TED Conversations

Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,


This conversation is closed.

Are we slaves to the forces that conspire to keep Republicans and Democrats in the United States in a 50/50 stand off?

I have been increasingly amazed about something in American politics: Half the country apparently thinks the other half is some combination of insane, immoral, or perhaps just misled. I can't quite grasp how that can be true, but it seems to be true to me, as I listen to and talk to the vast majority of people who are firmly republican or democrat.

These aren't just simple things we're fighting about. We're fighting about life and death issues, like what happens to women when they get raped, and what our health care policy should be. I would think that with such disputes, eventually one side or the other would win out. Both can't be right. Yet both sides seem perpetually evenly balanced. Is there some force at work forcing this even balance? If so, what is it? Are we all just slaves to this force?

Throughout American history, there have been roughly equal numbers of republican (18) and democratic (16) presidents, ignoring other parties throughout American history. (Hopefully I got that right, but fact check me if you are so inclined...) This leads me to conclude that there must be some larger social force at work influencing the masses of people, to keep these numbers perpetually balanced. Because I can't understand how these forces can be so evenly balanced over so many years without some force keeping them balanced.

What force(s) keep on keeping republicans and democrats so evenly balanced in the United States? Are we slaves to this force?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Nov 7 2012: Well, one of the problems in the US Congress is the lack of party discipline. Virtually every vote is what is called a free vote elsewhere. Although it would seem more democratic to allow representatives to vote according to their consciences the result is chaotic, severely limiting the ability to direct legislation and opening up the way for endless deal-making - another way of describing legalized corruption.

    I have no argument when it comes to the super PACs and the banks. However, corruption is only what one should expect if using a poorly designed system. In a way it is not sensible to blame the people. People naturally become corrupt if given the opportunity. Blame the system - demand constitutional reform. A problem is that there is an overwhelming weight of endless propaganda at about how wonderful the constitution is, how wonderful is the American way of life etc. America will need to adjust to the new terms of life today and recognize that what served reasonably well in the past is no longer fit for purpose.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.