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bigtittygothbf wrote

I live in Europe and have a hard time understanding US politics. What's the difference between "the right" and "the left"? Aren't both democratic parties? Also, why did you guys arm the teachers, as a way to deal with school shooters?


AngryData wrote

The US doesn't have a real leftist party, at least not as a main party, usually better identified by the 'liberal' moniker. Democrats are right of center, not a lot, but enough. The republicans are like the extreme ideological right, like just shy of Nazi levels. The main difference between the two parties is how they want to accomplish their authoritarian ideals. Democrats want the government to control and regulate as much shit as possible to make 'us' all 'equal', but of course the rampant corruption ends up making some 'more equal' than others, usually the rich because they have political weight. The republicans however want the 'free market', or in reality, the ruling wealthy class, to have all the power. Basically to remove government power and put it in the hands to wealthy private individuals in the name of business and rampant capitalism and personal profit.

Tl;DR Republicans = far right, advocates for personal power through wealth and money. Democrats = Slight right, advocates for government power by regulating and controlling as many normal people as possible through heavy handed law, thus giving default power and control to the rich who can write in exceptions for themselves.


bigtittygothbf wrote

Considering that most people are not extremely wealthy, why do middle to low class Americans vote for republicans if they can't be part of the wealth? Wouldn't it be more beneficial for them to be part of the democratic party since it favours the majority of the American population?


evictedkoala wrote (edited )

30 years of right wing radio propaganda following the deregulation of talk radio in the 80s by Reagan + 20 years of fox news + lack of education = predicament we're in.


AngryData wrote (edited )

There are a few reasons, most of it comes down to the political propaganda people are sold on even if it has nothing to do with what the party is actually pushing. However there are some HUGE issues.

One is that the democratic party keeps trying to ban guns really hard, especially the last few years, which is protected by our constitution which pisses a lot of people off. On top of that, very few people trust the government, which is the entire reason we have the 2nd amendment, to overthrow tyrannical government. Plus we have the largest group of experienced battle veterans in the world along with all of the world's largest civilian militias and have for a long time without problem. Then there is the immense amount of hunting in the US (we have tons of empty wilderness), sport shooting, police shootings, gang activity from the drug war, there is no requirement for police to protect you, ect. Then combine all that with previous democrat gun bills that ban completely useless and illogical shit like gun shrouds, slings, folding stocks, gun mufflers, and other bullshit that doesn't effect weapons. Plus trying to enact gun law based on how scary the gun looks rather than the actual functionality of the gun. People get angry and if you have a gun, voting democrat is voting to make yourself a criminal. The democratic party seems completely ignorant to the amount of voters they lose by pushing gun control.

Another is regulation in general. Democrats are all for regulations, and in many cases I agree there needs to be regulations, however they do not in any way shape or form base their ideas and thoughts upon informed science, research, or any other publicly available information or voter consensus, its just a bunch of of rich farts patting each other on the backs for passing arbitrary regulatory laws that get manipulated by industry-insiders to limit potential competition.

And for social services, republicans like to frame all social services as lazy people that never worked just sucking money for free and pretend they just party every night blowing all their food stamps and welfare on drugs and avocados. In order to counter such claims, democrats agree to more regulatory requirements for social services, many times so much regulations that you are better off not wasting endless hours doing worksheets, filling out forms, and reporting to some government bureaucrat every week, ultimately resulting in spending $2 for every $1 given out to make sure the 'wrong' people don't get any help, which makes the system ineffective and expensive which is just more fuel for the republicans to pour on the fire about dem lazy poor people who, in their minds, would have become regional manager and rich in a year if only they would work harder.

There are lots more but I really only meant to give a brief overview, there are a lot more issues. 90% of the problems come down to having a black and white choices when picking your favorite color of the political rainbow. You can't say you like red, but hate blue, you only get to pick whether you think a black or white choice will result in a better color spectrum. You can't say "I agree we need gun control but only pertaining to handguns because they make up 90%+ of gun crime." Instead you get to choose between democrats "Scary polymer guns are scary! Ban the least likely weapons to be used in crime and useless knicknacks!" or the republicans side of "We want to be able to buy any and all weapons! Unless you are poor, we should really charge a flat-rate tax so poor and colored people can't get guns and shoot back as we stomp on their rights."


nijntje wrote

EU here as well (NL). That being said, 'right' and 'left' are pretty standard ways of dividing things, although they're mostly economically based (left being more towards "let's share stuff", right being "let's let individuals keep their wealth b/c they deserve the fruits of their labour"). If you think this is simplistic, it is, but it can be somewhat useful. See the political compass for a slightly more nuanced view of political spectrum, it can be useful to understand why people that might be more or less equally on the same page about some issues ("just as leftist") can still be in wiiiiiiiiild disagreement.

