It Takes More Than Two to Tango


In this podcast I discuss the current political news along with the history and evolution of America's two political parties and if there's a potential for there to eventually be a third political party.

I have always been fascinated with the history of how we came about to the current day Republican and Democrat parties. Throughout our history we have seen the Federalist and Whig parties come and go, is there a chance that another legitimate third party could come into play? If not, how would the current day political parties evolve with the current fracture that is overtaking our nation? Will it take more than two political parties to get our nation on a better path? Is it going to take more than two to tango?



History of the Political Parties

  • While our first President George Washington didn't associate with a political party, the two parties that emerged were the Federalists and Democrat-Republicans.
    • President Washington as he left office made sure to remind people of their loyalty to their country instead of individual political parties.
      • Don't we all wish that our politicians could heed his advice now!
  • John Adams was the leader of the Federalists while Thomas Jefferson was the leader of the Democrat-Republicans.
  • In the 1796 elections is the inception of these two parties.
    • The word Democrats meant the will of the people while Republicans meant rule of law.
  • The Federalist party was known for being richer, in favor of the Constitution and solid supporters of the federal administration.
  • The Democrat-Republicans were fully committed to extending the revolution to the common person and included many different segments of society.
  • By the 1800s the Federalist party died out and in 1828 Andrew Jackson became the 1st President of the new Democrat party. Their rival party at that time were the Whigs. 
    • The Whigs only won one presidency but for the most part the Democrats held the Presidency till the 1860s.
    • Whigs were known to be anti-slavery.
  • In 1856, the North Abolition movement took hold of the nation and gave birth to the Republican Party.
    • President Lincoln was their first candidate and their platform was mostly anti-slavery.
    • I wonder how many people know that Lincoln was a Republican and promoted anti-slavery. 
      • It is the exact opposite of current day Republican rhetoric. Oh the irony!
  • Beginning in 1864, the Democrats and Republicans were the two main political parties of our nation.
    • For the most part, the Republican party had control of the Presidency for over 50 years.
  • The Democratic party was in a steep decline due to being the political party that lost the Civil War and was eventually saved by the Great Depression.
    • In 1929, the Great Depression came and changed the party system.
    • Businesses and banks had fouled and FDR (Democratic President) came in with sweeping financial reforms. 
    • He essentially saved the Democratic party.
    • It was then that Democrats defined themselves as the party for the people, poor/middle class and for labor unions.
  • The Republicans started to define themselves more for state's rights, tax cuts and reduced government spending. 
    • They had a more difficult time winning elections.
  • In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson (Democrat) aligned with the Civil Rights movement and truly shifted the platform for the Democratic party.
    • During the Civil War and after, the Democrats had firm control in the south and were known to be pro-slavery and segregation. They continuously made it difficult for African Americans to vote or attain jobs in the South. This decision by LBJ caused a pivotal shift for both parties.
    • Barry Goldwater who was the Republican candidate running for President opposed the Civil Rights movement and many southerners became Republican while many African Americans moved towards the Democratic Party. 
  • In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan (Republican) began to ally the party with the Christian Right as it brought them a lot of new voters.
    • In 2012, the Tea Party emerged within the Republican Party.
  • It is interesting to note that many political pundits discuss how the current Democratic party rarely mention the poor and now it is more about the middle class. The poor seem to be continuously left out of the political discussion these days.

