The graph on the Political Compass web site, which analyzes the positions on the political compass of the various candidates for President in the primary elections, demonstrates why many many Americans like myself feel so disenfranchised by the current political process and the “choice” it has given them. Every single candidate of significance in both parties falls into the upper right hand quadrant: Authoritarian/Right – the Democrats just fall closer to the lower left-hand corner of that quadrant, the Republicans, the upper right hand corner.
Me? I fall into the extreme lower left-hand corner of the lower left quadrant: Left/Libertarian… my views on social and economic issues are almost diametrically opposite that of every single candidate. And exactly in the same quadrant as my political party: the Green Party (globally and in the U.S.)… although that party is much closer to the center than I am, amusingly enough.
Kucinich and Gravel, both in the upper right hand corner of the lower left quadrant, Left/Libertarian, are the closest candidates to my preferences. You can look at the 2004 Election diagram, which shows that the two closest candidates to my position (in the same region as Kucinich) were David Cobb and Ralph Nader (no surprise). John Kerry and GWB both, of course, fall into the lower left hand and upper right hand corner of the Authoritarian/Right quadrant (also no surprise).
… and guess where Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the Dali Lama all fall? Desmond Tutu. Michael Moore. Eric Schlosser (“Fast Food Nation”)? Just to name a few folks. You guessed it: the lower left hand quadrant. The first three are sourced from the Analysis page (the site strongly recommends that you take their test before reading that page), the last three are sourced from the site’s Libertarian Left thinkers page. You might also want to take a look at who the guiding intellectual lights of the Authoritarian Right (and thus the American political mainstream) are. Take a look at those two pages, and tell me which one has more books on your reading list. 🙂
Where do you fall on the Political Compass? Which individuals would you rather be associated with? Do you feel “represented”? Do you feel that the Democratic Party, in the form of Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, folks that in other areas of the world would be described as “moderate conservatives”, truly represents YOUR political beliefs?
Look at where the Labour Party in Britain has gone over the past three decades (middle of lower left hand quadrant to middle of upper right hand quadrant)… is there any doubt that a graph of the Democratic Party in this country would show the same pattern?
Dave wants to drag the Democratic Party back to Left/Libertarian quadrant it occupied thirty years ago. Me, I think: “Why spend the effort to do that, when there’s already a party that truly represents my views?” We have a difference of opinion on tactics. I’m curious as to which side of the discussion the readers of this blog fall on.
Of course, as the site mentions, if we had a rational political system, with proportional representation, then this entire discussion would be unnecessary. Dave and I would happily both be members of the Green Party of the United States (and so would vast numbers of other people), and we’d be working in coalition with the Democrats occupying the “moderate conservative” lower left hand corner of the Authoritarian/Right to frustrate the efforts of the Republican party to destroy everything we hold dear.
P.S. I’m going to write them and ask that they include Cynthia McKinney, one of the leading candidates for the Green Party nomination, on the primary page. I don’t think there’s enough information available for him to easily make an analysis of the other candidates’ positions, although I’m sure they’ll all fall into the same general region (based on what I heard today when I attended the Green Party Presidential Candidates debate – soon to be available on the KPFA web site).