on this issue, the fact is, Hillary Clinton was right there with him. (Source) ALL Democrats are with him, that the current system is unworkable and the entire party has made a point of working against it. The problem is, they’re in the minority in Congress, so there isn’t all that much they can do. Several Democrats have retired, citing the absurdity of having to spend half their workday raising money just to be reelected as the primary reason. Check out Steve Israel, who was the Democrats’ chief fundraiser, who retired because he couldn’t serve his district anymore. (Source)
When you listen to unicorn progressives, you would also think Democrats were taking advantage of Citizens United as much as Republicans, but reality says otherwise. For one thing, President Obama nominated three Supreme Court Justices (including Merrick Garland) who want to be rid of that ridiculous opinion once and for all. And again, both Bernie Sanders AND Hillary Clinton put getting rid of CU at the top of their wish lists.
This is the 2016 Democratic Platform on campaign finance:
“Democrats believe we must fight to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world: a government that represents the American people, not just a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests. We will fight for real campaign finance reform now. Big money is drowning out the voices of everyday Americans, and we must have the necessary tools to fight back and safeguard our electoral and political integrity.
“Democrats support a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo. We need to end secret, unaccountable money in politics by requiring, through executive order or legislation, significantly more disclosure and transparency—by outside groups, federal contractors, and public corporations to their shareholders. We need to amplify the voices of the American people through a small donor matching public financing system. We need to overhaul and strengthen the Federal Election Commission so that there is real enforcement of campaign finance laws. And we need to fight to eliminate super PACs and outside spending abuses.
“Our vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process and can run for office without needing to depend on large contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.” (Source)
This issue isn’t all about Citizens United. I know, when you read the professional left, you would swear that Democrats were just as beholden to rich crooks as Republicans, but that’s just not borne out by the record. Look at who supported Hillary Clinton, by sector. Yes, at the top is “securities and investment,” but there are two things to note. Of course, the first thing to note is that those “sectors” are what individuals listed as their profession. The other thing is that number is dwarfed by donations from everyone else, including non-profits, women’s groups, unions, educators and trial lawyers. (Source) I already covered this earlier in the year. (Source) Look closely at the chart at the bottom of the piece, which shows who donated what to Democrats and Republicans in 2012 and explain to the class why you think there are similarities.
Republicans: Well, if the difference wasn’t clear before this year, it should be obvious after Republicans nominated and failed to oppose a billionaire crook with thousands of conflicts of interest, who has already bilked taxpayers out of millions of dollars and he hasn’t even taken office yet. This year, more than $1.8 billion was raised by all campaigns combined, and more than $1 billion of that was raised by Republicans. In fact, Jeb Bush alone, who was out of the race by March 1, raised more than half as much as Clinton from the “Securities and investment” sector.
But again, 2016 was an unusual year because Trump wasn’t raising money in the conventional way. Another thing to consider is that each campaign codes its own donations, so it’s hard to know how accurate some of the FEC reports are. For example, it seems that Bernie Sanders collected no money from anyone who worked in the “securities and investment” sector, which seems unlikely, and Trump shows less than $1 million which is also quite impossible to believe. But again; look at which industries donate to Republicans and show us how they are similar. (Source)
But more than that, Republicans LOVE Citizens United. They have resented the support Democrats have received from unions and trial lawyers, and the ability for rich individuals and corporations to hep out as much as they want levels the playing field, in their eyes. Have you read the 2016 Republican platform on campaign finance? You should:
“Freedom of speech includes the right to devote resources to whatever cause or candidate one supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage citizens from participating in the public square or limit their ability to promote their ideas, such as requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government. Limits on political speech serve only to protect the powerful and insulate incumbent officeholders. We support repeal of federal restrictions on political parties in McCain-Feingold, raising or repealing contribution limits, protecting the political speech of advocacy groups, corporations, and labor unions, and protecting political speech on the internet. We likewise call for an end to the so-called Fairness Doctrine, and support free-market approaches to free speech unregulated by government.” (Source)
Compare that to the Democratic platform and tell me both parties are the same when it comes to money in politics. You have to be drunk or stupid to think that.
Democrats: This one is easy. Democrats embrace climate change. President Obama made it a key component of the stimulus package, supporting the greatest growth in alternative fuel investment in history as a major part of the economic stimulus package. A large portion of the money raised by making the United States the larges oil producer in the world went to expand investment in alternatives. Democrats have always been at the forefront of solar and wind development and both President Carter and President Obama led the way on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels by increasing our investment in alternatives.
President Obama led the way when it came to our participation and leadership in the Paris Climate Accord. You would also have a hard time finding a climate change denier among the Democrats in government. Again, look at the 2016 Democratic Platform on climate change:
“Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred this century. While Donald Trump has called climate change a “hoax,” 2016 is on track to break global temperature records once more. Cities from Miami to Baltimore are already threatened by rising seas. California and the West have suffered years of brutal drought. Alaska has been scorched by wildfire. New York has been battered by superstorms, and Texas swamped by flash floods. The best science tells us that without ambitious, immediate action across our economy to cut carbon pollution and other greenhouse gases, all of these impacts will be far worse in the future. We cannot leave our children a planet that has been profoundly damaged.
“Democrats share a deep commitment to tackling the climate challenge; creating millions of good-paying middle class jobs; reducing greenhouse gas emissions more than 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050; and meeting the pledge President Obama put forward in the landmark Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature increases to “well below” two degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century. We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution and protect clean air at home, lead the fight against climate change around the world, ensure no Americans are left out or left behind as we accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, and be responsible stewards of our natural resources and our public lands and waters. Democrats reject the notion that we have to choose between protecting our planet and creating good-paying jobs. We can and we will do both.” (Source)
Republicans: The GOP are the leaders when it come to climate change denial. While we are focused on their feeble attempts to take away health insurance and the rights of gays and People of Color, they will be dismantling every advantage Democrats have crafted to avoid the effects of climate change and to possibly reverse it, if at all possible. Hell, people: when a Republican even admits that climate change is happening, it’s a leading story on the evening news. Trump himself has repeatedly called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. (Still will never call him “President,” sorry.) If this isn’t clear to you, look at their bare mention of climate change in their 2016 platform:
“Information concerning a changing climate, especially projections into the long-range future, must be based on dispassionate analysis of hard data. We will enforce that standard throughout the executive branch, among civil servants and presidential appointees alike. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy. We will evaluate its recommendations accordingly.” (Source)
WTF? That’s just batshit. They’re promising to ignore 97% of climate scientists and come up with their own conclusions and base policies on those.
Does that sound like the two parties are the same to you?
There are many more issues, so expect me to continue this for a while. We apparently need to make clear that there are virtually no similarities between the two parties these days, because confused people tell me every damn day that a Democrat “might as well be a Republican” or that “both parties are two sides of the same coin. Look above. I’ve only dealt with three issues so far and there is no similarity between the parties.
I’m doing this because we obviously need a resource that proves the difference between the parties. Any “progressive” who says “(Any Democrat) might as well be a Republican” is a fool and it should be obvious by now.