American Elections… Interests, Groups and Mass-voting

Each time an American elections starts, the Arabic political mind raises the same question: Which is better? –The Democratic Party or the Republican? And which will support more or less the interests of the region?… However, a careful examination suggests that there are no radical differences between the positions of the two big parties of America: the differences are only in the detail. The classical sense of the party no longer has value in the context of the rule of interest groups and voting blocs… How so?

The American elections that took place in 2000 explained that the political life of America exceeded customary partisan competition, as is present in Europe, and restored an American tradition that existed until World War I – that interest groups support the central rule of the the presidency in expressing America… The elected president is not considered to be a candidate of a particular party or an advocator of his own vision, but is a guardian of the interests of the giant economic entities that are politically organized under the name of interest groups.

The two major parties in the end have only two channels through which to deliver candidates for the presidency of the United States. Observers of American politics over recent years notice for example how the majority enjoyed by the Democratic Party in Congress has not changed the orientations of the American administration regarding their external policies and that the majority agreed to everything that had been asked in the special American Security budgets, and so on. Also, observers of the campaigns of the current candidates of the two parties cannot observe any clear differences between them … both democratic and republican support the Jewish establishment… (reducing taxes without reducing budgets allocated for the security of America; controlling sources of energy, but within the framework of a comprehensive strategy; refusal to retreat from the war on terrorism, but without a loud statement of intent) .. As a result, the relationship between the citizen and the party in America is no longer the same as the relationship in Europe, where party reflects the rescue of a European gathering of social groups and specific economic policies depend on the coming to power of particular sympathizers and voices.

The party in America includes various groups and various social strata and the successful candidate does not depend primarily on the party members themselves, because the X-factor in the support of a party in America is not its members, but groups and voting blocs, who support candidates who promise to pursue their interests.

Hence, we find a group of voters that is not, in fact, partisan, but is composed of interest groups and with masses of votes, these groups seek to influence politicians and policy. This makes presidential candidates interested in these groups and diverse voting blocs, which the American electoral system accommodates. Since the assassination of Kennedy (Democrat from Massachusetts) in 1963, no other democratic candidate succeeded from the North has succeeded in reaching the presidency. Both Carter and Clinton are from the southern states, which are characterized by the predominance of conservative social religious trends (and provides a bloc of votes of up to 40 million). In this context, specific voting blocs is starting to formalize: religious, colored, ethnic, or geographical (southern vs. northern), and form a network of interests whose supreme interest is the military-industrial-technological-financial complex that that is associated with various interest groups (arms industry, medicine, oil, and others), such that we can say that the Republican Party did not actually govern over the past eight years (2000-2008), even though officially they did.

But the government is an alliance between neo-conservatives and the new religious right – a coalition that reflects radical shifts in the ideological and political map of America: new conservatives have been able to resolve the historic, traditional trend toward liberalism to express their interests. They have also succeeded, through intellectual discourse, to promote conservative values, turning the religious bloc voting base into a social movement, even though it includes various social groups – poor, segments of the middle class and the rich. However, the core of the association of these groups is religious, and it does not matter that the new administration has passed legislation that offer tax breaks for the rich and increase the gap between them and the poor, disregarding spiritual and moral values of justice and equal opportunity. Yet, the poor did not object because the legislation and the privileges it offered the rich came under the cover of religion.

The foregoing has caused candidates of each party to flirt with bloc voting, regardless of party affiliation, according to a study by the Brookings Institution (2007), on American policies and religious division as determinants of voting in America. It focuses on the role of religion and religious voting blocs, explaining the basic parameters that govern voting and how religion, race and state intersect in the electoral process at the expense of political choice.

The result is that the rich minority needs for its interests masses of votes to ensure the success of its candidates, and for example, the religious voting bloc can deliver nearly 25% of all votes when not fragmented. Consider too that not more than 50% of the population participates in the electoral process in grassroots elections, while the electoral college can be won, as in the case of the election of President Bush (2000) with the loss of the popular vote (of which he obtained less than 48%), while obtaining 271 of a total of 538 Electoral College votes.

In summary, we should understand the phenomenon of America from the inside, and discover how to deal not only with its parties but also its interest groups and voting blocs, and their visions and plans, if we want to influence and support moderates in the political process. In particular, this type of democracy seems to prevail in many areas, including in a democratic process that involves a rich minority and small numbers of voters but organized and committed, while the political majority is absent – an issue that long-standing democracies (such as the German and Japanese) have considered.

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