By Kevin Lair
The very nature of America’s two-party system perpetuates political feuding, but today’s Congress is arguably more polarized than at any time since the Civil War. According to Gallup opinion polling, Americans gave Congress an all-time-low 15 percent annual approval rating in 2012. Americans abhor this extremist and dysfunctional political atmosphere, and a simple look at the evolution of the two parties renders both “out of touch” with Americans today.
The Republican Party played a tremendous role in the abolition of slavery and fought for Civil Rights and women’s rights. Flash forward to the 2012 elections, and Democrats labeled the GOP as the party of “old, white men” out of touch with minorities, women, and youth voters. The Democrats’ impressive groundwork reached out to many voters and made radical the views of Republicans on abortion, gay rights, and immigration. Conversely, the Democratic Party supported slavery yet rebranded itself as the party of equality and fairness. Democrats have since become the “entitlement party” that grossly expands social services and the federal government, promotes partial-birth abortions, unconstitutionally restricts the 2nd Amendment, and demands that successful Americans pay outrageously high tax rates in order to “level the playing field.”
To rectify their extreme views, both parties must embrace moderates and shift towards the middle of the political spectrum. Americans want a party that can find bipartisan, common-sense solutions, one that will combine the best of both parties through the following positions:
The party of the future understands that an ever-increasing percentage of Americans are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage. In accordance with Roe v. Wade, women have the right to decide but should pay for their own abortions and contraceptives if they want them. And gays deserve the same benefits and title recognition of marriage as every other loving couple. Their rights ought not be restricted by government officials who seek to push their personal views on others, a fault of the current Republican Party.
This party also understands that the budget must be balanced. Democrats have become the spending party, but America needs a balanced approach of realistic spending cuts and additional revenues through the elimination of tax loopholes and a broadened tax base. Programs like Medicare must face reform or be transitioned into the free-market, as government ownership of these programs unsustainably consumes the federal budget. Democrats must discontinue their costly government takeover of healthcare and instead focus on market-based solutions to promote competition and lower costs.
An ever-expanding government simply burdens entrepreneurs and impedes America’s capitalist economy. Republicans rightly advocate for a smaller, yet still active, government that ensures economic fairness while promoting growth and success.
The party of the future knows that America must become energy independent and self-sufficient. America must eliminate oil imports from turbulent nations, increase domestic oil production, and use this revenue to invest in alternative forms of energy that protect the environment.
This party knows that the United States can no longer be the “global police force,” will scale back its international involvement, and allow international organizations like the United Nations to handle the world’s issues.
This party will embrace a simpler legal immigration system, grant temporary work visas to illegal immigrants who serve in the military or attend college, and then put those individuals in the back of the line for citizenship.
And this party will secure the gun rights of law abiding citizens, ensure that individuals with previous mental and criminal issues are denied access, and focus on the real problem within this country—mental health issues.
These balanced approaches will grant success to any political candidate, as they align with voting demographics, trends, and practicality. Successful candidates will support and effectively articulate the majority, if not all, of these positions. It is time for both parties to incorporate these views into their platforms, as they benefit all Americans. The question remains, which party will do it first– Republicans, Democrats, or an independent party?