Politics is a team sport. Democrats know that better than Republicans.
Political parties are coalitions. Those who disparage partisan governments fail to note that there is no place where governments are freely chosen that does not utilize them.
The fundamental difference between the American two-party system and the European multi-party system is they form their coalitions after the general election; we do it before. Our entire electoral process, from the electoral college to primary elections, is one more example of American exceptionalism.
There are often more than two views concerning any given issue and multiple philosophical underpinnings used to arrive at those views. That often breeds third parties, but multi-party systems in practice reduce real choices because they reduce the internal compromises needed in any party that has to ultimately govern. The compromises needed within a party are smaller and more workable than those between parties.
Compromises come at the end of the process and generally kick the can down the road (I promise not to use that new cliché ever again). Resolved internally before an election they are smaller in nature and allow the winners to implement an agenda with something resembling a mandate.
Many issues compromised tend to come back and bite you later, slavery being the prime example. Our fiscal mess was not created by socialist dogma; it was the product of constant compromises over who got what at taxpayer expense.
The current Democrat coalition is both tighter and better understood by those making it up than the Republican one. While there are deviants from the liberal norm among Democrats (and I exclude from that definition the handful of genuine leftists who actually hold public office) they rarely stray off the partisan reservation. Democrat liberal homogeneity has been aided by the mainly self-elimination of any genuine conservatives. This makes them more politically efficient in the short term – block voting – but ultimately intellectually stagnant with less genuine or deep internal disputes – block headedness.
The Republican coalition contains far more intellectual pockets and goes beyond the three-part “economic, cultural, and national defense” subdivisions commonly used. Most liberals are too lazy and arrogant to notice this. They are the modern counterpart of the 19th century D.C. Bureaucrats who didn’t know the difference between Apaches and Arapahos. “Seen one, seen ‘em all. Only good conservative is….”
While this conservative philosophical ferment is a great strength it can result in relatively minor divisions stretched into “deal breakers.” Some conservatives oppose GOP Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake. They dislike his stand on military gays and his former positions on the border. Some even call him “RINO” (Republican in name only).
Project Vote Smart’s records on Flake’s 10 years in Congress tell us his lifetime voting index with the American Conservative Union is more than 90 percent. Those who claim he’s “just like John McCain” should note McCain has hovered around 70 percent with ACU for a couple of decades. Twenty-plus ACU points is a big difference.
The GOP also contains many in the corporate community who see it as a better vehicle for self-aggrandizement than the Democrats are, at least for now. These opportunistic forces have more influence with Gov. Brewer, hardly a liberal, than they do on the more genuinely conservative GOP state legislature causing her to veto a number of bills supported by most conservatives. Liberal Democrat governors rarely veto bills passed by a liberal Democrat legislature.
Those who believe trends are relevant should note that the philosophical occurs before the political. The Left’s control of large segments of formal education and the mainstream media has created intellectual stagnation for them and massive blowback elsewhere. Gen. Patton’s observation that, “No one is thinking when everyone is thinking alike,” was never more applicable.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays at 1 p.m. on KVOI 1030 AM.