What is a “Republican”? What is a “Democrat”?

2009 April 25
by ruleoflawrestoration

In keeping with my general goal of trying to give deeper-than-normal thought to the trappings of our American political landscape, I thought it would be good to spend a few minutes with this important pair of questions.

Most of us, I’d say, would have to “um” and “uh” a bit before we could formulate a sensible answer.  Sure, we would dodge the question and answer simply that “A Republican is a member of the Republican Party”.  (And likewise for the Democrat question.)  But beyond the obvious, how shall we define these terms?

I, for one, have grown very leary of human labels, for they never seem to work once you start asking specific questions.  Do all Republicans agree exactly on all things political?  Do all Democrats?  What about all “conservatives” or all “liberals”?  So what, then does it mean to bear the labels?

Let’s look at three possible ways to define Republican and Democrat.  To make it easier, I’ll just make a hybrid of these two names so that I only have to go through this once.  We’ll call it Republicrat.  Or should it be Demublican?  OK, I’ll just switch back and forth for fun:

  1. A Demublican is a person who is a signed member of the Demublican Party.
  2. A Republicrat is a person who adheres completely to the political platform of the Republicrat Party, and who has no further political concerns beyond that platform.
  3. A Demublican is a person who generally believes in the platform of the Demublican Party, more than in the platform of any other political party.
  4. A Republicrat is a person who normally votes for Republicrat candidates.

I would venture to say that each of these four definitions are frequently understood as various people use the terms in question.  And we, as a nation, seem to be fairly content with that, requiring no further pinning down of exactly what is meant, or what ought to be meant.

But let me rephrase the questions just a bit to force us to do a bit more thinking:

What is Republicanism?  What is Democratism?

In other words, what are these parties fundamentally about?

Naturally, someone might say, “Oh, the Demublican Party is about its platform, which can be found at www.demublicanparty.com.”  Chances are, however that the official platform is considerably different from the behavior of those Demublicans who hold public office.

Someone else, then, might opine that “Republicratism is an aggregate political philosophy, made up of the various individual philosophies of millions and millions members of the Republicrat Party.   If this is the case, however, then why aren’t Republicrats routinely surveyed on all political matters in order to define this “aggregate” philosophy?

Now we can talk theory, or we can talk about the real world—which leads us to my favorite definition of Demublicanism:  Demublicanism is the aggregate political philosophy of all the current public officials who are members of the Demublican Party.  In other words, it matters not what they are saying in their official party platform, but what they are actually doing in office.  That is what defines the Demublican—and the Republicrat.

If we should follow this line of thinking, applying it to the last decade in Washington, then we could come up with definitions for Republican and Democrat by seeing just what the members of these parties voted for and against.

I wish I could provide for you at this juncture a broad analysis of the voting habits of Congress by party for the last decade.  Until I have that research completed, however, I’ll just have to settle for a single mundane example from this week in each house of Congress.

US House of Representatives

23 April 2009
HR 1139
The bill increases federal grant money to local law enforcement.  This is not authorized by the Constitution.
248 Democrats voted yes.   0 Democrats voted no.  6 Democrats did not vote.
94 Republicans voted yes.  78 Republicans voted no.  6 Republicans did not vote.

So by my method of defining the political parties by how their members behave in Congress, we see that both the Democratic and the Republican parties are BOTH  in favor of violating the Constitution in order to spend Federal dollars on local law enforcement.  It does not matter that 78 Republicans made a show of voting no  What matters is the outcome, and that the Republican Party did indeed supply a considerable number of votes to the cause.  In fact, because of the 94 Republican “yes” votes, as many as 124 Democratic representatives could have stayed home that day, and their will would have passed just the same!

US Senate

22 April 2009
S 386
This bill seeks to modify the definition of the word “obligation” as used in Senate bill 386, which bill concerns  “federal assistance and relief programs” that are themselves not authorized by the Constitution.
53 Democrats voted yes.  0 Democrats voted no.  3 Democrats did not vote.
40 Republicans voted yes.  0 Republicans voted no.  1 Republican did not vote.

Yes No Not Voting
Aquarius 9
Aries 6
Cancer 10
Capricorn 7
Gemini 5 1
Leo 3
Libra 7
Pisces 8 1
Sagittarius 10 1
Scorpio 11
Taurus 10 1
Virgo 8 1

Yes No Not Voting
Female 17
Male 77 1 4

Yes No Not Voting
Midwest 22 1
Northeast 15 1 2
South 31 1
West 26

Yes No Not Voting
None 10
2008 24 3
2010 32
2012 28 1 1

Yes No Not Voting
Baby boomer 50
Post-boomer 1
Pre-boomer 43 1 4
Again, we see that by my method of defining the parties by the behavior of their members of Congress, both the Democratic and Republican parties are quite in favor of violating the Constitution to spend Federal dollars on assistance and relief programs that are not authorized by the Constitution.
This is a very good working definition, in my view, for it forces the rank-and-file members of these parties—those who do not hold public office—to step back and ask themselves whether they really want to support such a party as does not care to obey the very laws that created our government.
Do you really want such a party as yours to have the continued assurance that you’ll send your vote their way just because you’re a member?  Or even if you’re amongst the millions of Americans who take the higher standard—do you want them to have the continued assurance that you will send your vote their way if only they can manage to come up with a candidate that you deem “the lesser of two evils”?
Or is it time to come up with our own breed of candidate?
Jack Pelham

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