Democratic Party

We're Blindly Picking Between Political Poisons

Our political system is dominated by two major political parties with serious identity crises.


"The state of the Republicans is particularly parlous," The Economist noted last year, before our country's political fissures further deepened and widened, "But the contradictions among Democrats, though less obvious, also run deep."

How much deeper and wider those fissures now run was demonstrated last week with Sen. Jeff Flake's (R-Ariz.) announcement that he won't seek reelection. It was the latest evidence that American electoral politics are fracturing in ways that offer less and less to people who reject tribal contests and think live-and-let-live is an attractive philosophy. Actually, it's a big problem for anybody who just wants clear choices.

With his poll numbers tanking after his outspoken attacks on President Trump's protectionism, saber-rattling, and xenophobia, the junior senator from Arizona publically conceded that "a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party." It was time for him to try his luck at something else.

In another country, that might mean switching to another political label. But America's political system has never been good at fulfilling one of the premises of a democracy: that when you pick your poison at the ballot box, you at least have some idea of the flavor of the toxin you've chosen. Our two institutionalized political parties long muddied those choices, with a mushy center-right party facing a mushy center-left party, whatever the characteristics of individual candidates. These days, the Republican and Democratic Parties remain dominant—by design–even as Americans become more starkly divergent in their political positions. But while Flake and his friends obviously no longer feel welcome in the GOP, it's less apparent than ever what that party does embrace—and it's only slightly clearer what the opposition Democrats represent.

"Nearly a year after Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican coalition is deeply divided on such major issues as immigration, America's role in the world and the fundamental fairness of the U.S. economic system," the Pew Research Center announced the same day that Jeff Flake said he'd had enough. How deeply divided? Of the four parts into which Pew divides the Republican coalition, one (Market Skeptic Republicans) doesn't really believe in the free market and supports higher taxes—although they're not as dubious about free trade as Country First Conservatives. Core Conservatives and New Era Enterprisers, on the other hand, favor the market, but the second group is also better-disposed than the other factions toward larger, interventionist government.

The groups vary widely on social issues, with Country First Conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage, while the other three factions are generally comfortable with the practice. Market Skeptics are the only majority pro-choice faction when it comes to abortion, although New Era Enterprisers aren't too far behind. New Era type are the only one of the Republican factions within which a majority believe that immigrants "strengthen U.S. with hard work and talents"—zero percent of Country Firsters support that position.

The sheer incoherence of the Republican coalition raises questions about whether the GOP is a political party in any meaningful sense of the term. What does it stand for? It's clear that Republicans do in fact have strong beliefs, but they have enough of them that are incompatible to make for two or three competing organizations. Given that candidates generally work with their colleagues to achieve their party's general agenda, to what particular poison is any given GOP voter committing when filling in a ballot?

But let's not let the dog's breakfast that is the Republican Party conceal the messiness across the aisle. Democrats are for the moment in better shape than their official rivals, but they also have to reconcile Opportunity Democrats who overwhelmingly believe people can get ahead through hard work with Solid Liberals who overwhelmingly believe nothing of the sort. If Solid Liberals have little faith in the work ethic, they do believe that government does a better job than it is given credit for—a conceit that Disaffected Dems find laughable. That's probably why Disaffected Dems along with the Devout and Diverse don't share the positive opinion of government economic regulation held by the other factions in the Democratic coalition.

The Devout and Diverse are the most religious of Democratic groups and the most split of the coalition on the abortion issue, with just a slight plurality favoring pro-choice views. They're equally divided about the contributions of immigrants. Where the Democratic factions generally agree—the issues arguably holding them together—are those involving race and the welfare state. Overwhelmingly, they say the government should do more. (Interestingly, the traditional backbones of both parties—Core Conservatives and Solid Liberals—are the two groups least likely to agree to sacrifice privacy for promises of safety from terrorism.)

