They go underrepresented. Since we only really have two parties to choose from, you usually have to hold your nose on who you choose. It gets worse when the districts are gerrymandered so that they give safe seats to only one party, as is a huge problem in CA and some other states in the last 10 years. You get fewer choices and more extreme viewpoints. If there is no real competition from the other party for your seat (because they chopped up the voting districts to make it that way) then you only have to worry about someone coming in from your left (or right depending on political viewpoint). It’s an unintended consequence of the situation, that moderates can’t gain enough traction to throw out the blowhards.
The two parties have such a wide variety of groups who make them up that it’s kinda hard to accurately characterize them. The Democrats tend to draw: unions, environmentalists, anti-war, governmental workers, the North Eastern states, the West Coast. The Republicans tend to get: farmers, small business, corporations, the military, the southern states, the Midwest and the Western states. When you get down to the smallest localities though, someone who may be running as a Democrat is pro business, pro guns and pro union. You may also get a Republican running who is pro environment, pro lower taxes and pro military.
You can also ignore Chris’s rant. Unless he was going for irony that was lost over the internet, setting up a dichotomy of “good qualities vs. evil qualities” to represent the two groups is pretty intolerant itself.
To steal from 538, poster Steven had this pretty good gem amid some of the “Republicans were dropped on their heads” garbage:
[quote=“Steven from 538”]Here are a few reasons I can come up with for conservatism:
“Epistemological modesty”: I loved David Brooks’ column from a few days ago. A good conservative is highly skeptical of human understanding of complex systems and ability to manipulate them without fostering unintended consequences. This ideal, to me, works towards a favoring of markets. I find Hayek’s arguments compelling, if I part ways with him at some of the more specific, nuts-and-bolts aspects of the so-called “Austrian school.” I believe that the collective knowledge of people making their own decisions is far more than groups of technocrats directing or heavily steering the markets themselves. My ideal is a lightly-regulated but strictly-enforced system allowing people to operate freely.
“Belief in slow, responsible change”: Robert Peel was a Tory prime minister who ushered in the repeal of the Corn Laws, a position that was highly unpopular with protectionist conservatives in his party. Peel, in my view, was an excellent conservative: he understood when change was necessary, accepting the need for reform in some cases to preserve the greater system. Fred Thompson hit at this during the campaign: ‘Responsible change is the essence of conservatism.’
“Federalism”: Different states have different priorities, and the individual states can function as “laboratories of democracy” in a federalist system. Provided that the federal government ensures equal protection, diversity in states is a good thing (unlike pre-Civil Rights era, when diversity in states led to segregation, etc.). A conservative prefers the small, more accessible state government to the national government when possible.
“Respect for the country’s past”: I reject the Howard Zinn interpretation of history outright (and not just because his work is poorly sourced). I don’t believe that the history of the republic has been the struggle of working people. I believe the American republic has largely been about the gradual achievement of ideals of the 18th century Enlightenment. We’re not perfect, certainly, but I don’t agree with the “grievances” pushed by the left.
“Respect for the law”: As a conservative, I found Barack Obama’s statements about what’s needed in judges to be appalling. From the Economist:
“Mr Obama might make good choices—his choice of advisers has usually been sound. But he has promised to pick judges for their “empathy” and “understanding” of “what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.” That could just be campaign blather, but conservatives fear he means it: that he really does want judges to favour the underdog rather than uphold the law dispassionately as their oath of office requires. Stephen Calabresi, a conservative jurist, says an Obama court could usher in ruinous shareholder lawsuits, huge punitive damages and even a constitutional right to welfare.”
This was paraphrased from remarks he made to Planned Parenthood in 2007.
On the same token, as a conservative, I don’t have much admiration for the turn-of-the-century progressives like Woodrow Wilson who believed that the constitution was an obstacle to his own conceptions of rather than a guidepost of sagacity and realism. The idea of splitting sovereignty and power intentionally slowed the pace of change and the authority of government. To me, this is a blessing, not a curse.
- “Equal opportunities instead of equal outcomes”: This is just my own conception of what’s fair. I don’t like the idea of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” and I don’t think it works. A government’s responsibility is to provide equal opportunities and a minimal safety net.[/quote]