Section 1, duopoly consensus issues
The following are issues where the Democrats and Republicans are functionally in agreement.
1. Access for non-major party candidates. Ds & Rs cooperate to keep U.S. politics a two-party system.
2. Balanced budgets. Both Ds & Rs have demonstrated reckless fiscal policy.
3. Civil liberties. Ds & Rs cooperated to expand government's power to encroach on individual privacy and have only been half-hearted at resisting encroachment by business.
4. Education. We should expect more from public education, but education is just one more battlefield to play-out the struggle between D interest groups and R interest groups.
5. Gambling. Expanding gambling has allowed Ds & Rs to make a few politically connected people rich; citizens were rarely consulted about whether they wanted gambling to expand in their states and communities.
6. Good jobs. We measure all sorts of business statistics on the economy, why don't we measure the quality of jobs?
7. Immigration. Ds & Rs set immigration rates higher than the public wants.
8. Interethnic relations. Yes, the United States has inter-ethnic tensions. Yes, government should reduce tensions and increase access to opportunity. But if you listen to Ds & Rs, you'd think affirmative action is the only issue.
9. International financial institutions. If we're going to have these institutions they should be democratically accountable to the people affected by their decisions.
10. Israel. Ds & Rs are only permitted narrow criticism of the Israeli gov't. The United States needs to pursue its own interests, not allow itself to be used by the Israeli government.
11. Social Security. Ds & Rs have had decades to fix Social Security; the program should be on sound fiscal ground for as far as can be projected.
12. Taxation. The income tax has gone from being enormously popular to significantly unpopular. Ds & Rs love the idea of tinkering with the economy through the tax code or at least exchanging tax breaks for campaign contributions.
13. Universal health care. For different reasons both Ds & Rs oppose universal health care even though it makes good business sense and would be the morally correct thing to do.
14. "War on Drugs". Ds & Rs love the "War on Drugs", but what's the goal? By what measure is it working?
15. War powers. Ds & Rs have agreed to cede Congressional power to the President. D & R judges have upheld this arrangement. It's wrong.
Veterans. I have debated including this as an issue. Ds & Rs accept the status quo of inadequate services for veterans. Does this rise to the level of the other issues?
Energy policy. Last night I interviewed Dave Leip of Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections on Collective Interest. When I asked him for an issue where both the Ds & Rs were wrong he cited energy policy. I tend to agree with Dave, but I don't feel like I know enough about energy policy to write a chapter on it.