Any poor schlemiel who will ever take an introductory class on Comparative Government will realize something right off the bat–our political system, Democrats & Republicans, is fundamentally different than other countries. America has a a problem with people not voting, we have a lot of young ingrates that won’t get off their lazy butts long enough to go to a polling booth, and I mean A LOT of them. Voter Turnout in 2008, our big “landslide” election was 62%. The net result of this is that the people on the extreme right who do vote dominate the entire process.
Speaking internationally, the United States has two political parties: a right-wing party, and a “big tent” party that encompasses centre-right, centre, and centre-left. The left-wing people of America are not really represented. This is fundamentally different than most other international systems. European nations have right-wing parties, LDRP of Russia and Yisrael Beiteneu of Israel as two examples, but neither ever really make it past third or fourth place. I have noticed that most European models are skewed to the left, whilst the United States is skewed to the right.
In Canada, there was at one point a similar system to the United States. There was the Conservative Party, representing the centre-right, the Liberal Party representing the centre-left, they fought over the middle, and there were smaller third parties that got the right-wing and left-wing. However, all of this changed in 2011. While the Conservatives maintained their control of the government, there was a spectacular death and resurrection of the left that occurred in the background. The Liberal Party lost half of their seats, and the centre-left Quebec interests party lost all but four. Meanwhile, the left-wing New Democratic Party tripled their share in the House of Commons. The left of Canadian politics was traded from cenre-left to left-wing.
In 2010, however, the opposite thing occurred in the United Kingdom. The centre-right Conservative Party rose to power, defeating the left-wing Labour Party (it is important to not the Labourites are probably in between centre-left and left-wing after the reforms of Blair). However, the big winners of the elections was the Liberal Democrat Party, of the centre-left persuasion. In one election they rose from irrelevance to forcing the first coalition government in 65 years.
Still, other nations see a perpetuation of the old ways. In France, the centre-right UPM would face off against the left-wing Socialist Party, the two competing over the middle with splinter parties vying for the extreme. Similarly, Germany has the centre-right Christian Democrats and left-wing Social Democrats.
There seem to be three types of non-American political parties: Conservative (centre-right), Liberal (centre, centre-left), and Socialist (left-wing). Fascism (far-right), Republicanism (right-wing), and Communism (far-left) are all minor actors. What I’m trying to get at here is that the USA has a political system which is at its core unsustainable. Democrats used to be exclusively centre-left and the GOP centre-right, but times have changed as the Republicans keep moving to the right and the Democrats keep eating up the empty territory. Once the Democratic Party solidifies its control of Conservatives, Liberals, and Socialists (which in the United States is quite small), it will be the end of the Republican Party.
I have hypothesized that this would happen around the early 2030s, keeping in line with demographic changes. The result would be a short lived second Era of Good Feelings, followed by the Democrats splitting into two distinct parties. What those two parties would represent, I believe, is based on just how far the country moves to the left. Whether it will revert to being a centre country like before, or to the European model of being skewed to the left.
If we revert to a centre model, we would have a Conservative party roughly in line with the Republicans of the Kennedy era and a Liberal party roughly in line with the Democrats of the Kennedy era. If, however, we go further, we could have a Liberal party and a Socialist Party. I think it is based on the political climate of the era (1932-1980, Left), (1980-Present, Right).
Anyways it’s late, and Houston politics is pretty quiet right now.