So a voter picking a Democratic candidate is most likely marking the ballot for more government services. But otherwise, that voter buys a mystery package just as if they'd marked a Republican ballot—especially when it comes to the sort of economy that's going to pay for the goodies.

Pew's categories are, frankly, confusing—the organization has taken some pains to explain (not convincingly, to me) why it doesn't use more commonly accepted terms. In particular, Pew has repeatedly written about why its categories don't use "libertarian" even though it has found reasonably consistent supporters of freedom to make up between 5 percent and 10 percent of the population. The organization's current set of questions for determining typologies are intensely frustrating in their phrasing and underlying premises (I gave up halfway through). That said, there's plenty of evidence here that to the extent the major political parties offer a choice at the ballot box, it's among surprise gifts with the contents to be revealed only after the votes are counted.

That still leaves us choice between political tribes, I guess. But to make any sort of an informed selection beyond tribal affiliation—to pick our poison from between our traditional major party selections, we can't even begin to decide whether one or another of those partisan toxins suits us until we have a better handle on what they are.

NEXT: 2-Year-Old Denied a Kidney Transplant Because of Dad's Gun Arrest Is Now Very Sick

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  1. If you’re not for me, you’re against me.

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  2. There is increasing pressure for the parties to realign, with the obvious major axis being between globalists and nationalists.

    America First!

    1. That’s a scary scenario, where the only choice is one’s flavor of statist. But perhaps that’s what we are now.

      1. That’s pretty much where we’ve always been. Occasionally we’ve had some vaguely freedom sounding rhetoric, but it’s always been about who holds the keys to unrestrained political power.

      2. National socialists vs. international socialists.

        1. At least you finally admit that Nazis are socialists which are lefty politics.

          1. No. They were right-wing, nationalist, sectarian socialists.

            “Right-wing” does not mean conservative or libertarian, it means sectarian reactionary, as opposed to “left-wing”, which means egalitarian revolutionary. Eg: defending a system of institutional special-interest identity politics vs. wanting to reverse the dynamic and make the previously oppressed the new oppressors.

            The Nazis wanted to restore the German Empire, ergo they were reactionary/revanchist, and dig in their heels on very much preexisting antisemitism and anti-Slav biases, ergo they were sectarian. In contrast to the Soviets, who, officially, wanted to create an international one-world government and abolish racial and economic class; the fact that they merely succeeded in creating a new nationalist, racist, cronyist empire of their own only demonstrates that the statist Left inevitably creates the same outcome as the statist Right- “man and pig, who can tell”- not that the Nazis were in fact “leftist”, or, for that matter, that the Soviets were in fact “rightist”: which, in case you didn’t know, is actually the official party line for many socialists, starting with Trotsky’s “The Revolution Betrayed”.

    2. *The Minority Of Americans That Would Actually Benefit On-Net From Revanchist Mercantilism And Nativism* First!


    3. America First!

      This woman would agree with you.

    4. with the obvious major axis being between globalists and nationalists.

      This is also a false choice, when you think about it. There is no realistic universe in which America retreats into some sort of 1930’s-style isolationism again. And even in the unlikely chance that it did, then it would also mean America would no longer be a world leader. The dollar wouldn’t be the world’s reserve currency anymore, international trade and security deals would ignore American interests, America would go back to being the backwater nation that it was at the turn of the last century, with the center of global power being somewhere else. Would the Trumpian nationalists tolerate such a turn of events? Would they really stand for the Euro or the Yuan being the world’s reserve currency? Would they really stand for, say, China and Russia NOT consulting us when it came to dealing with North Korea? Of course not. Functionally speaking, “America First” nationalism is a type of globalism, but one in which America is the world’s dictator, throwing its weight around and making other nations dance to our tune. The real globalism that the Trumpian nationalists fear is one in which the opinions of other nations are considered in addition to America’s. It’s this domestic chauvinism that is the most irritating to me.

      1. Considering the rest of the world is full of dictators, would-be dictators and other tyrants, I have no interest in their opinion. Why you would, is beyond me.

