With all the fact finding, curating, and synthesizing I’ve been doing lately, I’ve been coming to a few conclusions that I won’t bother providing much evidence for in this post, but simply share. You can read my past articles and posts to see what I’ve been reading and gather any evidence you feel needs to be substantiated, the majority of these conclusions are drawn directly from past writings.
Americans seem to be in large agreement on the importance of security, jobs, and healthcare.
To many Republicans, security concerns come in the form of illegal immigration and terrorism, with a bit more worry about crime and drug addiction than Democrats.
To many Democrats, gun violence appears to be the biggest security concern, but a majority is also concerned with drug addiction. While any gun violence is tragedy, both parties seem to make a bigger issue of it than suicide, which takes far more lives and is not only an American, but also a global tragedy.
Jobs for all Americans are important, but particular concern for the working-class is apparent in Republican supporters and I believe much of the anti-trade and anti-immigration positions arise from this in particular. For whatever reason, not much seems to be made of technology and automation by either party, even though it essentially poses the same problems that free trade and migration create (destruction of American labor), but without much possibility in the way of reversing course.
Healthcare is a hugely important issue for all as well, but again takes different perspectives. Republicans tend to place more faith in the free-market and therefore would like to privatize Medicare and Medicaid, while also repealing the Affordable Care Act. Democrats have more trust in the government (and evidence) and would like to continue to see these programs exist and expanded as they tend to have lower total costs of administration than private insurers.
Americans do not seem to agree on the issues of equality, the environment, education, or infrastructure.
Democrats care much more strongly about sexism, racism, the LGTBQ community, and income inequality. I would tend to classify all of these under the topic of equality in some form. We (Democrats) tend to care about all of these issues because we see groups that are being deprived of equal treatment and opportunity. Sexism in particular is almost completely dismissed by Republicans.
Next, Republicans essentially deny or ignore climate change and environmental damage. Some of this is related to jobs (oil and coal) and security (energy independence), but some of it is simply religious fervor around ideas like “the second coming”, that 41 percent of Americans are sure will happen within the next 50 years.
Democrats appear to be much more in-line with the rest of the world on this issue and see an urgent need to engage in agreements like the Paris Accord. Environmental destruction is one of two reasons (the other being nuclear security), Noam Chomsky recently stated that the GOP could realistically be classified as the most dangerous group in human history as they seem intent on rushing the world more quickly to the precipice of collapse.
Education seems to have moderate support by Republicans, depending on the survey and how the question is worded. It is overwhelmingly thought of as important and a big, important issue for Democrats, with many backing changes in higher education affordability. College debt is now huge and seems very reminiscent to the easy money made available for subprime mortgages just a decade ago. This could be a huge problem as an entire generation is saddled with debt and becomes unemployed, underemployed, or leaves the labor force altogether while becoming incapable of paying their loans back.
Finally, the condition of national infrastructure doesn’t get a majority of either party believing it’s a big problem. Democrats give it a bit more attention, but not much on average. This is a bit of shame as much of it is crumbling and in need of repair. This could provide the needed jobs both parties are concerned with and give the nation a chance to redo much of the energy grid to make it more efficient and based more heavily on renewables and green technology.
While it would seem that Democrats are mostly on the right side of many issues (and have a majority of the American voting population in their party), both parties seem to be widely out of step with the importance of prioritizing these issues. The environment and nuclear security should be priority number one. These pose existential threats to both America and the world.
Jobs are hugely important, but rather than focusing on actual jobs being the biggest concern, shared prosperity (the point of jobs) in the age of automated technology and globalization should take the second priority. We need to decide now how we are going to deal with the ever decreasing number of total jobs and what policies are going to work best for the entire society and whether the working and middle classes are left behind or included in future wealth creation.
Of course, shared prosperity as it relates to jobs, income, and wealth, should also relate to equality among sexes, races, and genders. Most of this is going in the right direction, just not as quickly as we might like. It’s undoubtedly better to be a member of any of these groups today than any time in the past. It’d be great to simply wave a magic wand on these points, but they will probably need to wait for time to take its course, with plenty of help from progressives fighting and advocating for proper legislation (and court appointees).
Lastly, health, education, and infrastructure are public goods and should be treated as such. Every person in a nation as rich as America should have the right to free healthcare, higher education up to the doctoral level (or other terminal degree), and access to safe roads, bridges, and dams. Everyone is better off with these public goods functioning well, including both the national economy and local communities