Many of the GOP rank in file are authentically religious. Their religious beliefs are sometimes confused, mistaking naturalism for science, human sexuality as mostly selfish and hurtful, and other religions as false or even demonic. They are often readers of the Bible who unconsciously interpret it inconsistently. They love and trust their preachers and don't understand how illiterate many of them are. Hence, they mistakenly believe that America is God's country and capitalism is God's economic system. They struggle with universal human weaknesses: pride, fear, greed, lust, etc.
Much the same can be said about the Democratic rank-in-file, but there are some differences. Increasingly, Democrats are becoming more secular minded. Few ever read their Bibles, if they even remember where it is on the shelf. They have no idea that their sense of economic justice is rooted in biblical tradition. Racism and sexism often take on different forms from how it is manifest in the other party, but these two bigotries are present nevertheless. Democrats tend to be economic nationalists but as consumers they are as globalistic as anybody else.
There are within both parties' leadership people of good will and personal integrity. Their sins are generally not greater in number or quality than are those of the rank-in-file they represent, however, their ethical failures are more consequential due to the scope of their influence. Many of them are caught in a systemic trap, believing that a better bargain is just around the corner, and can't find their way out of this maze of obstacles and opportunities. Detestable as their behavior is, most all of us would behave the same if we resided atop this same pile.
In my previous post, I wanted to affirm the rage that Democrats feel at the GOP to motivate them to fight back in a clever way with weapons their opponents are not prepared to defend against. I also wanted them to recognize that their party leadership was doing them little good, causing them to settle for much less than adequate policy responses to major economic problems.
In order to break this jam we are all in, the two major parties need to be shook up and maybe even destroyed completely. I am not arguing for the ontological impossibility of ending ideology. Nor am I saying that we should not have political parties. What I am saying is that we need political parties which truly represent its members' ideas, ideals and aspirations.
What we need to get to this state of political parties accurately representing their memberships is not to replace corrupt leaders with virtuous ones (although that is a laudable and partially achievable goal). What we need is to recognize that the two major parties are two different composites of ideological factions. The Democratic party holds together green-peace, labor, cultural libertarian and global coporatists ideologies. The Republican party binds together cultural conservatives, economic (and a few consistent) libertarians, and global corporatists.
We have then basically 5 ideological factions at work: libertarian, green-peace, labor, cultural conservative and global corporatist. The global corporatists compose the smallest faction but hold controlling power over both parties.
There are different points of agreement and points of conflict among all of these factions. Many in the labor faction would closely identify with values of the cultural conservatives. Green-peace democrats are largely cultural libertarians but some cultural libertarians hold to interventionist economic views, whether of the labor or the global corporatist sort. Labor just wants good paying jobs with good benefits, and this desire frequently puts them at odds with green-peace and in alliance with cultural conservatives, global coporatists, and less often, libertarians.
Most green-peace and libertarians of both parties are global in outlook but not corporatistic. Libertarians and global corporatists share a common trust that investors should drive the economy even though libertarians often agree with labor, green-peace and cultural conservatives that many investors gained their station through significant government patronage.
What we have within the Ron Paul phenomenon is a candidacy which is trying to kick the global corporatists out of the GOP while convincing cultural conservatives that their noble work is best done at state, local and personal levels. Additionally, the Paulinians are trying to convince the cultural and economic libertarians from each party and among independents and alternate parties to join the cause of taking over the Republican party and making it into a consistent libertarian party.
I am predicting that unless Sarah Palin endorses Ron Paul, there is no chance that Ron Paul and his supporters can pull off this coup, and even then, it's a long shot. The more realistic strategy would be to persuade at least 2 or 3 million progressives to drop out of predetermined Democratic primaries to vote for Paul in the GOP primaries.
If Ron Paul succeeds, the Republican party will fracture to the temporary benefit of the Democratic party. I say temporary because much depends on whether or not Ron Paul decides to run a coalition campaign in the general election. If he wins the GOP Primary he will probably attempt to stick close to an exclusively libertarian agenda. If he gets gang shafted at the convention in Tampa Bay, he is more likely to adopt the coalition strategy. The former choice will most likely mean we have Obama in the White House 4 more years while the latter choice makes Paul the probable victor in a three way general election race.
If Ron Paul leads a real libertarian/progressive coalition to victory a revolution in American politics begins. This revolution is completed when these 5 factions become 5 parties and 4 of them agree to dilute the strength of small states (and hence giant multinational corporations) in the Senate. All of these potential parties currently have defensive interests in keeping the current Senate membership and rules largely the same. Only the global corporatists have a substantially positive reason to keep the Senate functioning as it is. Their agenda has become the default agenda of plutocratic government controlled by the already rich and powerful.
This plutocracy with their two tribal magicians will continue to keep the 4 potential parties who represent at least 90% of the voting public out of power, alternately cheering and jeering from the sidelines they mistakenly identify as a seat at the table. This reality can change in a major way, creating a cascade of greater change, if libertarians and progressives would suspend their battle and think creatively together for just 4 years. Alas, I fear this will never happen.