We are a nation politically divided. Democrats and Republicans alike fervently hold unwaveringly to the ideological tenets of their party. Effectively blind to any contribution from across the aisle it’s a wonder if we’ll ever see again the rise of bipartisanship.
Each views the other in pejoratives. An increasingly polarized political environment exacerbates the rhetoric. So much so little room exists for getting it done. Instead we get bogged down on platform issues: entitlement programs, abortion, gun control, healthcare, terrorism.
Political Research Quarterly a peer-reviewed journal, published University of Connecticut Professor Thomas J. Hayes’ study, which revealed interesting conclusions:
“To what extent do members of Congress respond unequally to people in different economic situations? How does partisan control of the agenda change the way in which Senators respond to the poor? Using data from the 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey, and multiple roll call votes, I examine Senate responsiveness for the 107th through 111th Congresses. The results show consistent responsiveness toward upper-income constituents. Moreover, Republicans are more responsive than Democrats to middle-income constituents in the 109th Congress, and a case study of the 107th Senate reveals that responsiveness toward the wealthy increases once Democrats take control of the chamber.”
This study may uncover something worth looking at. It shows that representative government is irreparably skewed away from ordinary Americans. And while some argue the left caters more towards the middle class, this research seems to contest that.
I would argue it has always been this way. The middle class and the poor have little representation in government. At best, their representation is in the minority. There is no real difference between the two parties. Sure, you’ll get more attention from the party you favor, or rather it will appear that way from your confirmation bias. The reality may be that both parties work together to serve one master: the moneyed. Both play a role in making sure the middle class are appeased not represented.
The Ds are the good cop attempting to pass minimum wage laws, better but still flawed healthcare, better but still flawed finance reform, better but still flawed military policy overseas. They present the facade of working for the people. They fight against tax breaks for the rich, corporations, and election rigging while doing nothing meaningful about these things.
The Rs are the bad cop, acting from a appearance of support for America the ideal. They fight for more jobs, lower taxes, stronger immigration reform, the right to bare arms and against etc. They fight against entitlements, big government, “socialism” even though programs described by the overblown rhetoric are programs people actually want.
Meanwhile, the rest of us squabble among an army of red herrings, while the wealthy and the powerful get the ear of both parties. Ideologically, the right and the left may be different. Functionally, they are the same.