Seriously, no one can compare the two political parties on anything these days. The differences were always there, but they have been exacerbated in the last couple of decades. It’s not hard to figure out why. Beginning in the late 1960s, the Republican Party has openly recruited racists, including white supremacists and white nationalists, as well as people who openly hate the poor, into their ranks, and they have taken over the entire party leadership. Most of the 80 percent of Republicans who voted to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are dead, but those who aren’t are now Democrats. Meanwhile, the Dixiecrats, who voted against both of those laws and cursed Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party forever, joined the GOP (the former Party of Lincoln) and stayed there.
If you want to know why I laugh at “political junkies” who claim the Democratic Party has moved right, yeah; that’s why. The Taft Wing of the GOP, who were fiscally conservative but who could be socially liberal, as long as it cost nothing, joined with the former Dixiecrats to form a version of the Republican Party that doesn’t really care about anything.
Meanwhile, as racist white people AND white liberals fled the Democratic Party in droves, Black people, Latinos (except Cuban-Americans) recent immigrants and gay people all swarmed into the Democratic Party to make a home. That is why we have the spectacle of extreme far lefties attacking black people for not being “progressive enough” and too often spouting rhetoric that mirrors a lot of the Republican rhetoric these days.
But that’s another column. The point is, there are two major political parties in this country and it is an absolute lie to claim they are the same on anything. Yes, that includes the white unicorn liberal go-to, “corporatism.” Even that one blows apart when you look at the actual facts. The category of donors who give the most to Democrats is labor unions. Surely, that’s not a sign of “corporatism.” In fact, by the unicorns’ own definition, that would be the opposite of that. Coming in second? Trial lawyers, who are the demographic that holds corporations to account to the greatest degree. Third? Academics. Now, I know private corporations have taken over too much of the educational space, but not that much, right? We’re talking about medical researchers, climate scientists and the like, as well as those who research the effects of the economy on the average family.
Yes, SOME Democrats also get some money from financial services companies, but they gat far less than the GOP. It’s not even close.
But more than that, if you truly believe this country has become an economic shit hole, how do you blame any of that on Democrats. In the last quarter-century, Democrats have controlled the government twice – once in 1993-1994 and again in 2009-2010. Both times, Democrats set up amazing economic conditions that led to improvements for everyone, and both times they were rewarded by getting killed by Republicans in elections that featured extremely low turnout, at least in part because the professional left treated Democrats as if they were just like Republicans. In other words, it was a lie.
It’s hard to look at any problem we have right now and not see the GOP’s sticky fingers all over it. Take the deficit and the national debt. During the post-war period, when Democrats dominated, this country built the biggest and baddest economy in world history. We built up Europe and we built up Asia and we had an industrial base that was the envy of the world. At the same time, even though we were investing copious amounts of federal tax money on infrastructure and making sure everyone had a job, our national debt slid from 120 percent ion GDP in 1946 to 32 percent of GDP in 1980.
The TOTAL national debt when St. Reagan took over the government and the GOP took over the Senate for the first time since the 1950s, was a horrifyingly-high $900 billion. That was a major campaign plank for Reagan in 1980, especially since the deficit that year topped $75 billion for the first time, ever. So, what did St. Reagan do? He increased it. No seriously; after campaigning on the outrage of a $74 billion deficit that increased the debt by $80 billion, the 1981 deficit was $76 and increased the debt by $90 billion. It was also the lowest of the Reagan years. In part, it was because he cut the hell out of taxes and pushed a concept called “trickle down economics,” which essentially relied on the generosity of billionaires to keep the economy going. Ridiculous, and yet the Trump version of the GOP still sells this nonsense as if it works. It has been proven bullshit many times since 1981, and at least 90 percent of our current $22 TRILLION debt is directly related to Republican fiscal policy, but these idiots still swear it works. One has to ask, how many times does something have to fail before Republicans finally admit it doesn’t work?