      2. Considering the rest of the world is full of dictators, would-be dictators and other tyrants, I have no interest in their opinion. Why you would, is beyond me.

        1. Therefore, America should exert its Manifest Destiny to rule the planet according to American values. Is that it?

          1. No, we should definitely applaud Saudi Arabia being on the Human Rights Council. Maybe we should take some domestic policy cues from Maduro. Let’s also model our free speech on Spain and the EU.

            1. Or, America could butt out of what other countries choose to do, no matter how much we disagree with their choices. Would that be too much to ask?

              Furthermore, America could also acknowledge that no matter how detestable we regard other countries’ policies to be, they also inhabit the planet and, in one way or another, we have to coexist with each other. Unless the plan is to invade the world and impose American values everywhere. Is that the plan?

              Finally, America could stop being so much of a goddamn hypocrite when it comes to “American values”. Why should other countries emulate “American values” when those values include such gems as punishing harmless pot users, executing the mentally ill, racism and bigotry, taking pride in ignorance, having no fiscal discipline whatsoever, boundless consumerism, and all sorts of other pathologies?

              1. “taking pride in ignorance”

                From you!


              2. I’m not sure what your issue is. Why you think I as a libertarian, or Trumpists, who basically wholly reject neoconservatism, believe those things are fine is beyond me.

                My point was only that the opinions of other nations matter little to me, considering the sources.

                Sure, if their opinion is don’t initiate aggression, I agree with that. Problem is, your wording made it sound like their opinions on all topics should be considered equally (at the UN, trade, human rights, nuclear proliferation, regulation of global companies, etc), and that is where I disagree.

              3. Unless the plan is to invade the world and impose American values everywhere. Is that the plan?

                This has been the plan for the past 70 years at least, under both major parties, and I don’t see any sign of that changing, until another country bigger and stronger than us comes along and kicks our butt, which already seems to be in the works. When that happens, the international community you speak so fondly of will cheer them on.

      3. Jeff, you don’t get it. The intended result of globalism is for everyone to defer to a world body composed of the same leftist assholes that think they know better than everyone else here in America. They will decide what is to eat, where you can go, what your job options will be, how much money you’re allowed to have, and pretty much everything else. Look at the EU to see the preliminary version of this vision.

        Being nationalist do3nt mean being isolationist. Those are separate things. Being nationalist means not tolerating the idea that some fucking pseudo intellectual faggots in Geneva will run our lives. Nor should they. For all of our faults, America is still better than any of them.

        1. No, that is your black helicopter caricature of globalism your tribe uses to scare people into voting for Team Red.

          Globalism is about reducing the bullshit barriers that restrain people behind imaginary lines for no good reason. No more no less. It isn’t about black helicopters or one-world government. More broadly, however, globalism asserts that America doesn’t have all the answers, that we don’t always have to look inward to find ideas and solutions for our problems, and that there is nothing inherently wrong or improper or immoral for doing so. Believe it or not, Americans AREN’T superior human beings. We are all just people.

          “Being nationalist do3nt mean being isolationist”

          You are right, it doesn’t have to mean isolationism. It could also mean global hegemony. That it what it means at our current moment in time, since America is on the top of the world pecking order. But when that time comes when America is no longer on top, then nationalism will mean isolationism. Just like it did in the past. Nationalism carries with it the domestic chauvinism that asserts that America has all the answers, and that we ought to (a) impose them on the rest of the world, if we have the power and will to do so; and if not, then (b) ignore the rest of the world and do our own thing regardless of the opinions of others.

          1. In fairness, globalist can mean all you just said, OR all that Mr. Fakaname said.

            There *are* authoritarian, one-world government promoting statists. They have this whole big building in New York and everything. They mostly spend their time raping maids and giving human rights awards to people without googling them first. Sometimes they send some guys from Pakistan on rape-cations to the Caribbean and stuff. They aren’t chill, in other words.

