Finding our Common Ground
What is it about today’s political landscape that keeps people from finding common ground? Any analysis of “The Great Divide” that exists today must begin with a look at how we map out peoples’ and political parties’ overall ideologies.
Most often, people use the simple, one-dimensional continuum to map out and pinpoint people’s political views.
However, given the varied issues facing us today, this model is no where close to effective at producing an accurate picture. For example, many people identify themselves as fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. This philosophy could be summarized as, “Keep out of my pocket, but keep out of my bedroom too.” Mapping these people out by either one of these positions, or simply placing them at the center of this range does not accurately represent there beliefs. All it does is convey the angst they face each time the enter a voting booth, knowing that there is no political party that represents them fully. What is called for is an expand scope of our model.
Realizing this, the Transpartisan Center added a second axis, thus creating a two dimensional model in which party philosophies can be more accurately mapped to. This model further creates a clearer picture of subgroups within a specific party, such as Progressive Democrats or Tea Party Republicans. Atop this vertical axis is “Order”, which represents strong government control. In contrast, the bottom is labeled “Freedom”, or the desire for severely limited government oversight. Combined with the aforementioned Liberal-Conservative X-axis, this creates four distinct political quadrants displayed below. Let’s look at where the various parties fit within this new model.
Democrats – Liberal values achieved through the rule of bigger government. Progressive are
even more extreme, desiring expanded social welfare programs through forced governmental
mandates funded by a progressive tax system in which the burden increases as wealth does.
Republicans – Conservative values achieved through the strict rule of smaller government
funded with minimum taxation. Tea Party republicans seek to further codify conservative
morals/values in law.
Libertarians – Minimal federal government in which individuals are sovereign over their
own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others. Local
organizations establish community rules agreed to by the whole. Most importantly, note the
fact that two distinct positions are needed to plot out Libertarian; one representing their
stances on social issues and one on fiscal issues. Further not that for each, they are actually
tend more to the extremes than either Democrats or Republicans.
In the final analysis, we have two main parties dominating the current political landscape, neither of which has produced satisfactory results in the past 50 years. Their failure is a direct result of ultra-partisan thinking that produces nothing but the desire to obstruct any agenda other than their own. This is in stark contrast to the intended aim of our representative democracy — compromise for the good of all. Of course, these two intractable sides have had a good deal of help in getting to this point.
Undue influence of corporations, unions, special interests, and the mega-wealthy have not only changed the conversation, but changed actual votes through Super PACs, lobbyists, and junkets. Add to that the fact that those in power have used their abilities to rig the game so they can easily stay in and/or regain power, and profit by it while serving in either the minority or the majority. Then, upon retirement, they field offers for patronage jobs, offering their Washington connections and influence to the highest bidder, many of whom they helped get a leg up while in office.
Frustrated by the stagnation of partisan politics, some have rebelled and formed new parties – a step in the right direction for sure. The only problem is that each of these new parties has splintered farther toward the extremes, creating an even larger chasm of ideals that threatens any hope of a viable third choice. What is needed is a choice in the middle; one where people can find enough common ground to get things moving again. Party Recon is our best hope for affecting real change in our nation, and restoring the seat of democratic power to its proper place – with the people.