The American political spectrum is almost always discussed in strangely confused terms, as a struggle between liberals and conservatives over a handful of highly charged cultural issues, such as abortion or gun ownership. However, this portrayal does far more to conceal than to reveal the basic realities of American political life.
Greater clarity is only achieved when it is clearly understood that there is just one primary political axis, that of elitism versus populism. Once that understanding has been achieved, the bigger picture comes into sharper focus far more readily.
Elitism is the view that society should be organized for the maximum benefit of a tiny, but highly privileged, minority. Populism is the view that society should be organized so as to achieve the greatest good of the greatest number.
Whether "liberal", "conservative", or "independent", nearly all Americans are populists, as elitist views are generally confined to a handful of wealthy businessmen and bankers. But to cast the political spectrum in this light would immediately reveal that America has become a country that has almost entirely betrayed its democratic and populist roots in order to benefit the tiny handful - and that this has been carefully concealed by emphasizing instead emotionally charged, divide-and-conquer wedge issues.
In the diagram above, various political means are organized along the left, while various economic means are organized along the right. Means of both kinds that favor elitism are found in the upper half of the diagram, while means that favor populism are found in the lower half.
The Editor / Everything Progressive