Monday, October 16, 2006

Typical Politics

In the American system of voting, you can influence the outcome by motivating people to vote for your candidate, or at least voting against the other candidate.

Another way of influencing the outcome is by motivating people not to vote, especially those voters who aren't likely to support your candidate.

For example, see this article from the BBC: Bush aides 'mocked evangelicals'.
The former official alleges senior aides to the president described the evangelical leaders in private as "nuts" and "goofy", while acknowledging their political use in securing election wins.
Plenty of political party supporters are nuts and goofy, but this particular story is made international news in an attempt to keep evangelical Protestant Christians at home on election day.
Republicans are already concerned that the resignation of congressman Mark Foley over lewd e-mails he sent to teenage boys may have dissuaded some religious conservatives from turning out to vote.
Washington D.C. is well-acquainted with lewd behavior, but that other story was popularized for the same reason: keeping evangelicals away from the polls in November.

Evangelicals tend to be fairly reliable voters, so this strategy should only help the Democrats by a few percentage points - but of course, a few points can sway an election.

We should never forget that political parties are about power, not ideology.

The evangelical vote only became a significant force since the late 1960s, when, arguably, there was a "Great Awakening" of Protestantism, which opposed the social revolutions and ascendant Socialism of that era. The Democratic and Republican parties of that era went though a traumatic reorganization during that time, and the Evangelicals, not welcomed by the increasingly-Marxist Democrats, found a home with the Republicans. Shifting political alliances are the norm in party politics, and it shouldn't be surprising that there may be a readjustment in the near future. Many old-line Republicans, those of the old "Eastern Liberal Establishment", aren't comfortable with those who want tradition and faith. These are quite happy having women in the workplace generating revenue and taxes instead of having children; these "country club' Republicans also like illegal immigration, to keep wages low and to offset population decline. They also tend not to care about the morality of biotechnology.

Catholics were once one of the pillars of the Democratic party, but roughly half, opposing socialism, now vote Republican. Practicing Catholics are typically solid voters, having being taught that patriotism is a moral duty. It should be noted that many Catholics became discouraged by the reforms following the Second Vatican Council and became evangelical Protestants. Some of these eccelsial communities are nearly made up entirely of fallen-away Catholics.

The Democratic Party may win big in the coming election, but it still has severe internal problems. Ironically, this party, which once identified with the working class, now has a leadership whose wealth exceeds that of its rival. Likewise, its fascination with novel academic theories and policies alienates many of its poor, and religious, constituency.

There is a strong possibility that a new populist movement could alter, once again, the factions making up the parties.

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