October 30, 2012

What's the matter with the Democrats?

Here is an article I wrote for The American Conservative in the summer of 2006 on the inherent weaknesses of the Democratic Party. As it turned out, the Democrats whomped the Republicans hard that November, but, still ... I think a lot of the points I made remain applicable. 

That gets me to thinking: say, you are a self-interested foreigner -- such as, say, Carlos Slim, Vladimir Putin, Bibi Netanyahu, Prince Bandar, Ehud Barak, Lee Kwan Yew or some other formidable and well-informed gentleman -- and you had the opportunity to more or less buy either the Democrats or the Republicans, which would you choose? Say that there was a special offer, one time only: for $10 billion you could obtain discreet but effective control over either the Republicans or the Democrats for the next 10 years. Imagine that both are quietly for sale: which party would you buy? (Assume you have no loyalty or sympathy for either one, you are just looking for the best return on your investment.)


Anonymous said...

I'd buy the one with the most low-information voters, the one that has the most low IQ people.

Anonymous said...

Generally, American politicians cannot be bought; they can only be rented!

Eric said...

The Democrats, for sure. No matter what they do the media will cover.

More Anon said...

Democrats would be a better all-around buy. They set the budget, personnel policy and other trends in city, state and federal government, especially in the major megalopoleis. They largely dominate universities and Hollywood. They aren't constrained by rhetoric about government spending and their internationalist rhetoric is friendly to co-optation.

If I'm interested in the military side of things or co-opting American Evangelicals, I'd spend on GOP.

Anonymous said...

I saw what you did there Steve.

I have to disagree.

Surely, American politicians are not for sale. Surely. Please assure me they are not for sale!

Anonymous said...

Democrats, because they are going to be the permanent majority. Also, there's less worldwide opposition to democratic imperialism compared to a Republican like Bush doing the same thing. So it would be easier to enact your agenda.

David said...

Why not ask the current owners of each party for their motivations?

Frenris said...

Hard choice, the demographics are moving the democratic way so that'ss a big advantage, but white married professionals people are so much more competent then brown, single, welfare recipients(the dems do have other consituencies but their not growing). The safe bet is dems but if you wanted to play the bold move and attack political correctness and play the sailer strategy the republicans might work. Assuming I am not in the states though I am picking the dems to much work to try and overcome the inertia of the system.

Matthew said...

The Republicans, because Republican voters can be bought far more cheaply than the Dems. Dems demand welfare payments, generous benefits for bureaucrats, quotas, etc., etc. Republican voters just want a big military, a promise you'll end abortion in some future century, and lower taxes (and don't care that most of the lower taxes benefit the rich).

Republicans were snookered for 8 years by a president (yes, GWB) who wan't the least effing bit conservative and who left middle class whites worse off in 2008 than they were in 2000.

john marzan said...

The Democrats. Mexico and the Cartels has already bought parts of the dem party around the border states.

Porter said...

Which party would I purchase? My back is covered either way.

You Americans can find your own back coverers.

Anonymous said...

With Republicans, you have a squabbling mess of both paleoconservatives and also neocons, glibertarians, and theocons.

That's going to be difficult to control.

With the Democrats, you just need to buy some professors to write about how oppressed someone or something is, get the media to talk about how oppressed they are, and Democrats everywhere will be kissing their asses and beating each other up for not participating vigorously enough. Blacks, gays, dolphins, spotted river trout, anything.

Did you know that the right of a man who decides he's a woman to use the women's bathroom is the defining civil rights issue of our time?

So here's the question. With taking over the Red Team, do you dominate them as completely as the Blue Team's current leaders? If you take over the Blue Team, do you get their media control through political correctness with them?

Luke Lea said...

Why not by both? Don't gamble. That's what the donor class does.

Anonymous said...

Democrats of course!

The IQ is lower, there is no real coalition...controlling the upper reaches of the Democrat party is controlling the entire party.

Grass roots republicans have the ability to think, so you can't buy them...Only silence them

john marzan said...

the article is dated.

Enoch Powell said...

Your question poses an extremely grim choice.

My first thought was that it would be similar to telling an investor in 1955 that they had to purchase a controlling interest in either Studebaker/Packard or American Motors (Nash/Hudson).

Both were widely perceived by the public as being losers. They had both been mismanaged to a degree and were certainly not attractive investments.

Perhaps the Democrats and Republicans will soon follow the two car makers into oblivion. That's where they belong.

NOTA said...

Buy the party who traditionally opposes whatever you want done, or at least who houses most of the opposition to what you want done. Then, when they switch sides, there will be no meaningful opposition.