But I think to answer your question better, because it's a good question that deserves an in-depth answer, I think the main thing is that here in the netherlands at least, we have multiple parties elected to a local city council/overarching city council/provincial gov't/country gov't. This makes things go in a certain direction: once the election results are in, depending on how votes for specific issues work, you make a coalition that is formed from a few different parties that then are more able to easily do what they want in the government. So right now that would be Rutte III, the pie chart on the right will tell you there's just barely enough people from the different parties to cross the 50% majority mark. These parties then come up with a shared platform, more or less, where they decide on issues they can all agree on, and make up the current majority coalition. Now you can see that there's a party (CU) that only has 5 seats in the parliament, but they were still brought onboard because they were willing to work with and compromise and make others compromise in such a way that they could form this majority (the article mentions that this took a total of 225 days, so this is a loooooong time). But still, as an individual voter, that means that even if your party's stances are relatively unpopular there's still a chance they could be incorporated into the government! So it's worth voicing opinions that are rare and will appeal to a smaller fraction, because you still might get your way, in a sense.

Now contrast that to the US, where the president is one person, from one party, with his subordinates all chosen by him (afaik). Is it worth voting for your hyper-focused party that talks about animal rights (partij voor de dieren in the netherlands) as their starting point? No, you'd be throwing away your vote because there's no way your candidate/party would get enough traction nationwide to get 'your guy' as president. So what do you do? You vote for someone who roughly holds your viewpoints, who's a moderate 'left' guy, who might not be into socialism but at least he's a bit more for helping people than corporations. (this is FTPT, or first past the post systems). Now this will eventually cristalise into just two parties, because anyone that's too small will fail (see this youtube video for a pretty OK explanation).

And that's roughly why in the US you don't have a few parties, you only have two main parties that represent a set of possible viewpoints on one side (some wealth redistribution, gay rights, giving more money to national parks) and the antithesis on the other side (more wealth to corporations, gay rights are icky/"we are christian"/national parks are stupid).

This is of course completely reductionistic but it might help. It basically forces two parties to disagree on literally everything, and being in a constant tug of war where they appeal to enough people to hopefully be in a 50% majority (isn't true in the US with the electoral college but w/e) in the next election. So there's no real values, no real call, no real purpose to the party but to keep their eyes on where the general populace is and hope that they can gain juuuust a few more votes next round.


bigtittygothbf wrote

Wow thank you so much for your very detailed answer. To be honest, I am 17, about to turn 18 in a few months and I've never been involved in politics, mostly because of how corrupt our politicians are here (Greece), one way or the other. This comment is pretty much an eye opener for me since it gets into Netherlands' politics, which happen to be pretty close to Greece's and because it answers questions about US' politics which I could never really grasp the essence of, once again, thank you very much!

Also, on an unrelated note, since you're Dutch, how difficult would it be for a French/English speaker like me, to learn your language? I don't want to get really deep into details but long story short, I want to study translation with the goal to translate one day in Belgium.


nijntje wrote

I don't mind not hearing details, but it shouldn't be incredibly difficult, especially if you're already (presumably) trilingual. Dutch is close-ish to English and French, with a mix of German in there as well. So if you knew German it'd be even easier, of course.

I'm told the grammar can be a bit of a pain in the ass but besides archaic Dutch we don't have cases, so that's something. I think the main difficulty that people I know have when learning Dutch is that almost everyone, including old people in far-away towns, will know enough English to have a conversation so it can be hard to find conversational partners :)

And I don't mind explaining the politics bit! It's something I'm quite happy about that we've got at least semi-decently done here. And I used to have the same questions as you did—why are US politics so divisive, when here there's seemingly a lot more nuance—but once you understand that there's a good incentive for political parties to be divisive and to keep close to that majority-vote line then other things make more sense. For a recent example in the US: the republicans (the 'right') have moved a bit more to the right (towards the alt-right, fascism, etc) in recent years, so the 'left', the democrats, are more willing to compromise on certain issues (immigration, for example) because they're realistically not going to lose too many of the votes of people further on the left, while they only have more ground to gain by the people more in the middle that the republicans moved away from.


skekze wrote

The left want to ban bullying and create a dysfunctional utopia at their most extreme, the right argue conservation, but what they mean is cut down the state parks and turn it all into private oil money, farmland fortunes, private prisons, etc. Basically, a bunch of children who all want their five minutes of fame before the world forgets they were even here. A few live in the middle surrounded by the clueless and the entitled.