The Party Is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted - Mike Lofgren So this is just scary. And sad that our political system has gotten to the point where we are now. We don't have elected officials. We have people bought and paid for by American corporations. Or big wigs. Who are usually associated with those corporations. OR super religious people whose beliefs don't seem to have evolved with the rest of the nation, who have huge audiences of their own, who want to keep the status quo. And the people lifted up by these influential organizations are willing to say or do whatever they need to in order to keep their power.

That's definitely a blanket statement and I think it applies mostly to a minority in the parties, but they are the most influential and outspoken members of the parties. In order to try to keep some optimism, I have to believe there are people -- maybe not the elected members themselves, but on the payroll -- who are there to really make a GOOD difference. They're not looking for accolades or power, they just see a problem and want to try to help fix it.

But even the whole process seems so freaking screwed up. When a defense bill can have a line item about abortion included, there's an issue. Two freaking polar opposite issues, but in order to pass it, someone made a concession that somehow tied defense to abortion. That kind of thing should be outlawed. As should filibustering. And redistricting.

Another thing I'd *really* love to see is a viable third party. I find it highly hypocritical that there are international Democratic and Republican organizations that cry foul when other countries' democratic elections appear to squeeze out a party's representation, but look what happened to Paul Rand at one of the debates. They would not let him in. The man was running for president, but because he wasn't Republican or Democrat, he was not welcome to debate them. It just seems like anymore I'm choosing the one I dislike least or will at least not degrade my comfort level rather than one I feel passionate will make my life better. Nobody represents ME anymore.

So anyway, the author had a lot of interesting topics and anecdotes. While the Republican party got slammed (that's what he knew best), it's not like he left the Democrats spotless. They have their hands dirty as well. And, believe it or not, he believes real change will happen with the Mellinials, when the baby boomers pass. The baby boomers still have such socially conservative values, and, because of their size, they are draining the "entitlement programs" they hold so dear.

It was definitely food for thought. Lots of great information. And lots to make me scared of the immediate future, especially if the parties can't figure out how to get along and compromise.

I think I'm going to have to buy this book in DTB form. There was a lot of interesting information, and I'd like to just flip through a book and read as opposed to trying to find the right passage in audio.