Clinton: Welfare reform, NAFTA
Bush: Medicare D, NCLB
Obama: War on terror (foreign and domestic), War powers act

If your big issue is gay marriage, buy the Republicans and most organized opposition to it will cease. If yr big issue is gun control, buy the Democrats and suddenly shall-issue laws or Vermont carry will become bipartisan consensus policy. And so on.

beowulf said...

That's not a good strategy. Controlling one party or the other hands too much control of your fate to the voters.

The NRA and the Israel lobby are both so influential because they follow the strategy of the Anti-Saloon League (which succeeded in getting the Prohibition Amendment enacted). When they support a candidate-- of either party-- they just want him solid on their one issue, they don't care how he votes on everything else.

As long as incumbent toes the line, he will always get their support. But if he ever double-cross them... they throw the kitchen sink at him.
So spending $10 billion or any amount to "control" a party is very inefficient. For a lot less you can lock down a majority of Congress to vote your way (on your specific issue) regardless of which party is in charge, thereby minimizing the risk of the voters upsetting the apple cart.

Jon Walker wrote an excellent series about the Anti-Saloon League which really lays it all out.

Anonymous said...

In a great many ways, Dems are already bought.

it makes no difference regarding the purpose of the purchase; implosion or co-option. Dems are good with either.

Whiskey said...

It depends. You can't "buy" Dems to do things that Dems don't like. They won't nuke Iran, or Pakistan. They won't even stop Iran's nuke program. They are anti-War after all, explicit, front-page, mass warfare is something they won't tolerate. Neither will they tolerate say, going to war to protect the House of Saud, or Israel, or a host of other things, because the gays, Blacks, Mexicans, SWPL, single women, etc. all HATE HATE HATE those things. You can't buy them to do that, any more than you could "buy" Gotti at his height to be an anti-Mob crusader against corruption.

You can "buy" Dems for mass immigration, anti-White stuff, military weakness / surrender. And so on. So if you're Putin, Slim, or Khameni or Pakistani Marxist billionaires, Dems are your best bet.

Same for Reps. The base won't allow military weakness, surrender, or Iran cozying. You can't do (as Bush found out) a mass amnesty. You can get military adventures, bombings, probably not as much as you could before, but the base and leadership are aligned there as they are with Dems.

Israelis no matter how much money they throw at Obama won't get anything but the cold shoulder (or worse -- Obama would happily "lead from behind" to help Israel get nuked) -- because Blacks HATE HATE HATE Jews, as do the gays, and the ultra left that forms the core of Democrats. It would be like Carlos Slim trying to get amnesty. Bush had to back off because his base was enraged, and punished him in 2006.

Auntie Analogue said...

I'd buy the Communist party. Then I'd wouldn't have to be responsible and could just sit around in groovy Low Rent boho joints festooned with glowering Che posters, and grouse in perpetuity with kindred passive-aggressive souls.

Or I'd buy the Tea Party because they'd be perfect chumps whenever I chose to astroturf on an issue.

Steve Sailer said...

NOTA said:

"Buy the party who traditionally opposes whatever you want done, or at least who houses most of the opposition to what you want done. Then, when they switch sides, there will be no meaningful opposition."

Yeah, that Nixon goes to China route is pretty much how most things get done.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey, you're wrong.

You can't "buy" dems to force every American to buy insurance from the evil insurance companies. Oops!

You can't "buy" dems to kill thousands of civilians with flying robots. Oops!

You can't "buy" dems to help cover up that Israel sent 8 F-18s on a bombing run to attack Darfur/Sudan (!). Oops!

You can't "buy" dems to essentially turn over control of the entire financial system to the biggest and most corrupt wall street banks. Oops!


Orthodox said...

Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

AllanF said...

All these commenters are missing the point. Foreign potentates would want to buy the Republicans. Democrats are clearly going to self-destruct the country regardless. Scroll back a few posts and take a look at the chart of the Obama supporters vs. Romney supporters. It's starkly producers versus consumers.

Republicans strike me as Churchill's Americans, they can always be counted on to do what's right, after exhausting all other possibilities. If you want to prevent them from eventually doing what's right, you need to buy them off.

Anonymous said...

What Luke Lea said, why take a risk, buy both.

Left/liberals like to complain that the 2000 election was fixed. I say that if thats true why would the same fixers take a break in 2008. IOW if 2000 was fixed, so was 2008. The people pulling Bush's strings must ultimately be the same ones pulling Obama's stringsa.

They dont like that but they dont have an answer.

Anonymous said...

Simple answer is just buy the media, or enough of it anyway. They will manufacture the desired narrative, framing it in either Dem or GOP terms as required.

Hard to think that hasnt already happened.

Anonymous said...

