Dimitris Rapidis

Why US Democrats lure?

The United States’ candidates for the Presidency were always seen from the prism of personal sympathy or empathy worldwide. I have recently realized that the candidates from the Democratic Party seem to lure more the public than their opponents from the Republican Party. But does this estimation really matter?

Both parties have no striking differences in policy except for ecomomics. For the Democrats, the state is seen as a big engine of production that has to be fueled with high taxes, controlled military expenditures and a welfare system for the less privileged so that social cohesion can be accomplished. In the contrary, the Republicans want a small-size state, low taxes for the high-income tax payers, stunning military expenditure policies and a more hawkish role for the United States globally. These are the fundamental differences in ecomomic policy grosso modo. All things considered, both parties want to see America to prevail in the global scene at any cost.

When it comes to compare parties’ candidates, it seems that Democrats are more charismatic and friendly in the eyes of the public. Indeed, Democrats ignite the progressive parts of the American society whereas Republicans are more conservatives, especially when dealing with social and gender issues like abortion and gay marriages. From the one side I compare the Bush family and from the other side I put light on Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Despite both sides being entangled in warfare (i.e. Gulf Region, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq), the Bushes have never achieved to link their leadership with overwhelming reforms in public and social policy-but also in growth finally- giving emphasis to the belligerent policy. In the contrary, President Clinton both during but also after his chairmanhsip has associated his legacy with one of the most prolific periods in American economy, and now that he is involved in philanthropy and global causes, he is linked with the combat against the dominant diseases in Africa. From a similar perpsective, President Obama despite being accused for dull economic policies and lack of reformative spirit in order to address the global financial turmoil, he recently passed a milestone legislation dealing with the healthcare system.

Following Mitt Romney’s irresistably vague rhetoric, I tend to believe that in case he is elected, US will turn back to obsoletism and social conservatism. In his economic program he is also not clear about the steps US needs to follow to address the crisis and re-trigger growth whereas in social and gender policy he is more puzzled than ever as he is afraid to detach his thoughts and demagoge from the very stiff and fundamentalist rhetoric of the Tea Party. He is finally neither this nor the other. President Obama while being hesitant and less fresh than four years ago still inspires the public with his “cool” attitude. I really do not know whether his style will bring something new and invigorating in case of re-election, but surely Romney’s flip-flop policy will be a step back both in domestic politics and global affairs.

Another observation to this comparison between Democrats and Republicans stems from the traditional political preferences of the states. Whatever the electoral forecast is, if one looks upon the political preferences of the states, it will realize that traditionally the coastal areas of East and West are pro-Democratic whereas the Midwest and Central states are supporting the Republicans. Historically seen, coastal areas were always open-minded and cosmopolitan as they were intermingled with any kind of commerce with the world while states not surrounded by sea were developing a more short-minded and rigid perception of the “other”.

All these stereotypes of the American politics have been stronlgy encouraged by both parties and their interest groups all along the American history. And as US politics deeply concern European and global politics, it is fairly rational to stress out that no matter who will be elected as the next President of the United States, Realpolitik is the political theory that will be once more implemented in international politics. The father of this theory was Henry Kissinger, a well-known Republican foreign affairs official. But this theory was always prevailing in American politics regardless of Democrats and Republicans.

So, after all, who is really caring about whether the Democrats are luring or not? The real question is why the Democrats, while being explicitly idealistic, could not essentially overcome Realpolitik and implement a different model and doctrine in politics. Perhaps this “handicap” explains the sympathy and hope of the public for the Democrats. A hope for something different that is not yet well-shaped.

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