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Sun Jan 1, 2017, 01:08 PM

The Democratic Party ALWAYS Had Internal Contradictions

The thread of Thomas Frank's critique of the Democratic Party reveals a shocking fact... many can't think rationally about the fact that the Democratic Party can contain internal contradictions.

In a multiparty system there can be more ideological purity. In the US, with two broad parties, the parties can contain numerous internal contradictions because most elected to Congress represent regional concerns, and presidential candidates are often triangulating, stealing issues from the other side, or pushing new issues, to attract new voters. Add to this that anyone running for office can have different position one different issues. Chuck Schumer may be a social liberal but a friend to Wall St. Bill Clinton pushed NAFTA when most of his party opposed it in the House. But they're ALL Dems. 50 years ago the Democratic coalition included the racist South... then Nixon made an appeal to them and they bolted for the GOP.

Some want to believe their vision of the Democratic Party is the only true vision but the Party is always in flux. Where was the party before FDR? Coalition members also reverse positions. Most unions opposed legalization of illegal immigrants until they realized they needed their votes. Many party loyalists change their positions to suit their candidate and soon they believe that was always the only Democratic position. For example many Dems opposed Bush's irresponsible tax cuts so we could pay down debt, then embraced them when Obama made most of them permanent. Fiscal responsibility was high on Bill Clinton's agenda so Dems could break out of the Starve The Beast trap. Dems have largely abandoned it.

The bottom line is Thomas Frank is correct IF he says many in the party have betrayed the FDR roots. But obviously there are still many FDR Dems out there. But we can't deny many high up in the party have gone corporate.

The party will always have contradictions. Deal with it.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 01:15 PM

1. Excellent points. Recommended.

Sanders is treated by some here as if he were an enemy, when his economic vision is shared by many Democrats.

And in 1960, the Democratic Party in the South was the party of racial discrimination. Which explains why, after the passage of the VRA, the South turned from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican in a generation.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 01:50 PM

2. Thus Will Roger's, "I don't belong to an organized political party, I'm a Democrat".

Diversity is what makes us stronger.

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Response to OregonBlue (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 02:08 PM

3. One might not think that reading the Party Of The People thread n/t

where ever it is...

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 02:17 PM

4. In a two-party political reality, one party will always

be better than the other, in terms of progressivism. Better, not perfect. When it comes down to a choice on election day, the sensible thing to do is to vote for the candidate of the party that is the better party. If you don't, you may help the worse party win.

That has always seemed so simple to me. When faced with a binary choice, I always choose the option that is better - the option that is closer to my own personal point of view.

I have never seen a political candidate with whom I agreed on everything. Not once, and I'm 71 years old. If I were older, I would say the same about FDR, too. I would always have opposed his views on race and his actions to intern Japanese-Americans during the war, despite his positions on other things.

Our elections are binary, despite the existence of minor parties. A Republican or a Democrat wins in all significant races.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 10:19 PM

5. elections are only binary in primitive electoral systems

Elections are only binary in primitive electoral systems... and if the US excels here, it in both having an antiquated system that is incapable of accurately measuring the will of the People. Other nations deal with the defects in our system with proportional representation for legislative elections. So instead of a citizen being faced with that binary choice... where up to 49.9% of the votes count for nothing, voters can vote for their conscience. If the Greens get 10% of the national vote, they'd get 10% of the seat. Under our system those voters can vote forever, never win a seat, and those ideas are excluded from the halls of power making the system semi-braindead. In single position elections instant run-off voting can insure no one wins an election without the consent of at least 50%+ of the electorate.

The added advantage to enacting such reforms is once the electoral and political system are actually responsive to voters... voter participation goes up. Voting age participation in the US is abysmal... 35% in off year elections, and 50-55% in presidential elections. Other nations are routinely in the 70-80% range.

One might think these ideas would be widely accepted in the Democratic Party... but their not. At its core the Democratic Party is VERY conservative in its refusal to push for democratic reforms.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #5)

Mon Jan 2, 2017, 10:23 AM

6. I deal with reality. We have the system we have.

Could it be changed for the better? Of course, but the process of doing that is long and unlikely.

Our system is effectively binary for most elected offices. That's clear. So, attempting to change the system by voting outside of it is not going to accomplish any goal at all, and risks losing that office to the other major party.

