It would be wrong to think that Republicans won big on November 4 and are now ascendant. Not very many people like Republicans. Gallup regularly samples voters’ political affiliation and those choosing the Republican Party have declined steadily to only 24 percent this year. Arguably, they have atrophied into just a minor political party.
At the same time, those not associating with either of the two old parties have steadily grown to a whopping 45 percent in 2014. Assuming the trend continues for a little while longer, a majority of voters will not be represented by the two old parties.
How, then, did Republican candidates garner so many votes in the recent midterm election? They did it simply by being the lesser of two evils (not a particularly impressive accomplishment). In a few years, the Democrats will likely be seen as the lesser of two evils again and their candidates will then win most elections. Wake up, everybody, this cycle has been repeating for many decades! The power shift was exceptionally dramatic this time because Democrats in power, especially at the national level, have exhibited pervasive and truly astounding incompetence and corruption for several years running.
The surefire way to break this depressing cycle would be free and open competition. Healthy competition always drives improvement. Unfortunately, true competition cannot flourish as long as the two legacy parties can conspire to rig the political system in so many ways to suppress their competitors. But who is going to stop them?
With the significant power they’ve just won, it’s intriguing to think how it might be possible for Republicans to break the vicious circle before our country spirals completely down the drain. They’d have to be united, serious, and persistent. Here are some of the major things they’d have to work hard to accomplish.
How, then, did Republican candidates garner so many votes in the recent midterm election? They did it simply by being the lesser of two evils (not a particularly impressive accomplishment).
Balance the budget in two or three years by cutting spending significantly, not some smoke-and-mirrors 10-year “plan” that never happens. Of course, that means actually having a federal budget and we have not had a budget for six years — just “continuing resolutions.” Stop hoodwinking the public by saying spending was cut when spending increases, just a little less than some straw-man projection. Cutting spending means you actually spend less this year than in the prior year. Our bloated, inefficient, out-of-control government simply must be made much smaller and less intrusive.
Reform taxes. The current income tax code is tens of thousands of pages of complex special breaks for some and penalties for others. It costs about a quarter of a trillion dollars each year to operate and collect. There are thousands of other hidden taxes. Consolidate taxes into a simple, broadly-based federal sales tax that exempts only food and clothing. Abolish the IRS and save its $12 billion budget.
Get government out of all health care. Attempting to “tweak” the Obamacare monstrosity is futile. It must be completely ripped out, roots and all. Tax reform would remove the perverse tax incentive for employers to provide health insurance. There is no reason we can’t buy health insurance in a free market exactly like we buy our car or homeowners insurance.
Maintain a strong defense and shift to a non-interventionist foreign policy.
Drop the so-called “social issues.” Individuals have the right to manage their own affairs. No government should define, license, or restrict social institutions such as marriage. It is completely up to individuals and groups of individuals like churches to define social institutions. Everyone has the right to treat their bodies however they see fit. Live and let live.
Of course, there’s more, but that’s enough of a Libertarian agenda for now. If Republicans make significant progress at accomplishing these things, they may gain enough respect to win future elections without having to depend upon the Democrats to make them the lesser of two evils. Perhaps then they would no longer fear competition.