Republicans took charge of Congress near the end of Clinton’s last term and did not give it up until near the end of Bush II’s term. Before that Congress was mostly controlled by Democrats, with few exceptions, since World War II. The presidency has vacillated back and forth between parties in that time with slightly more Republicans serving than Democrats.
Recent American politics have been marked by ever more partisan bickering. The two major parties appear to be as far apart philosophically as they could possibly be but in the important area of efficacy they are very similar. Both parties seem to be equally bad at winning and keeping the hearts and minds of the electorate. In 2006 voters began rejecting Republican governance and in 2008 gave the Democrats their strongest majorities in 15 years. Now in 2010 voters appear poised to return titular control of Congress to Republicans. Is the public simply fickle or has there been a significant swing in the mood of America?
What is really happening is that the American public has grown weary of things going poorly, economically and policy wise both foreign and domestic. They have less and less patience with whatever party is in power and consistently give Congress it’s lowest approval ratings ever. They are quick to give the party in power the hook.
The basic reason for this is that although the parties appear to be largely polarized they have both lost touch with the common man in America and have both sold out to different factions of the same corporate overlords. The American public is not dumb. They know we are being played but their traditional means of rectifying the problem, the vote, no longer gets them anywhere. Republicans ruin the economy. Democrats ruin the economy. Republicans laugh right in the face of the public. Democrats give face time to the people but are laughing behind their backs.
There is good reason Americans are angry. No one, it appears, is listening to them. Both sides of the coin of governance mock them. The polarization among the voters informs who they think is to blame for this travesty. The reality is that vast amounts of time, energy and money are being used to keep folks at each others throats. This is because if they ever found out just who really was to blame and united against them then lots of wealthy people would stand to have their cash cows slaughtered and the hold corporations have over us would be weakened mightily.
Yes, it is the multinational corporations who run the show. Both parties kowtow to them. If the angry conservatives and the frustrated progressives ever realize they both have the same enemy and unite in defeating it we might just have a chance to restore a semblance of a Democratic Republic to our country and survive deep into the 21st Century. We don’t have much time to effectuate the real change needed to give us a fighting chance.
I’m not holding my breath.