You can hardly blame people for having a tough time telling the difference between the two major parties, what with their slavish devotion and ceaseless pandering to big-money interests. On the other hand, there are obvious distinctions. For starters one party is scary, the other scared.
Some other distinguishing features are caricatures. One is the party of government, the other the party of free markets. To the extent there is truth in that exaggerated simplification, both parties have their work cut out for them.
The latest poll by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center shows most state residents don't have much use for public officials. Two-thirds of respondents said they trust state officials "only some of the time." Two-thirds also said public officials "don't care much what people like me think."
Well over half of those polled believe that government is "run by a few big interests" looking out for themselves and agree with the statement, "People like me don't have any say about what the government does." When asked how many people running the state are crooked, only 7% said "none" and 28% answered "only a few," while 42% said "some" and almost one in five said "most" or "nearly all."
As disillusioned as Wisconsinites clearly are with politics and politicians, the UW poll shows even deeper misgivings with the suits in the corporate boardrooms. Asked where they place their faith when it comes to fixing the economy, 52% of respondents said they trust a "strong government" while 40% said "the free market."
Given the low regard people have for government and public officials these days, that's like saying if there has to be either a child molester or an ax murderer living next door, they'll take the child molester.