I’ve heard this question debated in several different forums in the past, and it’s an interesting question. You can ask it about either the Republicans need the Democrats, or you can ask it about the Democrats needing the Republicans. Either way works. And in actuality, I’ve come to believe that yes…you do need the opposition…for several reasons.
When government is working well (which it hasn’t been for some time), you need to left in the case of the Republicans, to show the idiocy that they display and would lead by if in fact they were given the chance to lead. The Democrats need the right, basically for the same reason. Because both sides represent not the middle, but more of the fringes of the party. There are no more moderate parties in our political system. You’re either conservative, or you’re liberal.
When government is working not so well, you have ballast. I talked about that yesterday. If you have just conservatives, you have a tendency to go overboard and push things too far to the right (and yes…there is such a thing as going too far to the right!). If you are liberal, well…we know they are always pushing things as far left as they can through incrementalism. By having two parties, you get a balance of a sort. It’s not a perfect system, but it does show a little bit of ability to bring whichever side is running things back closer to the middle. And regardless which side of the aisle you’re on, you have to understand that America is a slightly right of center country. We’re more moderate than either the Republicans or the Democrats would like us to believe.
And that is exactly why the current crop of Democrats are going to fail. It’s exactly the reason Barack Obama failed as president and had to issue so many ill-fated Executive Orders. He couldn’t get things through Congress, even when he had both Houses under his party’s control, because the American people didn’t stand for the “transformational change in government” that he was trying to sell to us. Had America realized what he was talking about during the election, he may not have won by as great a margin. I doubt he would have lost to someone as inept as John McCain, but it wouldn’t have given him any sense of a mandate.
The current crop of Democrats have pushed the party so far left, that someone like a Joe Biden seems almost conservative in comparison. He also looks very worn out and tired, and that’s what 50 years of politics will do to a person. But the problem is, most of the Democrats still in the field vying for the nomination, are much farther left than most Americans are. The Republicans learned that lesson some ten years ago when the Tea Party tried to push the GOP to the right. They pushed too far and it led to losing seats in both the House and the Senate.
In the end, as sad as I am to say it…the conservatives actually need the left, and the left actually needs the right to survive. Otherwise, one side pushes too far and we become either Nazi Germany, or Venezuela. Neither are very good choices if you ask me!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!