Since it is our elected legislators who would have to initiate a replacement system, that seems highly unlikely to happen.

2016 is an object lesson in the binary nature of our system. We can take that lesson or ignore it. I choose to take the lesson and go with it.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 01:07 PM

7. translation: you want us all to be held hostage to the politics of 1787

Can our system be changed? I'd argue it can't in any fundamental way. But unlike other nations that deal with the defects in their system, we just throw up our hands and make excuses for, or rationalize away its defects. Not even liberal Dems want to touch the topic. And yet WE MUST change it... because the REAL lesson of 2016 is that our system makes a mockery of the very concept of self government... and US history will change for the worst without the consent of the governed. Instead of trying to modernize our system, Dems are buying into their own repression.

So the REAL lesson is, if the system is failing yet is essentially reformproof... as were the Articles Of Confederation... then there are two options... 1: start a 50-100 year campaign to reform it and hope for the best. This is unlikely to succeed since not ONE of the core antidemocratic features of the system has been reformed in 225 years. Or 2 shock the system... say by CA threatening secession if the system is not reformed.

Otherwise prepare for more Bush and Trump Juntas... and the system getting more and more reformproof. But then there are always the perpetual apologists who an intellectually incapable of even thinking of changing the system. Is that you?

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 01:19 PM

8. As you may or may not have noticed, our Constitution has been

amended many times, and can be amended again. It's not easy to amend the Constitution, by design, but the fact that we now have 27 amendments, enacted over the years, demonstrates clearly that we are not bound by the 1787 words.

Amending the constitution requires a supermajority. It should. It should be very difficult to change that document, but there are more than one way to change it, from amendments to a new constitutional convention.

Until it is amended, however, we either follow it or revolt. I don't see any likelihood of an actual revolt, so I guess we'll have to elect enough people to Congress to amend it and convince 3/4 of the states to ratify any such amendment.

Be careful what you ask for. The conservatives will have the same difficulty in amending the Constitution, which is why it was originally written in a way that makes it difficult to amend.

Maybe it's time for a civics refresher course. I don't know. But I've been keeping up with that stuff all my life.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 4, 2017, 05:39 PM

9. let's do a breakdown of those amendments...

I did a breakdown some years back. I get ZERO serious reform amendments in 223 years! As for it being difficult to amend... sure, it SHOULD be difficult. But it's an insane formula where now states with 4% of the US population can block any reform, yet states with 40% can ratify any amendment. The Constitution simply has no internal protections against demographic trends any more than it has against the corruption of elites (financially or ideologically) who were given a veto over the People at every turn.

Here's a breakdown of amendments by category... feel free to break them down in other ways:

INDIVIDUAL & STATES RIGHTS: 1-10 plus 13th, 14th

FINE TUNING THE CONSTITUTION: 11th, 12th, 16th, 20th, 22ed, 25th, 27th


EXPANDING VOTING RIGHTS: 15th, 19th, 24th, 26th


The first ten amendments, aka The Bill Of Rights, were demanded by the states as the price of ratification. So that leaves 17 amendments over 223 years or one amendment every 13 years.

If we take away the 7 that I've put into the "FINE TUNING" category that leaves 10 amendments over 223 years or one, on average, every 22.3 years. These amendments cover things like presidential terms etc.

Take away Prohibition and its repeal... that leaves 8 amendments over 223 years giving us one amendment averaging about every 28 years.

That leaves 6 amendments that in some way make the Constitution more democratic... that gives us one amendment every 36 years. These amendments fall into two categories.

The first category is expanding the vote to groups who arguably should NEVER have been denied it: slaves (15th), women (19th), those who can't afford a poll tax (24th) and 18 year olds (26th).

The second category deals with some aspect of the antidemocratic structure of the Constitution itself. Here we have but TWO amendments... giving us ONE reform amendment, on average, every 111 years. Those reforms were allowing direct vote for the Senate... and giving EC votes to those in Washington DC. Given how antidemocratic the Constitution is, those reforms are minor tweaks.

The sad reality is NONE of those 27 amendments to date have reformed ANY of the core antidemocratic features of the Constitution all of which are connected with the antidemocratic concept of state suffrage... the EC, the Senate, the exclusive powers of the Senate to ratify judicial nominees or treaties, the amendment process, etc.

That's ZERO serious reform amendments in 223 years!

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