Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As Republicans Embrace Populism, Democrats Step Into Void to Support Crony Capitalism

One reason third parties do not take hold in the United States is that the views of the two major parties, the Democratic and Republican parties, are constantly evolving, absorbing political shifts inside of those parties and outside among the general population.  As a result, third parties advocating political views that gain popularity can never gain traction.

In the last 20 years, I've seen dramatic changes in the Republican Party.  The GOP is a much more libertarian party today than it was in the early 1990s.  You'll even find Republicans on the front lines of the marijuana legalization fight.  That was unheard of two decades ago.

You'll also find Republicans to be much more isolationist than the party was two decades ago.   Much of the grumbling about possibly going back to Iraq is coming from conservatives who support the United States taking a reduced role in the world's affairs, certainly much more so when it involves the introduction of military troops.  An increasing number of conservatives are even arguing for cutting the military budget.

Where are the "law and order" Republicans who dominated GOP politics in the 1980s?  Well the new generation of Republicans is arguing for reduced jail time for non-violent offenders and alternative sentencing?

On the Democratic side, Bill Clinton in the early 1990s pushed the Democratic Party to be more respective of those whose lives are guided by religious faith.  It was a brilliant political move, having the effect of picking off enough religious conservatives to tip the balance to the Democrats, who will have occupied the White House for 16 years since that strategy was initiated.  Democrats though have increasingly eschewed the Clinton strategy turning up the rhetoric against religious, most recently with a foolish, overblown reaction to the Hobby Lobby decision.

Timothy Carney of The Washington Examiner pens an article about how, as Republicans turn more populist and more opposed to crony capitalism or corporate welfare, the Democrats are stepping into the void arguing for more taxpayer support of business.  Carney hits the nail on the head with his summation of the politics of the issue:
There's nothing new about the Left favoring corporate welfare in general, and Ex-Im in particular. Even under President George W. Bush, many more Republicans than Democrats opposed Ex-Im renewal in Congress: 50 House Republicans voted against Ex-Im in 2002, compared to only 26 Democrats.
What’s new is that there is a strong anti-corporatist streak on the Right and even within the upper reaches of the GOP. 
When both parties were thoroughly corporatist, Democrats could sprinkle a few tax hikes into their policy stew of subsidies and mandates and claim the populist mantle—and the media would believe them.
Now, with the GOP opposing (some) corporate welfare, the Democrats’ corporatism is laid bare.
Guys like Schumer and Israel probably figure that if they can’t pretend to be fighting for the little guys anymore, they may as well more aggressively fundraise from the big guys they’re subsidizing.   
Instead of scrambling to keep the love of Big Business, Republicans should accept Schumer’s framing: The Democrats are the party of Big Business and Big Government. 
Let’s see how that works on Election Day.

1 comment:

Pete Boggs said...

Crony Capitalism is fascism; state run... you fill in the blank beyond Constitutional charter.