The differences between Republicans and Democrats seem to exist mostly in political marketing campaigns and inside our own heads.
Closer Than You Think: Top 15 Things Romney and Obama Agree On.
And those things are:
- The 40 year war on drugs must continue, and even mention of the prison state is unthinkable. There are 2.3 million people in US prisons and jails today, a per capita total that beats the world. Politicians of both parties wag their fingers in multiple directions. But as Michelle Alexander points out, if the US prison population were rolled back to say, only 1 million, the level it was about 1980, this would mean one million jobs, as contractors, sheriffs, cops, bailiffs, judges and functionaries of all kinds would have to go out and find real jobs.
- No minimum wage increases for you, no right to form a union, no right to negotiate or strike if you already have a union, and no enforcement or reform of existing labor laws. Again, Republicans have always opposed minimum wage laws. Obama promised to boost the minimum wage his first two years in office, while he still had majorities in the House and Senate. But he didn’t do this, or pass legislation beefing up the right to organize unions, which has been eroded under Democrat and Republican administrations alike.
- No Medicare For All. Forget about it eliminating the Medicare age requirement so that all Americans would qualify.. Republicans never wanted Medicare even for seniors, let alone everybody. Six or seven years ago Illinois State Senator Obama was telling audiences that if they elected Democrats to Congress, the Senate and the White House, they’d get single payer health care. But once in office he excluded Medicare for All from the proposals on the table, and enacted a national version of Massachusetts RomneyCare, requiring everybody to purchase private health insurance or be penalized.
- Immigrants must be jailed and deported in record numbers. To be really fair, one should note that on this issue Republicans talk a mean game about sending them all back and jailing tens or hundreds of thousands along the way. But only President Obama has walked the walk, deporting over a million immigrants in his term in office, often with little or no due process and after housing many for months in atrocious privatized immigration prisons.
- Of course there really ARE such things as “clean coal” and “safe nuclear energy”. Again these are things Republicans have always pretended to believe. At the 2008 Democratic convention Democrat Barack Obama joined them, declaring he intended to be the president of “clean coal and safe nuclear energy.” Obama is building a wave of 33 nuclear plants across the country, the first two in mostly black and poor communities of Georgia and South Carolina where leaky existing nukes are causing cancer epidemics. The people know these things are myths. But Republican and Democratic candidates for office, all the way down to state and county officials seem not to.
- The FCC should not and must not regulate telecoms to ensure that poor and rural communities have access to internet, or to guarantee network neutrality. Republicans have always been in favor of digital redlining, against network neutrality. Barack Obama claimed on the campaign trail he’d take a back seat to nobody in guaranteeing network neutrality. But he appointed as FCC chair a man who helped write the infamous Telecommunications Act of 1995, which gave away the government-built internet backbone to a handful of immensely powerful telecoms like AT&T and Comcast, and flatly reversed himself on network neutrality. The Department of Justice was forced to stop the ATT-T-Mobile merger by a storm of public outrage, but approved the Comcast-NBC deal.
- Oil and energy companies, and other mega-polluters must be freed to drill offshore almost everywhere, and permitted to poison land and watersheds with fracking to achieve “energy independence”. The Republicans say “drill baby drill” but it seems only Democrats can chill out enough supposed “environmentalists” to make this happen. Obama campaigned on restricting offshore drilling four years ago, and reversed himself just before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf. The White House cooperated with BP in lying to the public about the extent of the disaster and has shielded BO from paying anything like the value of actual damages incurred to livelihoods, human lives and the environment.
- US Presidents can kidnap citizens of their own or any nation on earth from anyplace on the planet for torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial or murder them and neighboring family and bystanders at will. To be perfectly fair, there are distinctions between Republicans and Democrats here that don’t amount to differences. Republicans Cheney and Bush got their lawyers to say these things were OK and did them. Democrat Obama got Congress to enact “laws” giving these acts a veneer of fake legality, something a Republican probably could not have done.
- Africa should be militarized, destabilized, plundered and where necessary, invaded by proxy armies like those of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi or Kenya, or directly by Western air and ground forces, as in Libya. President Georgia Bush announced the formation of AFRICOM, the US military command for the continent which has officially swallowed all US civilian diplomatic presence. But only a black US president, even under the cover of “humanitarian war” could have invaded an African nation and openly dispatched special forces to Central Africa.
- Palestinians should be occupied, dispossessed and ignored. Iran should be starved and threatened from all sides. Cuba should be embargoed, and Americans prohibited from going there to see what its people have done in a half century free of Yankee rule. Black and brown babies and their parents, relatives and neighbors should be bombed with drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and similar places. The politicians and corporate commentators have a misleading name for this. They call it “foreign policy.” The realistic term for it is global empire.
Wisdom dictates that one should not fall for the illusion of “choice.” Especially when two political rivals competing against each other are the same in more than just one way. In this case, Obama and Romney are identical in fifteen major policies.