This was published in my college newspaper in 2008. Now in the midst of the 2016, the reorientation of the Republican right appears to have begun.
During the 2008 election we were attacked by the phrase “It is time for change.” At the time it seemed unlikely that the conservatives would recite this mantra as well. However, with the political climate changing even faster than the global climate, the time for conservatives to step back and reevaluate has come.
For years, the term conservative–Republican–has meant two distinct and conflicting things: the importance of social values, a stricter view of what should not happen within one’s home, and the belief that the government should stay out of the economy.
On the other hand, liberal–Democrat–has meant two conflicting things as well: your home is your home and what you do in private is your own business, and the economy is the government’s business. Though these statements may in fact be generalizations, after taking the time to look at The Republican Platform of 2008 at www.gop.com, and the Democrat Platform at www.democrats.org, I stick with the conclusion that they are fundamentally correct.
The moment has come for new definitions and names to move into the political sphere. The concepts of Republican and Democrat are becoming archaic and should face extinction.
Following the landslide in 2008, now is the time for a full-fledged transformation. Republicanism–the party, not the political ideal–should cease to exist, not because it is not a worthwhile idea, but because it truly stands for two conflicting ideas. The social and economic aspects have been the hallmarks of politics for generations. For years you have only been able to choose between “Ab” or “Ba.” But the time for “Aa” and “Bb” is upon us.
The major platforms of the parties are thus: socially conservative, fiscally conservative, socially liberal and fiscally liberal. Under these definitions, fiscally conservative would be a laissez-faire attitude, while fiscally liberal would be the opposite. However, it does not make much sense for the government to be involved in one aspect, but not the other. Therefore, I propose a rearrangement.
In this new system, socially conservative and fiscally liberal people would be in one group, while fiscally conservative and socially liberal would be in another. In this new system there is a reason for things being the way they are other than the argument, ‘well that’s just how it has always been.’ In fact, it has not always been this way: according to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the term liberal used to have the opposite definition that it does now and was once the dominant political philosophy in the U.S. Such a shift has not occurred in a number of decades, which is one of the reasons politics has become so stagnant.
It is unlikely that Democrats will embrace this rearrangement. They came up victorious in 2008; why should they look to change when things are so obviously going their way? Two major platforms won the election for the Democrats in 2008: foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East, and the economic downturn at the time of the election.
No matter what happens in the coming months and years, Republicans have a chance to work their way back into the forefront of the general public’s mind.
Democrats must continue to evolve with the problems that they encounter if they want to remain on top.
Meanwhile, Republicans must use this opportunity to reorganize. There are fundamental differences among members of the party, but many are unwilling to separate for fear of splitting votes.
I submit that 2012 might be another victory for the Democrats–a shift this dramatic will require time for everyone, politicians and voters alike, to readjust–but a shift must happen at some point and no time will ever be better than now.
Link to the original posting: http://thesantaclara.org/redefine-political-parties-in-us/
FiveThirtyEight has talked about this subject as well, check out Silver’s post below, along with the graphic I was trying to explain in 2008:
TD // 7/29/16