Why the Democrats and Republicans are So Eerily Similar

Posted on 29/10/2011 by

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There is a very good reason why the Democrat and Republican parties seem similar. The roots of both parties are sunk in the same place: a political suasion known as Whigism.

In a nutshell, Whig thought can be best called proto-corporatism. They favoured the consolidation of economic power into privately owned institutions, in the name of efficiency. It was the first political party, formed in Great Britain, merely for the sake of having a political party. They were also the inventors of the notion that one shapes one’s platform to suit one’s largest financial benefactors. In the case of the early American Whigs, the rich and powerful industrialists of the time.

This should sound rather familiar.

To make a long story short, the Democrats and Republicans seem the same, because they are of the same origin. They are both ‘flexible’ to large, rich, and powerful business interests. They are more than happy to adopt populist rhetoric, so long as the pro-big business policies are not threatened.

Because of this, it is perfectly reasonable to consider the Republicans and Democrats two somewhat confrontational wings of the same party. They have their differences (consider, for example, abortion), but on big business and supporting the rich and powerful, they are effectively unanimous in their policies.

The solution to this situation is not supporting one wing over the other. That still supports the effectively one-party system which has a stranglehold on the United States. One wing is just as uncaring about the plight of the 99% as the other; the Democrats merely believe in window dressing.

Nor is the solution something like the ‘Tea Party’. Their thoughts can be best distilled as: the cure to corporate dominance is more unfettered corporate dominance.

What is needed in the United States is not more of the ruling two-winged party, but a wide-scale restructuring. The political system needs to be opened up to real criticism, and to ideas which derive from something other than a pro-corporate, Whig-based ethic. There are many more fonts of political thought whence we can draw new ideas. It is high time we used them.

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Posted in: Analysis, Reform