For anyone that’s kept up with the news on the both sides of the political spectrum, something very odd is happening. Most recently with the first democratic debate of 2016, the few moments that were most talked about were the issues of gun control, and Sanders’ health care plan. In fact one of the post-debate commentators for MSNBC stated that Sanders had flip-flopped on the issue and sounded “just life Washington.” Well I’m not here to defend Bernie, but it does raise an interesting point about the state of the Democratic Party.
This appears to mean that the candidate’s strategies is to appear most liberal or most conservative, according to the direction of their party. It’s no secret that politicians will pamper their message to fit an agenda, and therefore they will all largely sound the same. For instance it wasn’t that long ago when the GOP wasn’t as fervent about gun deregulation. With Reagan being the Idol of the republican party, many forget his oped piece with Carter and Ford about the regulation of assault rifles. Yet, if any serious GOP candidate were to propose measures such as those it would be political suicide.
But since the 1980’s the GOP conscious has moved away from that standpoint and is now more crazed about gun deregulation. Candidates, whether truly believing it or not, have to support gun deregulation in the republican party to have any chance of a nomination, and the same goes with other issues as well. The candidates must change their topic according to the party lines so that they will fit within the party lines. Whether or not Sanders really cares about gun regulation (which I truly believe he does) he would have to at least appear to have a fighting chance in the nomination. It would turn off a good deal of voters if they liked a candidate about every issue, except one issue they felt strongly about. It would be one thing if the candidate tried to keep quiet about an issue that didn’t fit within the party line, but then rival candidates would see that as a weakness and expose it.
The two parties right now are moving further and further within their own spectrum. It is helpful to view the Sanders-Clinton struggle as a fight between the spirit of the party. Sanders represents the progressive populist side of the party clashing to gain control, and Clinton represents the moderate establishment side struggling to remain in power, despite what she makes herself out to be. And on the other side, candidates like Trump and Carson revel in their image as non-establishment candidates. Watch closely at the debates in the republican party, now each one of them tries to make themselves appear to be the non-establishment candidate. Cruz, for instance, appears this way through his anger at both Washington and the media, while Christie does this by just being angry at everything. Notice how a candidate like Senator Paul, who may be considered a party outsider due to his disagreement on issues, is actually a non-establishment candidate, yet he has virtually no chance. He doesn’t fit within the party line, therefore he is sinking.
Now that each party is separating from each other, what comes next? Well eventually everything will reach it’s equilibrium point, but what is unsure is what happens before then. Depending on the success of non-establishment candidates like Trump, Carson, and God willing Sanders, the parties will move farther apart until there is a tipping point. The cause of the divide is already from the inability to create real action. Why would a nation viewing events such as the government shutdown or the rise of terrorist organizations, still want establishment politics? When however both parties reach that tipping point, there will be a brawl to see who is the victor. In a sense, the spirit of which party will prevail before they both go back to their moderate stances.
It is likely that we are entering the next chapter in American politics. By this, I mean that this is when historians will later view as when things began to “change for better or for worse.” This is the way the 1930’s is viewed today. There was America before the Great Depression, and then there’s America after the Great Depression. It was one of those events that lead to a change in spirit for all of America, and with the increasing polarity in the nation, we may be heading towards a similar such event.