There's absolutely no doubt about that one whatsoever.......The Republicans.
Look. The Republicans are basically owned by neocon dogmatists, their coe beliefs, what they are all about is basically the agenda of the WSJ and The Economist ie give the plutocrats everything they want and damn the rest. Hence uncontrolled mass immigration and uncontrolled Devil take the hindmost 'free trade' and an out of control Wall Street, credit default swaps, subprime, derivatives and all. If you were a foreign plutocrat, all you'd want from the USA was the ability to loot and park huge amounts of dosh with no consequence to yourself - and that's the entirety of the Republican package.
Of course to the dumb baseball cap wearing proles, some even dumber Republican song-and-dance man histrionics merchants rhythmically tap their feet, invoke abortion, religion, guns and dark hints towards darkies and get the sucker vote in the bag.

Simon in London said...

The Republicans, because when you buy them they stay bought.

Hugh said...

This may be cheating on the question...but as a conservative I'd buy myself a good chunk of MSM.

bluto said...

I think Steve's point was that the Republicans are generally smaller but vastly better organized (case in point Ron Paul followed the Carter/Obama strategy (win delegates via obscure rules that other candidates don't understand) to nick the nomination and the party leadership simply shut him down. The analogy might be bad, but the underlying observation wasn't. There has long been a wide difference in the cultures of the two parties.

JI said...

Easy. I'd buy the Republicans. They will probably not hold the majority of elected offices, but at least I could more-or-less trust them to stay bought! You can't trust Democrats at all, not even after buying them.

Kaz said...


Except Obama has increased military expenditures on every single front thus far. He's increased drone bombing on the Pakistanis, a group that you've come to really hate fairly recently..

The only difference between Obama and Romney in terms of foreign policy is that Romney explicitly looks forward to a war; for some reason his white base really looks forward to getting their children killed in the upcoming years. While Obama lies but really will end up doing the same thing since his advisors will lead him into it.

Rest assured we will get involved with another bullshit war in the middle east within the next decade.

a very knowing American said...

Not sure where I'd put my money --electoral dynamics tend to push both parties toward an approximately 50% coalition -- but here's a prediction about what Republicans and Democrats will look like within a generation or so (and into the indefinite future beyond).

The socially conservative, anti-big-government, Reaganesque stain of current Republicanism will be extinct. Republicans will occupy more or less the same position in policy space as current Democrats. Republican politicians will be guys like Al Gore or Barack Obama.

Democrats will present some combination of African-American-style racial-tribal bigmanship, like Al Sharpton or Marion Barry, and Latin-American-style authoritarian charismatic populism, like Juan Peron or Hugo Chavez: justice for my friends, humiliation for my enemies, never mind the law or rules of fair play. (The closest analogy in American history to this style is Huey Long.)

Most well-educated whites and Asians will vote Republican. (How many white leftists would vote for Al Sharpton over Al Gore?) Most Hispanics and African Americans, especially the less educated, will vote Democratic, along with some white proles and wiggers. America is a big place: some states will be firmly Republican, others firmly Democratic, some will be tossups.

Unsettled questions under this scenario: As Republicans morph from the conservative party to the white'n'yellow party, will they drop moral universalism and allow open race realist talk? And how will Democrats handle the trade off between racial-tribal appeals and populist class resentment?

Anthony said...

Whiskey is half-right: you can't buy a party to do things it really doesn't like doing. You can't buy Democrats to limit abortion, you can't buy Republicans to legalize drugs.

But Whiskey is *really* wrong on his examples, especially the Democrats on war. Democrats only dislike wars that make Republicans popular. Right now, Obama is gearing up to invade that latest existential threat to America, Mali, and only the more political Republicans are opposed.

You *can* buy the Republican Party to support more immigration, by appealing to the businessmen who prefer cheaper labor (that approach has only recently encountered pushback from within the party), and you can probably buy individual Republicans (though not the party) to support tax increases, as we've seen in California.

Pat Boyle said...

Interesting question. There is a historical precedent which tends to argue for buying the Democrats.

When I was little I was amazed that Washington DC had so many Roman temples. Later when I went to Rome for the first time I noticed that there were far fewer such temples there.

The United States was founded on priciples modeled on the Roman Republic. But as we all know Caesar ended all that. In a very real sense he purchased an end to republican government.

The the opposition were the 'boni' (the good men) also called the 'optimates' (the optimum men). Caesar on the other hand was famous for his bad but popular behavior. He seduced the wives of his opponents.

Today we have Mitt Romney and George Bush who are both scrupulously virtuous contrasted with Bill Clinton and Barney Franke. Then as now being a scoundrel and a liar is popular while being rightous has a much, more limited appeal.

The 'good' men are at a disadvantage against men like Obama or Clinton. Bet on attractive evil.


kaganovitch said...

"You can't "buy" dems to help cover up that Israel sent 8 F-18s on a bombing run to attack Darfur/Sudan (!). Oops!"

