Major Issues for 2018: Party Positions for Midterms

As we approach the midterms it’s accepted that turnout will surpass previous midterms. Usually the Republicans show up more during the midterms giving them the electoral advantage in both national and state legislatures and some governorships. However, in the era of Donald Trump and GOP complacency/complicity in his actions the Democrats are expected to turn out in record numbers. Now the Washington Examiner, a solidly Right Wing, Conservative, Republican supporting newspaper recently ran a story where they said that Democrats nationally outnumber Republicans by 12 million. They stated that 40% of the nation are registered Democratic, 29% are registered Republican and 28% are registered Independent or other. Now most polling shows that GOP registration is down to less than 23% and Independents/Others surpass both Democrats and Republicans, but the trend is clear, the Republicans are losing support among registered voters.  

Regardless of party affiliation or lack thereof, the real issue in any election are the political leanings (conservative/liberal) of registered voters who will turn out. Here’s the thing that most of us understand, issue by issue people have views that may or may not follow the standard stated positions of their parties or even the self-identified political leanings.

Here is a recent breakdown of the top issues/concerns for voters in this midterm by registered voters, Democratic or Democratic leaning voters and Republican or Republican leaning voters.

2018Concerns

Now using the above as a guide, what are the policy positions of the Democrats and the Republicans for these issues? Sadly most vote by party affiliation ignorant of what their party stands for or worse yet, not caring. If you’re going to vote for your interest then you need to research and reconcile in your mind who and which party has the best plan or position to address your concerns.

Regarding healthcare: Republicans are on record wanting to slash Medicare and Medicaid funding to cut the deficit to help pay for their recent and future taxcuts. Further, they’re on record wanting to cut if not completely eliminate provisions of the Affordable Care Act to include removing protections for those who have pre-existing conditions. Democrats want to increase funding and coverage of Medicare, Medicaid and correct the problems in the Affordable Care Act to ensure most if not all Americans have affordable healthcare and those with pre-existing conditions are not denied coverage or priced out of the market. Some Democrats are pushing for Medicare for All. They also accept that this would require higher taxes. Interesting to note that if Medicare for all is passed, it would add trillions more in costs to the program over the next ten years. However, studies show that doing nothing, leaving the system as is under the mandate of private for profit insurance companies would add even more trillions in costs than Medicare for all would and would be pricing more Americans out of the market completely.

Regarding Gun Policies: Republicans are on record in full support of the NRA’s agenda of making gun ownership even less restrictive than it is now and pushing for national legislation of Stand Your Ground, limited if not eliminated universal background checks, lowering the age for purchasing guns, allowing those who are charged with or have a history of domestic violence in owning a gun, allowing those diagnosed with mental health issues to still own a gun, arming teachers, conceal carry, deregulating sale of assault style weapons, high capacity magazines, “cop killing” bullets, etc. Democrats are on record supporting restrictions in sales of high capacity magazines and assault style weapons. They support universal background checks for all gun sales, raising the age for which you can purchase a weapon and denying gun ownership to those with a history of domestic violence, mental health issues, or violent criminal record.

Regarding Immigration: Republicans are on record to not only end illegal immigration in our nation, but limit legal immigration to our nation. They support bans from people from certain areas of the world from entry, deny entry to those claiming asylum, support separating children from the parents, setting up expanded detention centers for families and building a Southern Border Wall at taxpayer expense hoping that Mexico will reimburse us later. Democrats also want border security to reduce if not eliminate illegal immigration. However they oppose the border wall as a waste of taxpayer dollars that would have little if any impact on illegal immigration or drug smuggling. Democrats want to honor international treaties involving those seeking asylum and expand legal immigration to our nation with enhanced vetting procedures to replace an aging workforce.

