In the UK we have two main: Labour and Conservative (one is liberal the other is conservative), and a third: Liberal Democrat. In France you have two main parties, the Parti Socialiste (liberal) and the Conservatives. One is left the other is right-wing. In Spain you have the Partido Socialisto, which is currently…
For starters, many of the people who came here were thrown out of England and Europe for being crazy or a criminal.
But that aside, Howard Zinn (RIP), an American Historian wrote a book called The People’s History Of The United States. Zinn argues that the American system was set up this way on purpose to make sure that not much ever changed, to give the illusion of political choices while maintaining the status quo.
The United States was designed for White Property Owning Males. The right for Blacks and Women to even vote here is a recent thing. The rights of workers for a 40 hour work week and decent working conditions was accomplished after much bloodshed. The ruling elite which designed this two party system had no intention of anyone running the show except the rich and this has worked.
The two party system gives the ordinary American the illusion of Democracy and freedom, as long as he does not want to be too free.
And Americans live in an information void. We are isolated geographically from Europe, travel is difficult and our corporate owned media feeds them what they want them to know. Our media works the same way as the two party system. Americans think that one network is “liberal” while Fox and a few others are “Conservative”. And the media play this beautifully to the advantage of corporate America. One side does appear more liberal or conservative on the surface but they are really two sides of the same coin. Ask an American if he has ever seen the inside of a Palestinean Refugee Camp on eith of the media outlets.
Then every four years we go to the polls and vote. We get all excited about it, thinking things will be different while the ruling elite laugh at us. 5% of the population of this country now control 95% of the wealth and the gap is growing wider.
Until Americans take it upon themselves to look beyond the lies they are told by both parties, the so called experiment in Democracy is doomed.
The US only pretends to have two political parties, both the Republicans and the Democrats are coalitions of very different groups of people and which party people have aligned themselves to has historically been as much to do with local history as with ideology. For example, the New England Irish communities supported the Democrats in opposition to the ‘Anglo’ Republicans, who they saw as very much like their traditional British protestant enemies. Forced conscription during the Civil War only reinforced that opinion. Until the 1960s the Dixiecrats, the Democratic Party in the Southern states was very much more right-wing than the northern Republicans, and at this time there was a historic re-alignment on more obviously left / right lines across the US. Even now a northern Republican is likely to be more liberal than Democrats in more conservative regions. The US also periodically throws up ‘shadow’ parties, like the Tea Party, which often exist alongside and ostensibly as part of a larger party even though challenging the mainstream opinion. Remember Militant Tendency in the British Labour Party?
It is because of this that US Presidents sometimes have cabinet members of the opposite party. Obama kept a couple of George W. Bush’s people even though they are Republicans.
Given the history of Britain in recent years I’m not sure that we haven’t got two conservative parties too, although neither of them as far to the right as in the States.
Labour are not a liberal party and never have. Labour are a social democratic party, quite different. Liberal is not metonymy for left-wing. Labour are far too authoritarian to be described as liberal.
In terms of US politics the Democratic Party are left-wing and the Republican Party are right-wing.
wow, i never knew that the US was so less liberal that the other countries in the world. I always thought that the democratic party was pretty liberal, because I have always lived in America. I never realized how they looked to people from other countries. that is very interesting. I would love to learn more about the political parties and governments in countries other than the US. just to see how they differ : )
As for your question, I don’t have a definite answer so these are just speculations. It may be because in Europe the countries are so close together that those countries and their people communicate easily. This would allow for new ideas to form and develop quicker. The US is more isolated in that it is in the western hemisphere. In Europe u can drive to the country next door for dinner. The US is more isolated from different countries and thus liberal ideas such as those in Europe and such may not develop as quickly.
For example, I do remember that minimum wages, maximum hours and social security plans were already developed in Europe when the US first introduced it.
Thus I think it is more important for people in the US to start branching out internationally. Learn from our neighbors all around the world and use that knowledge to improve America
This was a good question; gave me a lot to think about…
By your standards, the Democrats are like ultra-right members of the National Party, people who Key finds embarrassingly extreme and avoids being seen with at party functions. The Republicans are semi-populist reactionaries. There is no U.S. equivalent mass party to the mainstream National Party, or to any factions of Labour or the Greens. Our bourgeoisie have not had to be good managers, or flexible, or intelligent. They haven’t had to have actual ideologies beyond catch phrases, or even, basically, think. Until recently, they could make up for any shortcomings by sheer force of empire. But that force has begun to elude them. And as their heritage of fallen empire, my bosses still don’t have actual political parties in the sense that most other countries do, but have, rather, essentially, competing right-wing political advertising and polling cartels. Put it to you this way — no Democrat would ever propose, and most would attack, even the remnants of a social net that even the Britannic savage Margaret Thatcher left uncut as essential. .
Because, from the moment we enter school (or arguably, from the moment we’re born) we’re socialized into thinking “the American way”. Political socialization in schools is common to all countries.
America was born as a “big business” country. The Founding Fathers purposely put additional checks on democracy in ways that prevent the government from escaping from the hands of the elite. Additionally, when the constitution was written we were still reeling from “taxation without representation”.
Thus, an overexaggerated and anachronistic sense of the government as evil and the poor as lazy.
you are correct, there is very little difference between the policies of both parties, however, you have to understand the terms liberal and conservative have a completely different meaning in the US in general and specifically in this stupid category. the conservative trolls on here have absolutely no idea what it means to be conservative or liberal for that matter, and the liberals on here are mostly advocates of liberal social policies.
as far as statements on fiscal policy both will throw out numbers to validate their positions but often the numbers are specious at best.
calling Obama a socialist is simply a red herring (pun intended).
The Democrats are far from conservative. They’re a leftist party. They’re not conservative by any respect.
Europe is so far into the Abyss..our Liberals do seem Conservative to you.
Making the other guy pick up the tab for your personal responsibilities is not “middle of the road” where I live.
in my opinion both the parties are far too left wing