After Virginia: A Media Guide to American Politics

by John O'Sullivan

Though I have read the U.S. Constitution, I am still puzzled by American politics. Are there any simple rules that will help me understand it?

Certainly. The two most important rules are as follows:

When Democrats win, it’s good for the Democrats.

When Republicans win, it’s good for the Democrats.

So what kind of election result is good for the Republicans?

That’s quite simple. It’s good for the Republicans when Republicans lose because then they might become more like the Democrats. 

Okay, that covers the general election. What about primaries?

Easy. When the GOP establishment wins, it’s good for the Democrats because the establishment is closer than GOP insurgents to the Democrats.

And when insurgent Republicans win, it’s good for the Democrats because it means that the GOP has written off the next election.

What about Democrat primaries? 

That’s a little more complicated. Of course, a primary victory for an establishment Democrat is good for the Democrats because it makes the party more electable.

On the other hand, a primary win for an insurgent Democrat is also good for the party because it brings the Democrats closer to the People. 

Now I’m really puzzled. How so?

Well, to understand that, you need a grasp of theory. Let me put it in as simple terms as possible. There is something called the political spectrum which runs right to left as follows: The Voters, the insurgent Republicans, the establishment Republicans, the establishment Democrats, the insurgent Democrats, and finally the People. 

Surely, however, the Voters are the People too.

Not always, very rarely in fact. The Voters are those sections of the People that speak for themselves; other sections of the People are unfortunately silenced.

So who speaks for them?

We do.

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