Our Political Parties: Evidence v. Ideology

There’s some speculation afoot that the two major political parties may realign after the election, or even split into new parties entirely. I might be a target for a new party that combined center-left policy on social issues and center-right policy on fiscal ones. I wasn’t a fan of Bernie’s economic policy; I thought it unrealistic. I think Elizabeth Warren is spot-on when she talks about the unfettered power of the financial industry, but I’m not sure about her solutions either. Lord knows I don’t agree with a single thing that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth, and I think Paul Ryan’s “new path” — while he’s a more appealing messenger — is a lot of warmed-over Republican trickle down economics. Give more tax breaks to rich people, and the 99% will get more of their dregs.

Such a new party would have to do one thing for me to be interested: prioritize policy based on evidence, not on ideology. Right now, even before the party went over to the Alt-Right dark side, Republicans seem more prone to attempt to govern despite evidence. Think climate change. Think their implacable opposition to the Affordable Care Act.

As the ACA, or Obamacare, continues to get trashed on the campaign trail, here’s the counterpoint from the Washington Post:

Everybody knows the Affordable Care Act has been a massive, expensive failure, with prices and spending spiraling out of control. We heard this on Wednesday, from Minnesota’s Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton: “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable.” And earlier this month from Bill Clinton, who characterized Obamacare price hikes as “the craziest thing in the world.” And of course from Donald Trump, in the second presidential debate: “Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it. It’s going up at numbers that nobody’s ever seen worldwide. Nobody’s ever seen numbers like this for health care.” It’s true that nobody’s ever seen (or, at least, not in a good long while) numbers like this for health care — because, in fact, the price increases have been so small. The popular narrative that health-care prices and spending are growing at ludicrous speed is completely, utterly false. On nearly every metric, health care today is actually much cheaper than anyone predicted when Obamacare was signed into law.”


The ACA was designed to do two things: cover more people, and lower the rate at which health care costs were rising. It’s done both of those things. Are there problems with the Act? Yes, and fixing them isn’t helped by Republican opposition to legislating anything at all, especially a law that makes President Obama look good.

I actually think that if elected, Hillary will try to govern center-left on social issues and center-right on fiscal policy. She ought to develop a new mantra when working with Capitol Hill: what does the evidence say?

Where would the Ted Yohos and Louie Gohmerts of the Republican Party be then?

2 thoughts on “Our Political Parties: Evidence v. Ideology

  1. for THG: Yes, it could be much worse — say, a Trump victory or a less bizarre candidate in 2020 who has the same retrograde ideas.

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