Who do you think covered this up? It was in fact widely reported.Nobody covered it up, it's just that noone cares very much about such squabbles any more than anyone much cared about turkey taking care of its business in syria.

Paul Mendez said...

If I could fire the management, I'd buy the GOP. It is a homogenous party made up of the productive half of the nation. The Democrats are a muddled mix of mutually antagonistic victim classes, united only by a common envy and hatred of straight white Christian men and all they've accomplished.

However, if I had to keep the current management, I'd buy the Democrats. GOP leadership is a gang of short-sighted, traitorous, post-American, elitist pussies who labor under the delusion that if you just explain the benefits of the free market system clearly enough, the tax-eating class will suddenly turn into an army of John Galts.

The Democratic leadership is also a gang of short-sighted, traitorous, post-American elitists, but at least they're smart and have balls.

Severn said...

The only difference between Obama and Romney in terms of foreign policy is that Romney explicitly looks forward to a war

You people are insane.

I don't mean that in the ad hom sense, I mean it in the literal, clinical sense.

fondatori said...

An interesting question, the answer to which is demonstrated by the interesting life of Schwartz Gy├Ârgy aka George Soros. If he had spent the last 10 years giving money to right wingers rather than left wingers you would hear a lot more about his insider trading conviction, his massive bet 'breaking the Pound' or his lack of regret for his activities as a youth in Hungary at the end of WWII. He might, actually, be portrayed as a cynical amoral manipulator rather than some kind of humanitarian.

Anonymous said...

Why would I only have to buy one? why not buy both?

NOTA said...


So, what differences in foreign policy do you expect in a Romney administration, and what evidence is there for that expectation? Even their rhetoric sounds almost identical to me. Of course, both guys would lie when the truth would save them money, but I don't even have any intuition about the direction of the difference between them. Would Romney kill more foreigners or less? Would he approve more stuff like Stuxnet and the terrorist bombings of Iranian nuclear physicists, or less? Would he intervene in more foreign countries, or fewer? And how can we know?

Svigor said...


Buy the Dems, run up the odds against Romney in the election, make a nice, fat, bet on him and then have the Dems throw the election?

Choice being based on the fact that the media will be more than happy to run up the odds for you, and Americans more than happy to look the other way out of white fear?

NOTA said...

I wonder what investments you could make that would amount to a bet one way or another. It's not obvious to me. As of a week ago, Romney sounded like better news for defense contractors than Obama, but that could just be Obama and Romney playing to their respective bases. Would Romney be expected to help or hurt insurance company stock prices? I suppose hurt them (anything that repeals Obamacare means fewer people required to be their customers, some with a subsidy), but will Romney really repeal Obamacare? He's already committed to keeping some of the popular parts. Romney and Obama talk about deficit reduction, and God knows Obama has massively increased the deficit, but would you really bet your own money that the deficit will go down substantially under Romney? (The guy who promises more defense spending and attacks Obama for cuts to Medicare, and who promises to cut taxes?)

Anonymous said...

If you oppose Stuxnet and the killing of Iranain nuclear scientists you are for all intents and purposes in the same postion as pinks in the Cold War. For Christ sakes Iran is our enemy of course we don't want them getting nuclear weapons anymore than you sad sack paleocons like that the Jews took control of the media. If Steve weren't so obsessed with using the who/whom distinction to flaunt his edginess he'd take a look at schmitts friend enemy distinction. In the interest of who whom you are cutting of your nose to spite your face on Iran. Sure Israel wants to keep the bomb out of Iran's hands and represent a "who" doeant mean that America represents the "whom"

NOTA said...

Anon 10:02:

Wait, I'm confused. Usually, the propaganda line is that Iran is the next Nazi Germany. Are you saying it's also the next USSR? Hell, why not declare it to be both?

At any rate, my question (which I guess triggered your canned astroturf spiel) was not whether these were good or bad, but rather whether Romney would be different than Obama on these and similar questions. I do not see any reason to suspect Romney of being less willing to do such things than Obama has been. Iran is pretty much helpless against our military force, as long as we don't try to occupy the place and get our soldiers tangled up in another guerilla war, so I expect both Obama and Romney to be perfectly willing to kill as many Iranians as necessary to achieve their domestic political goals.

Of course, it is just barely possible that there's some kind of unpleasant precedent being set. But not to worry--donors want to see concrete action now about their pet issue, but mostly don't think long term. And 99% of voters think Stuxnet is the guy who made that Gangham Style video.

Anonymous said...

"john marzan said...

The Democrats. Mexico and the Cartels has already bought parts of the dem party around the border states.
10/30/12, 7:57 PM "

Yes, I am sure you have links to back up your cartel accusations ...