BipHoo Company / Flickr Trump dissolves voter fraud commission adviser...
BipHoo Company / Flickr

The 4 laws of American politics that explain why the US is in such a mess and democracy may die.

1. Democrats fall in love; Republicans fall in line.
Dems care about people and want to solve problems so they go all-in for candidates that have the heart and the platform to help others. Dems will vote for the candidates they think meet their own emotional needs to make the county empathetic and caring.  GOPers don’t believe the government should solve anyone’s problems and the GOP needs the power to stop all of the expensive problem-solving. They will vote for whoever their leaders say will give them that power.

2. Democrats march, Republicans vote. 
The GOP represents essentially three constituencies: business owners large and small who only want no taxes and no regulations; Evangelicals who want to control everyone else’s sex lives; and old white men who want a class of people they can feel good about looking down on and wave their legal guns at. GOP candidates can promise all of these things without any contradictions. Dems represent dozens of constituencies who often don’t like one another and demand policies (or more often, tactics) that are at odds with each other. They won’t vote for candidates they don’t love (see #1), but they will march and wave their own flags with their own demands.

3. Democrats fight to win elections so they can govern; Republicans fight to eliminate elections so they can rule.

Democrats want to solve problems (see #1) and elections are how they gain the ability to do that. GOPers don’t think government should solve problems and think elections are absurd – the idea that your vote is equal to David Koch’s make no sense. Elections deter them from imposing policies that benefit the 1% of people who count and sideline everyone else. Best eliminate them or make them like Putin elections.

4. If voters don’t agree with Dems’ policies, Dems change policies. if the voters don’t agree with Republican policies, they change the voters.

Democrats build policies from a consensus among their many constituencies to find solutions to problems. Final policies are always fluid as circumstances change. Republicans get their policies from god, men who claim to talk with god, or men who act like they are god. They are immutable. If voters don’t like them, the GOP simply disenfranchise them. And they have gotten really good at it.

Five years ago I would have said that these are gross oversimplifications and ridiculous stereotypes. Unfortunately, not anymore. If you don’t believe me, compare video of Trump rallies using the GOP strategy of fear, lies, hate and voter suppression to Obama rallies using the Democratic strategy of hope, recruiting great candidates, and getting everyone out to vote.

America is no longer a democracy, it is a political war zone (now with pipe bombs). If the Dems win the House, the war will continue with the possibility that Democracy will survive to 2020 for another decisive, existential battle; if they don’t take over the House, the 300-year old experiment in self government launched by the Founding Fathers and Mothers will die at the hands of the same forces that have brought down empires from Rome to Great Britain: greed, fear, corruption, religion, and a demagogue who knows how to use them. And the Chinese will write its epitaph.


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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. Great article! It should be made widely available. Never, I believe, has America become so polarized. Let’s hope and pray after November 6 sanity will return not only to politics but the rest of the country.

    • Agree: the Divided States of America. I have recently discussed with my spouse my great fear that America is heading for a second civil war. There is so much hatred, so much “them & us”, no attempts to see the other side of the coin. With all the arms held by citizens, (perhaps as many as 600 million), it’s not difficult to imagine that the planning stages for this war are well advanced.


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