Reason: Mutual Hatred Is All Democrats and Republicans Have to Offer

J.D. Tuccille writing at Reason.com:

What defines a Republican, these days? How about a Democrat? That’s a difficult question to answer. After years of shifting priorities and ideologies, the beliefs of Republicans of today bear little resemblance to those of somebody of that affiliation from a decade ago, and the modern Democrat is just as far removed from recent predecessors. But one thing is clear: Republicans aren’t Democrats and hate anybody who is, and Democrats feel the same about Republicans.

I used to be a Republican, but once the party started embracing so many of the things we used to bust the Democrats for (hypocrisy, moral relativism, big government, fiscal irresponsibility, etc.), I was gone. The Republican Party of today is almost nothing like the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan, and that really is a shame.

Of course, Republicans downplay moral issues at a time when the president from their party shows every sign of being morally crippled, just as Democrats deemphasized morals when their own occupant of the White House had his sleaziness on display. Then as now, tribal affiliation overcame any supposed principles.

Indeed.

Fundamentally, then, what defines Republicans and Democrats isn’t programs or beliefs or ideology—it’s achieving power and destroying the enemy in the process. What’s done once power is achieved—beyond grinding “evil” and “immoral” enemies into dust—is secondary at best.

Since platforms and ideas don’t really matter, there’s no room for finding common ground or cutting deals. Opposing political factions can compromise, for good or ill, on health care bills and defense schemes. But how do you split the difference when what separates you isn’t a matter of firm values or principles, but a mutual desire to seize total control and to smash all who don’t wear your gang colors?

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