    5. It’s too bad for the looters that libertarian-party spoiler votes pack law-changing clout ranging from a factor of 10,000 (1972 abortion plank becomes Roe v Wade decision) down to the more pedestrian 10-to-1 swung by Bryanist communism in 1892 or the 23-to-1 factor that transformed the Prohibition Party’s 1.4% into the 18th Amendment and Great Depression. We repeal bad laws without even having to add to the politician population. Is this a great country or what?

      1. Oh fuck off.

  3. It’s like Stalingrad, only with fewer Katyushas.

    …I think I just figured out what feature Twitter needs to add next.

  4. With his poll numbers tanking after his outspoken attacks on President Trump’s protectionism, saber-rattling, and xenophobia

    Flake’s numbers were tanking before then. He was having issues of going from “libertarian-leaning” in the House to McCain mini-me in the Senate.

    1. Was it Boehm who called him a libertarian republican? Can’t remember, either way it made me throw up in my mouth a little. And that was from a magazine who very, very grudgingly considers Rand Paul one of ours sometimes.

      1. “a magazine who very, very grudgingly considers Rand Paul one of ours sometimes.”

        Depending on Rand’s mood, some days he is. Some days he ain’t.

  5. Another political quiz that continues to promote only a right-left paradigm. Boring.

    1. You certainly don’t expect the kleptocracy’s hand-picked pollsters to call attention to the small-party spoiler votes that have driven all political change for well over a century, do you? Greenback, Farmer-Labor, Populist fronts for communism wrote the 16th Amendment. The Prohibition Amendment proveded a 1.4% religious fanatic vote count could likewise soil the Constitution. But finally, thanks to David Nolan et alii, proponents of freedom have their hands on the multiplying lever of spoiler vote clout. All we need do is vote–and vigilantly keep infiltrators from defacing the Libertarian Party platform.

    2. I tried the poll out of morbid curiosity. It was stupid and was giving me a headache until I got to Question 10. A choice between “Poor people today have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return” or “Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.”

      I simply can’t decide which is further removed from anything resembling reality. It’s one thing to ask me to decide between blanket statements like “government is too big” and “government is too small.” It’s a completely different thing to ask me to decide between “the color of the sky is 4” and “the smell of the ocean is G”.

      1. People who are chronically poor tend to make serially shitty life decisions. Even when you show them, in detail, what they’re doing wrong, and how to fix it using options within their means.

      2. Where is: Most poor people have hard lives and some are getting government benefits without doing anything.

        1. “Which of these statements is closer to what you believe?” I’m sure you can answer that.

    3. Of course, that’s the plan: both the left and right establishments are basically for the same thing: more government power for them, it’s just they both lie about it. The RINOs claim to be limited government conservatives (except for the big government social conservatives), while the Democrats claim to be for the little guy (while selling government favors to the big rich guys who fund them).

      Certainly if Pew used libertarian vs. authoritarian, they’d get different and more meaningful results.

      One thing Tuccile (or whoever wrote the headline) gets wrong, I’ve been choosing Libertarians on my ballot. And while I voted for Johnson, I’ve been happier with Trump than I expected (even though it’s more or less, more of the same level of spending and government with lots of minor executive branch deregulation). Heck, the Democrats are going bonkers, promising to write articles of impeachment (though Pelosi wants to stop them). LOL, I look forward to reading them.

  6. This is exactly the scenario that makes me scratch my head over people saying “we need new and more parties!” America DOES have lots of parties – they just don’t have different names. They’re organized under broad coalitions of D and R, but there’s enormous differences between politicians within D and R. Even now, the right-most D has a lot more in common with the left-most R than they do with the left-most D.

    What do we get out of it? Division, gridlock, and an effectively non-functional Congress.

    1. Brazil has 16 communist and 16 nationalsocialist looter parties. Voters are forced at gunpoint to cast ballots and write-ins are not allowed. Many major cities tallied enough blank votes to elect a non-commie or non-nazi mayor… if the looters and their laws were to allow such a thing.

