A British friend asked me what are the Republican and Democratic equivalents in the UK—a very good question, and one that isn’t easy to answer. It depends on which part of the US the person is from—the East Coast West Coast, or the Midwest. People can be tagged as Conservative, Liberals, or Socialists, but as with all parties there are people that veer to the left or right of each party, and party policies realign (in that they change according to public opinion and desires) every 10-20 years.
Republicanism in the US is also called Conservatism, where people are aligned to state power rather than Federal power, and are also Originalists in that they prefer to stick to the literal meaning of the Constitution. The closest party to it in the UK would be UKIP (UK Independence Party) rather than the Conservative Party in the UK which is currently center right.
The Democrats in the US are similar to the left biased Conservatives or right winged Labour supporters. They favor Federal power to ensure that all states treat citizens equally, which isn’t such an issue in UK politics as while some counties may fare better, in theory all counties offer the same laws and facilities.
Perhaps the GOP (Grand Old Party) will learn from their mistakes, but it’s one that affects the entire world in allowing Trump to be their candidate. In the days before social media and electronic voting, it was much easier to control who should be nominated, and the party would dissuade any unfavorable nominees from standing. It’s apparent Trump isn’t a real Republican (as many did not vote for him), just as Sanders wasn’t a Democrat and switched back to being an Independent. Can we blame the GOP for what has happened? They wanted Jeb Bush and were backing him, and many suspect that’s why Mitt Romney didn’t run again. That plan didn’t work out as the Bush name wasn’t attractive to the electorate, and in fact worked against Jeb Bush. Now another Bush in the White House is looking more attractive, as at least he knows how a government works. I wonder how Romney feels about it all, and how could he work with someone that has publicly been rude about him?
I’m finding it hard to read any social media posts these days without a Trump supporter accusing anyone that opposes them as a socialist and a sick and sad liberal. I wonder what happened to freedom of speech and the ability to express oneself? There are many Republicans that don’t support Trump, who have been lifelong Republicans and with a great deal of political experience, so they can’t be accused of being a socialist or liberal.
TIME magazine has just named Trump as the person of the year, and I made the mistake of making a comment on their social media page. Usually I either click on like, or an angry face, but someone said they were cancelling their subscription, so I added I had too, and that the quality of the articles had been in decline. As expected, some Trump supporters called me stupid, but the majority agreed with me. The simple fact is while TIME tries to claim the title goes to the person who has influenced the world (for better or for worse), it is in fact an award and an honor. One can try and say it’s about who was talked about the most, but face it, an award is given for an ‘achievement’. For those who claim I know nothing about TIME magazine or what the person of the year means, I have subscribed to the magazine (and read them all) from the age of 13 and was one of their longest personal subscribers (25+ years), and cancelled it a couple of years ago, and stopped reading it as the writing was no longer informative or impartial. I actually still have all the editions stacked neatly away for reference, because the magazine was a weekly review of the news reported in an impartial way. That was no longer the case when I found myself not even bothering to open my weekly copy, and with the internet I could get up to date news for free. The editorial team had changed, and it wasn’t for the better, and has been in decline for the past decade. Once it was iconic, now it’s resorting to low tactics to get readers.
While people claim that Trump joins the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and Ayatollah Khomeini, as controversial ‘winners’ all this shows is that TIME does make mistakes. Hitler was awarded the title in 1938 before he became a dictator and declared war on the world, because people thought he was a strong leader of change, just not the change they were expecting. There was a huge public backlash when Khomeini was given the title in 1979, as they though they could get away with being controversial, and since then (until now) TIME has been more careful in their choices. People didn’t buy it then, and they don’t buy it now in 2016. Those were the days when there was no social media, or internet, and TIME let’s face it needs to keep the dwindling number of subscribers it has, and I doubt this will help. Letters to the editor must have flooded in, and their contemporaries been critical. These days people take to social media and cancel subscriptions instead.As the US stands divided and looks as if it is getting worse, giving Trump the title is like dropping all the endangered Amazon rainforests onto a bush fire.
The US Civil war was only 151 years ago, but had been a long time coming with a social divide and differences in how the country should be governed. I can’t see that much has changed and that in essence those differences still exist. Is the country heading for another war, but one enacted through social media, and protests? Back then it was the issue of slavery, and Black people fighting for the right to be free and treated as human beings. Slavery was abolished and eventually Black people got equal rights, but have they really? Racism still exists quietly (Black Lives Matter), and the divide between North and South still exists. Perhaps people remained quiet because it isn’t socially acceptable to be openly racist, but the fact is that people can be and are. Trump encouraged and enabled racism to be public and acceptable again, but historically we can see it created a war. Is Trump inciting another Civil War?
Right now rather than being united, the country has never been more divided. In the past the Electoral College managed to sort things out and ensured the right man was in the job, but back then there were fewer voters, and the party had more control of their members. The blame isn’t totally on the shoulders of the parties concerned, but also the people who can’t see they are being conned. Rhetoric can be persuasive, and 25 percent of the electorate believed what they heard. As ever, when you get conned you eventually learn from your mistakes, but when people tell you that you are making a mistake, why not listen and accept that? Is it pride, ego, stupidity, or blind and irrational faith? Would you hire a plumber to file your tax returns, trust a chef to defend you in court, or let your dog walker fix your car engine when you have the option of a professional to do it? Why elect someone to do a job when they have no experience or a clue what the job actually entails? Less than 25 percent of the US population has gotten the world into a bit of a mess, but can the Electoral College sort it out before it gets worse? Change isn’t always good, and I all I hear is that’s what people want. Sometimes that ends in war.