Consider; since 1980, we have had two massive recessions; one in 1981-1982, which featured 11 percent unemployment, and in 2008-2009, which featured 10 percent unemployment and almost led to a depression. BOTH were caused by Republican policies. The first one was caused by the incredible spike in deficit spending at a time when interest rates were extraordinarily high, as a way to rein in inflation (that part worked, but that was Paul Volcker’s idea, and he was hired by Carter, not St. Reagan.)
The second one – the worst economic downturn since the crash of 1929 – was caused by Republican laws that created a new, wholly unregulated secondary mortgage market that encouraged “brokers” to offer mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them, thus making a market crash a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Consider: There have been three (4?) recessions since 1980 and all of them have happened under Republicans, except for the first half of the first one, which happened in 1980, under Carter. That was almost over when Reagan cut taxes to the bone in 1981, which led to the second part which stuck around for a while. While St. Reagan gets all sorts of stellar marks for cutting unemployment, the facts show that to be an exaggeration. When Reagan entered office, unemployment was 7.5 percent, and they didn’t go below that point until November, 1984, when he was reelected for his great handling of the economy. (Source) https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet.
Meanwhile, as St. Reagan was sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing and then bringing it back down again, Social Security was looking at a looming crisis. Baby Boomers were going to start retiring within 20 years, so the Social Security system needed to be restructured to accommodate that. In 1986, Democrats had taken over the House and Senate again, and got St. Reagan to go along with a payroll tax plan that left out the very rich, by capping Social Security contributions. Therefore, Reagan was forced to raise taxes, and it was for a good purpose, but he could only do it on the middle and working classes and get away with it.
I could go on a lot but as a way of making this less than a book, let’s summarize the biggest problems we face and consider who’s most responsible:
Climate Change – This is mostly the product of our fossil fuel addiction. Jimmy Carter developed the first comprehensive program to cut our oil consumption, and St. Ronald Reagan killed it. Reagan also pushed the idea that low oil and gas prices were something of an American birthright, and they would never go higher, so we built our infrastructure based on a lie; that oil was an unlimited commodity and gas prices would never go above a dollar per gallon. Of course, modern Republicans simply deny the climate is changing, despite the evidence and the consensus of climate scientists. This is 100% the fault of Republicans.
Income inequality – The Democratic Party invented the minimum wage and they have always been strong supporters of labor unions, which are manifestations of workers getting together to create better conditions. On the other hand, the Republican Party believes the minimum wage is a sign of government overstep. They would like to eliminate it, in principle, but they settle for refusing to raise it to even keep up with inflation. To keep up with inflation since 1968, the current minimum wage should be $11.55 per hour. Instead, the national minimum is $7.25. Many states and cities have increased their minimum wage and, if you look closely, you’ll find that most of them are blue cities and states.
Increased poverty – I know, a lot of unicorn progressives and professional lefties blame Clinton for signing “welfare reform,” but he’s not the one who wrote and passed the legislation. If the GOP wasn’t in charge of Congress, there would have been nothing for him to sign. As of now, almost a quarter-century later, more than three-quarters of those living below the poverty line get zero cash assistance, and welfare spending hasn’t changed since the law was passed in 1996. Meanwhile, to pay for a portion of their tax cuts and to pay lip service to their feigned concern about deficits and debt, they keep cutting programs for the poor, especially SNAP (Food Stamps.) The Republican Party cuts off the poor at the knees as a ruse to make themselves seem “fiscally responsible.”
Healthcare – While many professional lefties like to whine and cry about the Affordable Care Act and decry it as a giveaway to private insurance companies, it is still a massive improvement over the system that proceeded it. It’s not perfect and no one ever said it was. Even President Obama, who worked his ass off to pass it, has always encouraged us to add to it and make it better. Democrats passed the ACA and Republicans have done nothing but undermine it since the law was passed. Anything wrong with our healthcare system is the fault of Republicans.
I will be adding a lot more on this theme as time goes on, but suffice it to say, there is nothing wrong with this country that isn’t the direct fault of the Republican Party. Therefore, when you claim both parties are the same, you just sound really stupid and the rest of us are laughing at you.
Also published on Medium.