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Studio shot of red and blue chess pawns symbolizing US Democratic and Republican parties

Source: Tetra Images / Getty

On the February 1 edition of the Brett Winterble Show, Brett took a call from “Tara.” You can hear the conversation here.

Tara wanted to know the nature and purpose of political parties. Why Republican, Why Democrat?

Brett breaks it down.

Ask yourself this question, ‘What is the purpose of a political party?”

Pure and straightforward, a political party exists for two reasons: to raise money and gain power for the party and its members. That is the total extent of why parties exist.

Parties are about collective action to gain power and implement the members’ will. The Republican Party and the Democratic Party have no idea who you are, what you do, or what matters to you. They don’t care. To paraphrase Pink Floyd, you are just ‘another brick in the wall.’

The party only cares about you if you are a powerful politician or colossal donor.

So why have them? Because they are the only avenue to national power. One caveat, the parties are going to be driven by their leadership. Today’s Democratic Party looks nothing like the Democratic Party of Harry Truman. The Republican Party looks nothing like the GOP of Dwight Eisenhower. That is a good thing; the structures reflect the times in which they exist.

Consider this, “In 1960, only 4% of Democrats and 4% of Republicans said they would be disappointed if their child married someone from the opposite political party, according to a study by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (Almond, G., & Verba, S., Civic Culture Study, 1959–60). By 2018, 45% of Democrats and 35% of Republicans reported they’d be unhappy if their child did the same, according to a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and The Atlantic (Najle, M., & Jones, M., PRRI, 2019).”

In 2020 and now 2021 the fight has gotten even more strident. Who is driving the arguments, the parties or their members? It appears to be pretty clear that the political divides, amplified by social media and pandemic driven social isolation has become the sum and summit of politicking in America. We no longer define the parties, they define us. Is that the Republic we want to have?

It would be best to have your moral compass, values, and beliefs. Opinions or takes will change over time, that’s healthy, but do not look to earthly princes and kings and politicians for what you believe deep down inside. Parties are a reflection of the times, but values are forever.