      1. Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re getting at. My point is that America already has lots of “parties.” Adding more isn’t going to improve how Congress works. If anything, it’ll make it worse.

          1. Congressional approval hit an all time low in 2013, after the shutdown. It’s currently 2 percentage points above that low.

            Not that approval rating is the ultimate measure or anything….but things could always be worse. Enough radical elements in Congress, and there could be a prolonged shutdown.

        1. Morti, Hank speaks strangely and makes obscure references that are tangentially relevant to the discussion at best.

        2. I think what Hank is “getting at” is the parties, both of whom are for more government, choose the candidates. See the text “The Party Decides”. They’ve set it up, so most folks vote for them, usually because they think the other establishment/party candidate is worse and thus the vote against the worst candidate by voting for the next worse candidate.

    2. We get gridlock because of those broad coalitions. The Democratic and Republican coalitions aren’t the kind you see in other countries, which shift and change over time; they are completely static, and block other coalitions from forming. In a world with a half-dozen parties, we wouldn’t see inanities like Flake and Corker excoriating the president while continuing to vote directly down the line with him.

      1. I see what you’re saying but I disagree. American political factions don’t realign themselves officially, like in a parliamentary system, but they definitely change over time. Elected officials change party, the accepted platforms of the parties shift (Southern Democrats are good example of this), and wave elections can quickly shift what direction one of the parties is going in (like the Tea Party did).

      2. The real problem is that to keep the democrats from transforming us into Soviet Union 2.0, we’re forced to put republicans in power who are no longer worth a shit, and who keep getting worse every election cycle. If we could only be rid of the progressives, then this could change.

      3. I wouldn’t say Corker “votes directly down the line with him [Trump]”. I’m sure Corker’s bill to ensure the Iran deal went thru, wasn’t with Trump (who wasn’t in office). Besides, Corker is telling Trump to not interfere with the bill writing process. Congress plays its games, via the choices in bills it takes up.

        E.G., remember when Boehner/Cantor had a vote on a bill to defund Obamacare, followed by a bill to fund government along with funding Obamacare? They knew Reid would ignore the first and pass the 2nd. Now when the GOP controls all branches, they chosen to not vote on such a bill, because they really want Obamacare (contrary to their lies). You know, the difference between words and actions.

    3. Nah. Before it’s fair to consider them to be separate parties, they have to actually act like it. The closest we get to that is Tea Party/whatever-the-call-themselves-now, who forced Boehner to resign and keep dragging legislation right by making ultimatums. But no other faction, in either the Democrats or Republicans, acts like a “party” distinct from the Democrat/Republican label.

      And probably the best indicator that such splitting was actually happening would be if the speaker (house or senate) was elected by a bi-partisan coalition. But so long as that vote (which acts as the gatekeeper for all future legislation) is starkly partisan, you can expect all future legislation to be starkly partisan.

      So sure. Ideologically they might be made up of different “parties”. But they still behave as though they’re one.

      1. The legislative process works entirely against that. If anyone wants to get ANYTHING done, at the very least a bare majority must be collected. Generally speaking, what’s the point of being the 5 housemembers pissing in to the wind? Not much point at all. However, current party breakup is causing that anyway, which is why we see a perpetually lame-duck Congress.

        1. … and? That the current legislative process incentivizes two-party rule does not change the fact that your “America DOES have lots of parties – they just don’t have different names.” claim is not supported by the behavior of any American legislative body.

  7. Within 24 hours of the LP forming, Nixon Republicans changed the IRS code to divert tax money to entrenched looter party advertising. Pew’s fake pollsters understood perfectly a drinking fountain marked “Looters Only.” Their polls therefore show the political effect of the coining and circulation of two new N-words: nonlooter and nonaggression.

    1. Do you actually talk like this in conversation with people?

  8. Democrats are for the moment in better shape than their official rivals

    I fail to see how this is the case. There is no evidence to back this up.

