Meaningful Differences Between Democrats and Republicans, Part Infinity

Just say no to rational drug policy. By Unknown or not provided (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is doubling down on some of the worst aspects of the War on Drugs. If people think Hillary Clinton’s attorney general would have done this I’ve got coveted spots at Trump University to sell them. Let me know in comments if you need a quote.

The stupidest votes in the 2016 presidential election are the votes that ignored meaningful differences between America’s two major political parties. The worst policies coming out of President Donald Trump’s administration so far are the same policies any generic Republican president would’ve pushed. The fact that Trump has also instigated a constitutional crisis four months into his presidency is actually beside the point.

I don’t blame at all the Trump voter who places high value on her pro-life/anti-choice stance above all else. I don’t blame at all the Trump voter who places high value on being able to purchase any kind of gun or ammunition he wants whenever he wants above all else. I don’t really even blame the white Trump voter whose sense of cultural or racial grievance motivated his vote. At least these people got what they voted for.

The real problem right now is we have a significant bloc of voters in this country who don’t want conservative policies but also don’t recognize differences between the agendas of the two major parties. As long as 10 to 15% of the electorate continues to not understand that the parties are different, we will always be at risk of electing presidents who enact agendas that a majority of the country doesn’t want.

To clarify, this 10-15% of the electorate includes Obama-Trump voters and third party voters for Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, write-ins, etc. Some of these voters will defend themselves by insisting that Democrats should not have made them choose between Trump and Clinton, two equally loathsome candidates in their minds. Loathsome or not, this way of thinking about candidates is entirely divorced from policy considerations and is really a poor way to process one’s voting decision.

I don’t really know what we do about this as a country. Perhaps Trump’s presidency will be a wake-up call. But for now I don’t see any reason to believe that future elections will be different. As a polity I fear we are doomed to suffer the whims of a perpetually significant proportion of the electorate that looks at two candidates and says “sure, that one is an ignorant, moral monster and will destroy affordable healthcare for tens of millions of people, but the other one’s emails…” or in 2000 “sure, that one doesn’t know anything about anything and is lying about his tax cut proposal, but the other one sighed during the debates…”