The Parties Don’t Care About You
The Republican and Democratic parties aren’t interested in you, the voter. They don’t care if you’re happy or care what you think; they want you to continue to vote for the party candidate and nothing more. The two parties are private organizations which are run like a business and are not a part of government. In fact, if every member of congress were to abandon their party today, nothing would change at the government level. Things would continue on exactly as they were yesterday and the only entities that would be damaged would be the parties themselves.
The respective parties will do what is necessary to ensure their own success and their number one priority is to keep the stakeholders happy. The stakeholders in question are the individuals and businesses that contribute millions of dollars, not the people that contribute $50 here and there. You, as the voter, aren’t nearly as important as those that keep the party solvent. The party won’t treat you with complete disdain lest they alienate all of you, but they really aren’t interested in your opinion. They just want your vote.
Before going any further, a little bit of historical light should be shed on the parties and where they came from. First off, there is nothing in the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, or in the Bill of Rights that addresses parties, how the parties should be managed, or how the parties should hold primary elections for candidates. In fact, the first historical reference to parties is in George Washington's farewell address, in which he warned us not to form them. There are Constitutional rules for general elections, but the parties make up their own rules for internal (i.e. primary) elections, just like any other business. Both parties have been around for a very long time and have dominated the political landscape in America. It may seem like they are a part of government since they get elected to run it, but what many mistake as legally binding actions, are actually nothing more than tradition.
The parties aren’t businesses in the truest sense of the word, as they don’t register as an LLC, corporation, or non-profit 501(c)4 or 501(c)3. They do however have to register with the Federal Election Commission by filing a FEC Form 1 and adhering to federal election rules. As mentioned before though, the party itself comes up with its own rules for primaries, who it will nominate as a candidate to represent the party in general elections, and how the candidate will be chosen. It is not required of the party to nominate the candidate most popular with the voters. They can nominate whoever they want in spite of the popular sentiment if they so desire.
Imagine for a moment that America has a Walmart party and a Target party that function the exact same way as the Walmart Corporation and Target Corporation. The only difference is this: they aren’t competing for your dollars, they are competing for your votes...that and they run the country. Largely though, your opinion will still be irrelevant and both will conduct business with profit and stakeholder investment as their priorities.
Both Walmart and Target are major players in the market place and both sell very similar things – consumer goods. Both businesses are interested in maximizing profit and keeping their stakeholders happy (shareholders, investors, etc.). They aren’t necessarily interested in the opinion of their customers when it comes to running the business or choosing the CEO. With regard to the customer, they are merely interested in you spending your money in their stores, rather than their competition’s stores.
If Walmart, for instance, does something that causes a few customers to say “I’m never shopping there again”, Walmart won’t even notice the loss of business. If Walmart did something to cause millions of people to say that, they would take notice and likely do what was necessary to sooth their customers. However, if Walmart did something to cause a few major shareholders to sell their stock (like electing an unfavorable CEO), that would cause far more immediate and destructive consequences than if a few, or even numerous unhappy customers walked away.
If you the customer think Walmart’s rules are unfair, complaining isn’t going to change anything. Your only real options are to find a way to convince millions of people to stop shopping at Walmart or become one of Walmart’s stakeholders and try to change the way the business rules are written. That or you could start shopping at Target, but you’ll soon realize that Target is run very similarly to Walmart and you’ll be right back to your original choices of complaining, organizing a massive boycott, or becoming a stakeholder and working to change the business rules. Maybe you could take your business to the mom and pop corner store instead. It’ll make you feel better, but it won’t mean that mom and pop are suddenly competitive with Walmart and Target.
You can't be mad at the business for adopting or changing its own rules to suit its own priorities, or using those internal rules to favor a particular candidate or outcome. Don’t take it personally as it is just business. You should, however, always be cognizant of the fact that these parties are run like businesses and that they can and will make up their own rules to suit the long term success of the party. Your happiness as a customer is not a prerequisite of their success.
You do have options as a voter, although none of them will necessarily be fruitful:
- Complain loudly – It’s an option, but you might as well yell at the clouds.
- Start your own party – Definitely possible, but you’ll be “mom and pop” competing with Walmart and Target.
- Don’t vote – The Republican and Democratic parties don’t care. They will still run the country without you.
- Vote 3rd party – This could work if you can convince millions of your fellow Americans to join you. You still have to deal with a private party though.
- Get involved with the party of your choice and work to improve it – This is arguably the most effective option, but it also takes the most work and dedication. If you can’t beat them, join them…then fix them.
If you support a candidate that the party doesn’t, it won’t matter how mad you get at the party, especially if you’re still going to vote for the party’s candidate anyway. Getting upset and complaining that your voice isn’t being heard won’t change anything. You’ll still be mad, your opinion will continue to be ignored, and the party will continue to be successful.
You are, after all, voting for them regardless of how they treat you.