    The Republicans are currently so strong that they are literally cleaning house because there is no serious threat from Democrats.

    1. Well not literally. Damnit.

    2. You fail to see how this is the case because you took that sentence out of context. Democrats are better in the context of this article, which is stupid Pew polling and subsequent grouping.

      1. I suppose I did. Though, I wouldn’t conclude that mass hysteria is cohesiveness.

        1. conclude whatever you want, but at least read the article before commenting something dumb.

          1. People actually read the articles?

          2. Read the article?! What are you, some kind of KUCK FAGGIT?! /sarc

      2. “”which is stupid Pew polling and subsequent grouping.””

        I read that as groping.

    3. I think they mean it in context of this article. The R’s have become so big tent that they have no cohesive principles that actually bind their different factions together, and risk fracturing as a party.

      1. And in that context the D’s are ahead only because they have lost all the Blue Dogs – which is not healthy at all. Obama and Bill Clinton are DNC Blue Dogs and won twice each. Without the Blue Dogs the Dems are in serious trouble.

        1. Have to say I agree with you *shudders*.

          The health of a political party as far as maintaining the duopoly is by being a larger tent, not a smaller one. Not sure if J.D. is trying some reverse psychology here.

          Either way, I think the Republican Party’s issues, such as they are, stem more from not following through on election promises and pissing off their voters.

          1. “”not following through on election promises and pissing off their voters.””

            I think history shows that if you want to know what the candidate won’t do when in office, pay attention to what they say they will do on the campaign trail.

            1. Very true. But when you make something like no new taxes (read my lips) or repealing Obamacare part of your identity, you’re going to get some pissed off voters when you don’t follow through.

            2. When the President goes to the White House door
              And does what he says he’ll do
              We’ll all be drinking that free Bubble-Up
              And eating that Rainbow Stew
              (Merle Haggard)

          2. Obama screwed the democrats by stepping over blacks and union members by flooding the country with as many illegals as he could shoehorn in. I hope that destroys them in the long run.

            1. Did he actually do that, or was it another case of him pretending to do one thing while doing the complete opposite?

        2. Both parties are casting off their moderates. Gerrymandered districts, blogs posing as news, misinformation posing as news and manufactured social media have given the bully pulpit to the nutjobs on the fringes forcing politicians on both sides to bow to the lowest common denominators.

          1. Exactly. I oftentimes muse how much better government would work if people just stopped paying so much attention. Less voters, less news, less hysteria. There’d probably be more corruption on the edges since no one would be paying attention, but I bet the overall system would work better.

  9. “Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) announcement that he won’t seek reelection.”

    So brave.

    1. They should all be so brave.

      1. I’m looking at you.

  10. Flake’s misfortunes are largely of his own making and predates Trump, running on one position and legislating on another. He lost the trust of his constituents through his own style. Thw Trump phenomenon may have addec to it, but it was not decisive.

  11. The Democrat’s problems are that they view the checks and balances of a republican form of government too restrictive on their ambitions to micronanage large portions of economic life.

  12. “With his poll numbers tanking after his outspoken attacks on President Trump’s protectionism, saber-rattling, and xenophobia, the junior senator from Arizona publically conceded that “a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party.”

    With GayJay fading away, did Reason adopt Flake as their new faux libertarian?

    “It was time for him to try his luck at something else.”

    I don’t know what this mean. Does anyone with their shit together actually go out and ‘try their luck’?

    1. How about a Russian Roulette tournament where the survivor gets a billion dollars?

      (just a joke, not a recommendation)

      1. I would also want the quickenings of the other contestants.

  13. What a load of crap this whole thing is. I hope the author didn’t take time off a worthy writing project to waste it on this garbage.

  14. Pew’s categories are, frankly, confusing?the organization has taken some pains to explain (not convincingly, to me) why it doesn’t use more commonly accepted terms. In particular, Pew has repeatedly written about why its categories don’t use “libertarian” […]

    Seeing as “Libertarian” is an actual political party, wouldn’t Pew calling any group of Republicans “Libertarian” basically be saying “and here are the RINOs”?