Current Day Politics

  • The Guardian and NY Times both published great articles about how the poor white working class is being forgotten in American politics and they are Trump's biggest supporters for a reason. Take the time to read both articles because I think they explain a lot.
  • According to NY Times, the GOP has become more the party for the rich and the poor people continue to suffer economic pain which has caused them to become exceptionally angry towards the establishment.
    • These people see that their jobs are being sent overseas (which is why they are against minorities).
      • Companies have left many places along the Rust Belt and other parts of the nation to go to third world countries due to cheap labor. That has left many Americans destitute and without work or any hope of getting out of this rut.
    • Their wages have declined, workers have become more anxious, Republicans provided tax cuts for the rich, they saw immigrants coming in and competing for their jobs and the politicians found that it was a new group of voters to court. 
      • These people felt betrayed and overlooked by their own politicians.
    • As a nation we are completely oblivious to this and are quick to judge and hate them for their views.
    • As a minority, it does present an odd dichotomy because you want to feel for them but you also want to economically prosper. 
      • It also begs the question if the economic downturn is the cause of all their issues? The National Review disagrees, check their article out here.
    • As a nation we need to reinvest in these areas again and force our companies to bring jobs back to America.
      • As South Asians or Muslims we could also invest in building companies or jobs in those areas. We would be helping out our local community along with reducing racism in those areas.
      • We could make a major impact and I think this is something we should definitely consider.
      • We cannot expect people to accept us unless we take part and help our community in need.  
  • Moving on, I want to note the parallel between the Great Depression and the Great Recession (the economic crisis of 2008). 
    • Personally, I believe they are similar situations: the banks messed up and the poor people are facing the repercussions and going to extremes to show their anger with the government.
    • The Great Depression was a turning point for the Democratic party to redefine themselves, is this the time that the Republican party starts to redefine themselves? Does it take an economic crisis to force a political party to realign their values and attempt to redefine themselves?
  • Many of the poor white working class are socially conservative which is why their values align with the Republican party but they haven't seen the party standing up for them which is probably why they went to Donald Trump.
  • Many of those that are may be poor but are socially liberal are supporters of Bernie Sanders.
    • Especially the Millennials where he beats Clinton by far. 
    • I'm sure a lot of it has to do with student debt since it is over $1 trillion (the highest it has ever been).
  • People from both parties feel that the system is rigged and it's hard not to feel that way.
    • They see the Republicans catering to the rich.
    • Income inequality is at the highest that it's ever been in a long time.
    • They see Clinton taking an exorbitant amount of money for speeches.
      • And when asked she took that much, her response was Oh that's how much they offered! Nobody liked that explanation. **By the way if someone from Goldman Sachs is reading this, I'd love to do a speech for your company!**
    • Many Democrats feel that the nomination is rigged for Clinton due to her attaining most of the Super delegates.
    • Thanks to the SCOTUS ruling on Citizens United in 2010, Corporations are now recognized as citizens and can donate an unlimited amount of money into Super PACs. The general public isn't a big fan of this either.
    • We currently have the most polarized Congress and they are barely passing any bills. Which is why majority of Americans feel frustrated and believe that our government isn't working to serve us.
  • With so much anger and resentment in America, it's hard not to foresee a third or fourth political party could be in the making.
    • Millennials are one of the largest political voting segments and they are strongly supporting Bernie Sanders who is an Independent. I think my generation has the potential to break away from the Democratic and Republican party and create a new party that is more along our values.
    • There is always the potential that the Tea Party could break away from the Republican party and form their own socially and fiscally conservative party. They continuously talk about how the moderate Republicans have failed them.
    • When watching political debates you see that it has become a two sided debate on issues.
      • But, there are multiple ways to fix several issues which is why multiple political parties would offer fresh voices and ideas and potentially better solutions.
    • This is the time both political parties are noticing a major fracture within their parties, outsiders of the establishment are gaining major momentum and we finally have their attention.
      • I am curious to see if they will realign their values to be more inclusive of others OR if there are going to be some new political parties. We shall have to wait and see!
    • On a final note, according to Emerging Networks (the largest South Asian TV firm in the US), there are 4 million South Asians in America.
      • We are the fastest growing ethnic group, the wealthiest and the most well educated.
      • But, we are often overlooked.
      • While we are civically engaged we need to do a better job to achieve the highest political empowerment.
      • Let's WiseUp and make a political impact!
Azra Siddiqi