Our two-party oppositional bicycle race. Who gains?

Randy Miller. uliv.org

Tim Rutten, LA Times

A Pew survey shows that the most politically engaged Americans are now fundamentally opposed to compromise and split on virtually every issue. It’s a landscape California has traversed for years.

The Hankster, which covers the fast growing world of Independent voters, notes that independents are often not moderate centrists. Rather, they can hold strong views from across the political spectrum but also feel disenfranchised by the two traditional parties.

How did things get so nasty and so hyper-partisan? Who gains from such a poisonous political atmosphere, where the other side is instantly demonized and ignored? If a conflict continues to exist when everyone agrees it is harmful, then it’s a given that vested interests on all sides benefit and profit from it.

These vested interests of course are the two major parties, their assorted non-profits and fund-raising organizations, and the corporate overlords. Demonizing the other side is a swell way to raise money. These groups don’t want the conflicts to go away and are primarily concerned with raising money and building power bases rather than organizing for the causes they ostensibly champion. Thus, they  do everything they can to exacerbate and heighten the conflicts because this builds their donor and power base. Our political system has become corrupt and dysfunctional because vested interests on all sides don’t really want change and financially profit from creating gridlock and hatred.

This of course overjoys corporate and political elites who can continue their plunder unabated while the two parties and fellow travelers snarl at each other. Has either party voiced any objections to the slap on the wrist fine Wachovia got for laundering hundreds of billions in drug cartel money? Are any of them demanding there be criminal investigations into the actions of the TBTF banks, Fannie and Freddie, AIG, and the rest who caused the real estate crash and subsequent recession while profiting for it? Nope. On these important issues, both parties are silent. Instead, we get histrionics over minor symbolic targets like NPR and Planned Parenthood.

That’s why we need a populist revolt in this country. Populism isn’t particularly left or right. Rather it is opposed to elites who, aided by politicians, are looting the country. We need to be building genuine coalitions across political lines. There are plenty of issues that everyone can agree on, like making corporations pay their fair share of taxes. That is the kind of issue that resonates with voters across all political boundaries. This is how real change will come.

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