    That said, a large part of the entire topic is that people have formed an identity (“Democrat” or “Republican”) that doesn’t have a strong position on issues. So if you want to divide people up by positions on issues, then of course you avoid labels that already have an attached identity.

    1. I don’t think the libertarian Republicans are considered RINOs by the base. The RINOs are the neocons and their allies as far as I can tell.

      1. No, the libertarian Republicans are considered “globalist traitors” by the base instead.

        1. No, the globalist traitors are the party establishment. Although I can see the confusion with some,inertarians eho are on that ‘open borders no matter what’ kick.

      2. Ironically, it is the Trumpists calling out RINOs who actually are the RINOs. Trump’s unblinking & unthinking supporters are trying to retcon “conservative”.

  15. Yeah, this quiz totally isn’t slanted or anything.

    For example, you’re asked to choose between the following two statements:

    “Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient

    “Government often does a better job than people give it credit for”

    Also choosing between military strength and diplomacy – yeah, those are two totally non-overlapping concepts.


    “Government regulation of business is necessary to protect the public interest”


    “Government regulation of business usually does more harm than good”

    Why not, “government regulation of business should have as its aim the prevention of fraudulent practices and pollution, not social engineering”?

    1. “Homosexuality should be accepted by society”


      “Homosexuality should be discouraged by society”

      They’re not even pretending libertarianism exists. Also, no distinction between government and civil society.

      1. “Business corporations make too much profit”

        “Most corporations make a fair and reasonable amount of profit”

        Planted axiom: It’s the government’s responsibility to restrict corporate profits so they don’t go beyond what’s fair and reasonable.

        1. “Our country has made the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with whites”

          “Our country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights with whites”

          What do you mean give? How about acknowledging inherent rights?

          1. “Most people who want to get ahead can make it if they’re willing to work hard”


            “Hard work and determination are no guarantee of success for most people”

            How about “hard work increases your odds of success, as opposed to leaning on the govt which is a path to mediocrity.”

            1. Or, “focus on those parts of your situation which you can change, don’t bitch and whine about the parts you can’t,” to paraphrase the Serenity Prayer.

              1. That cascading post thing you do where you carey on a converaation with yourself is awful.

                1. It’s art, you Philistine.

      2. What part of “Homosexuality should be accepted by society” is not libertarian?

        1. Based on the comment section of any article dealing with LGBT issues, quite a bit.

        2. Haven’t you heard? Social acceptance of homosexuality is a vast conspiracy by the gay lobby to force us all to have gay sex.

        3. I thought it was *irrelevant* to libertarianism, in the same sense that “dope is cool, let’s smoke some more!’ is irrelevant to libertarianism. So long as gays and tokers aren’t coerced by the state.

        4. The not-libertarian part is the weasel-words part: “…should be accepted by society”.

          The command-and-control types in both major parties always say it this way, and they always mean: “…must be accepted by each and every individual of society, in thought, word and deed, on pain of sensitivity training, fine, imprisonment, or public flogging.”

        5. Substitute ‘accepted’ with ‘tolerate’ and it works.

  16. Wanting a strong border does not mean you are anti-immigration.

    Wanting a prosperous economy does not mean you are anti-trade, or that you are capitalist or socialist.

    Wanting to “drain the swamp” does not mean you are anti-government.

    Both Republicans and Democrats have lost sight of what is important to the American people.

    Good riddance to both parties.

    1. Wanting a strong border does not mean you are anti-immigration.

      Not in theory, but “I support a strong border” is usually a dogwhistle for “I don’t trust them dusky-hued fellers”.

      1. It is very possible that a more competent immigration system (ie., a “stronger border”) would lead to MORE immigration, at least more legal immigration.

