US Political Parties

Jon Kofas writes: I am no supporter of Hilary Clinton. While she is an opportunist and a typical populist politician who will stick to a script to make sure she has a future in politics, she is driven by some sense of social justice and concern for the environment. Let us not forget that poverty actually declined during the Clinton presidency, while household incomes among workers rose.  Having said that, I honestly do not believe that the political elites, which includes the Clintons, are free to pursue policies out of the "institutional mainstream" as people think, especially in this election season with ads and commercials pointing out differences between candidates. Randy Black probably wants to believe that there are vast substantive differences between Republicans and Democrats, between Kerry and Bush, between Hilary Clinton and my state's senior Republican senator Richard Lugar. In fact, there are tiny differences in substance and only in style and modalities. The tragedy of the American political system is that the two-party system represents the same institutional structures. 

Istvan Simon says: I think that Jon Kofas is quite right about the basic similarities of the two parties in the American political system. Nonetheless, I would not characterize that as a tragedy. It comes simply from the fact that there is a common core of beliefs that most Americans share -- in political terms this  is called the "center". Most of the time, I would say that  this is a good thing rather than a bad thing.

The "tragedy", if there is any tragedy at all in the American political system, is that only half the eligible population bothers to vote. By so doing they stop contributing to democratic solutions where  abuses occur.  As an example of such an abuse I would mention the Canadian drug imports, which Bush directed the FDA to stop, (in my opinion for phony reasons.) Indeed, it has been shown in the Presidential debates that it was one of the issues on which Kerry scored consistently and effectively against the President. Democracy works.

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Ronald Hilton 2004


last updated: November 24, 2004