Regarding the Economy, the Republicans are taking full credit of our expanding economy we’re experiencing today that began in 2009 after the last recession under policies enacted by Barack Obama and a Democratic control Congress. However, they are working to eliminate banking and investing regulations imposed by Obama and the Democrats to prevent another crash as we experienced in 2008. Republicans want to eliminate regulations on big business designed to protect the consumers and environment in order to expand their profit margins in the theory it would result in more jobs. Although the official policy of the GOP is free trade, they’re doing nothing to prevent Donald Trump from engaging in a trade war with China, Canada and Europe via tariffs which in reality are a tax on American Consumers.

Regarding Partisanship, the Republicans have made no secret of the fact that it’s their way or the highway. They are on record saying and doing whatever they can to push policies of their making while doing everything they can to stop anything coming from the Democrats, even if it’s something their party had supported in the past. As a result, the Democrats are now pushing for a Blue Wave or Vote Blue no matter who. In the past the Democrats have invited Republicans in to help craft legislation. The best example of this was the Affordable Care Act. The final bill was full of items from the Republicans but not one member of the GOP voted for the final bill. Mitch McConnell on the night Barack Obama was inaugurated President told other GOP leaders that he would do everything to block everything Obama and the Democrats presented, regardless of what it was in order to make “Obama a one term President”. That’s the nature of the GOP and if you want a working government in Washington DC you must have bipartisanship, not winner take all. Historically the Democrats have been better at this than the Republicans, but the Republicans are driving the Democrats in their direction. Both parties need to go back to the days of Country before Party.

Regarding Trump’s record. The Republicans in office are doing little to hold Trump in check. They are doing all they can to obstruct a transparent and thorough investigation into his alleged crimes, his unethical behavior and his possible collusion with Russia to win not only the 2016 election, but the GOP primary that year. Even though Donald Trump is on record doing things the Republicans in the past say they opposed, none of them are holding him to account. They are clearly being hypocritical in their treatment of the President. The Democrats want a full accounting of the Trump administration in terms of possible collusion, crimes and abuse of power. This is the major role of Congress, checks and balance and holding the executive in check no matter what party they’re a member of.

Finally regarding Tax Reform. Taxes are a necessary evil for a functioning government in order to see to the needs of the nation and her people. You cannot provide needed services to the people like infrastructure, healthcare, social security, law and order, national security, protection of the environment, education, equal rights etc. unless you have revenue coming in. Both parties push for tax cuts. The last series of tax cuts had 88% of them going to corporations and the wealthiest people in the nation who have the greatest ability to pay taxes while only 12% went to those who are going paycheck to paycheck. Although both parties claim to want lower deficits and debt, historically only the Democrats have worked to lower the deficit. The greatest taxcuts to middleclass Americans came under the Obama administration, not the Trump administration. The increase to our deficit and debt comes more from the taxcuts than from spending on the social safety net and the Republicans are on record wanting to cut social safety net programs in order to keep and increase taxcuts provided to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Democrats are on record for going back to a fairer progressive tax code and maintaining key programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid without adding to the deficit and national debt which means taxing those who have the greater wealth to easily pay those taxes without impacting their standard of living.

Those are the most pressing concerns of the people for this year’s midterms. I didn’t list all the ones shown in the above chart, only the first eight. However, the party positions are easily obtainable to see if they match what you believe. Question is, do you support the policies of the parties in question because you truly support those positions, or because as a Republican leaning or Democratic leaning person, you believe what you are told to believe? Your needs or the party’s needs? Country before party or party before country and ignore those who aren’t members of that party and believers in their ideology?

I still consider myself a moderate strangely enough because I still hold to some old time traditional conservative values mixed in with some traditional old style social liberal values. However of the two parties today, my views are best represented and fought for by the Democrats and the Republicans by choice want to be obstinate to what the majority of the nation wants and needs. So I’m voting Blue no matter who until such time as another viable political party comes into being or the Republicans step back and begin to represent people of all ideologies within their ranks as they did prior to idiots like Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell and of course Donald J. Trump.

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