When I listen to the political rhetoric of the major parties, I am baffled by some of their perspectives and positions. Political parties are not expected to be rational, because 70-80 percent of the voters make decisions emotionally rather than logically, so there should be no surprise as to their positions. Let’s examine some of the irrational statements from each of the three major parties: Libertarians, Democrats and the Republicans.
Libertarians: We are in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic. Thousands of people have become ill, and thousands have died. Libertarians deeply value small government. As one Libertarian friend of mine states, he wants “liberty without coercion”. How would a Libertarian president deal with the pandemic? Would they have done nothing, saying it wasn’t the responsibility of the federal government? Would they have delegated responsibility to the states, letting each governor decide the course of action? If you go to 2016 Libertarian vice presidential candidate Larry Sharpe’s website statement about universal health care, you will find he has shouted “no!!!”
Considering the trillions of dollars that have been poured into saving the economy by Republicans and Democrats in Congress, it seems like the Libertarians’ silence speaks volumes, indicating how naïve and idealistic the Libertarian position is in the light of the pandemic.
Democrats: Bernie Sanders is the chief spokesperson for the progressive branch of the Democratic Party. Sanders gained a great deal of support from people in their twenties and thirties who want free college education and debt forgiveness. I sympathize with them because Congress has allowed higher education costs to expand exponentially without any checks on the fees and tuition charged by universities. Student debt has increased proportionally. University and college building programs have seen the building of grand edifices, far beyond what is necessary to educate students. Higher education costs need to be more tightly regulated. Bernie’s solution is to tax the rich and also the middle class. Those taxes and costs would run into the trillions of dollars. Bernie’s solutions are not fiscally rational.
Democrats’ position on gay marriage and transgender issues also are unrealistic and provocative. Marriage has always had a religious tradition. Gays were offered civil marriages, which would have satisfied their legal concerns about inheritance and sickness, but they wanted full recognition of their lifestyles and views. The same comment can be made about the restroom debate. It seems to me that a small number of transgenders demanding the right to go into any restroom they feel like, no matter their birth gender, is self-indulgent. Changing restrooms to satisfy their views is costly and unnecessary. Both of these demands created rage on the part of the religious right. The blowback from these decisions resulted in the election of Donald Trump. It seems the costs far outweighed the benefits.
Republicans: The most baffling party has to be the Republicans, with many blindly support President Trump. His delay in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic has cost the lives of thousands of Americans. He has flipflopped between telling the states that the problem is theirs, and then saying he has the sole power to decide. He then was forced to back down after he got pushback from the governors and the Constitution. He has been only sporadically helpful to the states. There is little coordination and a lot of conflict between the states and the federal government. His decisions have only delayed the end of the “sheltering in place” edicts. As one writer pointed out, Trump wants to be seen as a decisive leader without taking any responsibility for the negative effects. That’s why he has flipflopped so often on the issue.
The second issue that is baffling is President Trump’s trade war with the Chinese. Trump’s increase of tariffs has cost the incomes and customers for many of his agricultural supporters. The GDP decreased from 2.9 percent to 2.1 percent because of this trade war. In the end, Trump made a cosmetic face-saving agreement with the Chinese because of the 2020 election. The trade war actually cost Americans about $30 billion dollars.
Trump needs to go, but his supporters ignore his failings and pratfalls. Why they still support him and his policies is a great mystery.
Each of these parties have baffling behaviors. If I haven’t ticked off just about everybody in describing the actions of these parties, it’s not because I haven’t tried. It would be great if representatives from each of these perspectives would write a letter to the editor justifying their party’s puzzling positions. I hope their arguments are rational and not rants or deflections. Opinion columns are meant to make us all think, even if we don’t agree. Reasonable disagreement is healthy in civil discourse.