Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News

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Republicans are predominantly white, with 87 percent of them identifying as non-Hispanic white. This percentage has remained steady for well over a decade " long before the sizable increase in minority support that Democrats saw with the first African-American president. www.debt.org

Republicans face this dilemma: As the party of whites, they represent a constituency that will only keep shrinking as a proportion of the population. Yet their current position, in which they hold the lion's share of political power in the United States despite winning the support of well less than half the public, is dependent on remaining the party of white people. They need whites to stay angry and they need to keep suppressing the votes of minorities, but doing so means that should the day ever come that they finally decide to reach out beyond their base, they will have made it somewhere between difficult and impossible. prospect.org

The Democratic Party planks during the '90's were to the right of where the GOP is today."

The Republican Plank during the '50's and '60's were to the left of where the Democratic Party is today.

What's your point? The movement of the Democratic Party to the right is a consequence of 1980's deregulation of television and radio, corporations, and destruction of the Union movement. When the GOP knee-capped the unions, headlined by Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers, the Dems lost a major source of money, infuence, and "boots-on-the-ground". In order to remain competitive, they had to find another source of funding. Wall St. was a kind of "lesser of two evils" compared to the polluting energy-extracting and processing industries and the MIC. Besides, a lot of Wall Streeters lived in Manhattan and were "socially liberal", so at the time it sounded like an attractive compromise.

Fortunately, with the advances in technology and telecommunications over the last 20 or so years, small individual contributions have become a viable source of funding. I think it would probably be a good thing if it were the only private funding source campaigns, and even better if campaigns were funded with public money, like it is in most other countries.

TV advertising is the single largest expense for most American congressional candidates, while in many other countries candidates are either forbidden from advertising on television or given free TV time. In most places there's substantial public funding of campaigns, and candidates are often forbidden from campaigning until a relatively short period before election day. Put all that together, and you have elections where, even if it would technically be legal to rain huge amounts of money down on candidates, nobody considers it worth their while (for instance, here's a nice description of the relative quiet of a German campaign). So the idea of someone spending two or three million dollars to get a seat in the national legislature, the way American House candidates routinely do, would seem absurd.
As you look over the different regulations various countries have come up with, it does seem that the thing that makes all the difference in how campaigns are conducted is the spending limits, which are often combined with time limits on electioneering. Everyone has to weigh two competing considerations. The first is the desire for elections that retain a reasonable amount of integrity, and are conducted in a manner that is, for lack of a better term, civilized. And the second is the principle of free speech, that a candidate for office should be able to say what he wants, as often as he wants, and spend as much as he wants doing it, even at the risk of corruption. In most other countries, they've decided that the first consideration is more important. In the U.S., we've decided that the second consideration is the only one that matters.

And we end up with a system that nobody likes except the large donors, who get to control the playing field.

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