      2. “dogwhistle”

        if you keep hearing dogwhistles, you’re the dog

        1. I consider the use “dogwhistle” to be a dog whistle. But, then again, I’m triggered by trigger warnings.

          1. Well, I’m triggered by people who are triggered by triggering.

            And I just triggered myself, because I’m triggered by people who are triggered by people who are triggered by triggering.

            1. Blade has some advice on the subject of triggering…….


      3. Not in theory, but “I support a strong border” is usually a dogwhistle for “I don’t trust them dusky-hued fellers”.

        That is a vast oversimplification and only applies to a minority of voters.

        There are many reasons for people to be pro legal immigration only. Some of them are true, some of them are false, however, if you continue using extreme left wing talking points, you’re not going to convince anyone. In fact, you’re just going to alienate them further because you sound like a dishonest asshole.

        1. People who use left wing talking points are almost exclusively dishonest assholes. Which brings us to the unpleasant subject of Tony…………

  17. The divisions in the GOP are deeper because that is the party filled with people who still cherish individual freedom and the ideals that this country was founded on. The Democratic party no longer accepts the concept of individual freedom or dissent. Anyone who refuses to adhere to the accepted party ideology is cast out. For the party that claims to be tolerant and open to all, it has become anything but open or tolerant. The left wing does not want a big tent party, but rather one where their values are the law and any other point of view are to be crushed and all of its supporters silenced. There is no better example of what they seek than watching how they claim to fight fascism while using the type of tactics that define fascism, such as violence against anyone who challenges them. The believe in freedom of speech only as long as they are the only ones allowed to speak. The radical left is growing in this country because the media thinks it is good for their fiscal bottom line and they support the opposition to the GOP. The media cries about the President calling some of them fake news, but today I saw multiple stories about how the indictments yesterday shows clear ties to the Trump campaign and Russia even though they know that is a lie. The indictment proves that statement is a lie, yet they are pushing it anyway. As long as you have a media willing to lie to push a specific political agenda, this divide will only grow.

    1. Reason, yesterday, called Papadapolous a top foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign.

      Still hasn’t been corrected.

      1. You do know that Trump lies all the fucking time don’t you?

        He named him as a top foreign policy adviser with his mouth. I heard it.

        1. You mean one of the voices in your head that sounds like Trump said it? Ok.

    2. There are a huge number of people who voted Democrat in the last election who have no idea what you are talking about. Liberal arts professors, anti-fa black shirts and other snowflakes on college campuses don’t constitute the majority of people who voted Democrat. There are a huge number of well-intentioned middle class and working class people who just want to help the less fortunate and see the Democrat platform as a better fit for that. Ill informed, perhaps, but not facists.

  18. RE: We’re Blindly Picking Between Political Poisons
    Our political system is dominated by two major political parties with serious identity crises.

    That isn’t true.
    The democrats are the party of the insane.
    The republicans are the party of the gutless.

    1. No, the republicans are run by the gutless. The base is not.

    2. Hyperbole and generalization? That helps a lot. Both parties are deeply fractured and they don’t know what they stand for anymore except for the donor class.

  19. To highly analytic respondents, the poll Qs don’t make much sense. However, most people aren’t highly analytic, so the Qs are useful. If you can turn off your analytic nature, those Qs will work for you too.

    Years ago a friend gave me a survey of his own, consisting of items of 1-2 words each, asking for “gut level” responses of “for” or “against”. He knew I’d revolt vs. such thinking, but asked me to take it anyway, not to think too much about the items. Sure enough, it worked in terms of classifying me. People who devise such surveys know what they’re doing.

  20. No the Republicans voted in the guy who is more in line with their thinking and is currently blowing up the party. The Democrats are currently lost in the wilderness. Libertarian are way up in the upper level balcony screaming about how Trump is doing stuff they don’t like instead of stepping up to fill the void. Ditch the pot platform and step up!

    1. “Ditch the pot platform and step up!”

      So, obviously, you’ve never actually read the platform.

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