The other day, a close friend asked me that question and wanted to know what I thought. I told him that on the surface the Republicans and Democrats have two different visions and policies for America. The Republicans push forward policies that help out business and wealthy individuals. The Democrats push forward policies that promote social programs for the poor and middle class. Yes, these are stereotypical platforms, but when was the last time you saw a Republican advocate for meals-on-wheels or Headstart. How about a Democrat fighting for tax cuts for millionaires or tax breaks for companies to move businesses overseas.
Further into my conversation with my friend, I expressed to him that I thought that I did not think there was a difference between the two parties. I am talking about when it comes to the core within both parties; I believe they are just the same. And this belief of mine is not from me seeing Republicans act like Democrats or Democrats act like Republicans behind closed doors. I believe both parties use fear to stay in control and they use fear to get you to vote for them. The Republicans use the fear of “welfare queens” and other stories to pump up fear just like the Democrats use the fear of billionaires taking money out of the system for everyone.
So if you were thinking about running for office, chapter 15, “Have a theme or message that resonates with the voters”, would apply to this blog post. I would suggest that you be different from the normal standard people see from politicians. That includes inciting fear to get people to vote for you. I suggest you give people reasons to vote for you and not promote reasons to vote against your opponent. Dare I say hope will conquer fear? Once you are in the race and doing well the party will come to you and you will be expected to tow the party line and act like the rest of them. That includes regurgitating talking points about policy. Remember though, you need to stand out and not look like a copy of other politicians. You need to be honest and let the voters know what you think in a sincere way. Doing that will make you present your case as a person, not as a party official.
So my answer to my friend was two-fold: 1. the stereotypical stances that each party promotes come election time. 2. They are not different because they act the same when they are in power especially using fear to control the populace. I am sure someone has done a study about which was the most productive Congress when both chambers were from the same party. I cannot think of one that comes to mind. Sure one major piece of legislation may come out every two or four years. But doesn’t the country have more than one problem that needs to be addressed?