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Elliott Morss has spent most of his career teaching and working as an economic consultant to developing countries on issues of trade, finance, and environmental preservation.

Dr. Morss received a B.A. from Williams College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in political economy from The Johns Hopkins ... more

The Democratic and Republican Parties: A Recasting Is Underway

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2017 11:44 AM EDT

Elliott R. Morss                              ©All Rights Reserved

Introduction

As long as I can remember, the Republican Party reflected the interests of the wealthy, wanted small government and promoted trickle-down to take care of the rest. The Democratic Party said trickle-down did not work. It supported the working class/poorer groups and larger government. But history indicates tells us party realignments occur regularly. For example, southern Democrats became Republicans following the enactment of the Civil Rights legislation. And most recently, many Democrats, feeling the party had let them down, took a chance and voted for Trump. In what follows, I speculate on how all this will play out.

Trump Is Not a Republican

Trump has no party allegiance. Unlike members of the Republican Party, Trump cares about maintaining the confidence of the poorly educated, low income Democratic voters who switched over to vote for him. The interests of these people are antithetical to those of traditional Republicans and there is no apparent way to reconcile the differences. The first test of this came on the health care bill. Predictably, the Republicans wanted to reduce costs by reducing the numbers covered and what the insurance paid for. Trump said the Republican bill was “mean.”  Trump wanted a health care bill passed so he could claim a victory but not one that represented traditional Republican interests.

One other issue “muddies” the water further. Trump is not a “details” person. But with the exception of his State and Defense Secretaries, his Cabinet appointments – the “details” people - are traditional Republicans. This group, along with his Vice President, has little compassion for Trump’s relatively uneducated supporters. The result: Trump’s “details” people, along with the Republican leaders in Congress, keep coming up with programs and policies that appeal to other Republicans. And in what follows, I look at upcoming Trump initiatives. In all likelihood, these initiatives will make the disconnect with the Republican Party even more apparent.

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