What is a Political Party?

There’s this constant obtuseness about how politics works, and it prompts a million words an hour on discussion boards, amounting to nothing. Let’s all grow up.

“The Republican Party” is a group of people who have banded together to get political power. To get political power, they use words tactically. One of the words they use is “conservative”. “Conservative” is a political philosophy.

A political party is not a church or a sewing club. It is not your family at the kitchen table. Don’t try to make it “represent your views”. A party is a group of people acting tactically together. That’s all.

To get the government to be whatever you think it should be, think about your philosophy, but use your vote, like all your other tangible assets, tactically.

Vote for whoever is 1. most likely to be given power 2. because of your vote and 3. use that power the most like you would. This is actually a fairly complex little piece of calculus – but it is entirely pragmatic.

All the rest is just what you do to make yourself feel good. “Joining” the Democratic Party” is, of itself, as meaningless as joining the GOP, feeling a part of the GOP, or trying to “change” a party.

Parties change the same way economies change – in response to real world changes, and by certain fairly explicable laws. Parties change in order to get 51% of the vote – of whatever the population happens to be at the moment. A political party is not an instrument to change the culture. It is simply an instrument to get the culture to delegate the power of the guns to these people with whom I have a transitory pact.

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