DOMINIC BNONN TENNANT SAID:
In fairness, Jesus' ministry was not political. If it had been, he would presumably have done a great deal differently. A spiritual ministry will tend to spiritual needs; necessarily at the detriment of the kinds of short-term needs which are the domain of politics. A political ministry would presumably tend to those short-term needs, at the expense of long-term spiritual needs. So I'm not sure how much we can infer from the gospels about Jesus' stance as a hypothetical political candidate.
Except that my post was directed at evangelicals who presume to take a WWJD approach to justify their views on universal healthcare, amnesty, environmentalism, foreign aid, &c. If you want to say that we can’t extrapolate from the example of Jesus, then that undercuts their religious appeal.
I'd also add that, as a non-American, the US political system strikes me as a truly bizarre monstrosity. Americans seem to think that Democrat or Republican are basically the only two political views a man can take; and never the twain shall meet. And I'm no political expert, but from where I'm standing in a country with a spectrum of political parties ranging from strong socialist to the other extreme, Democrats and Republicans look pretty similar. Both right wing. One just slightly further left than the other.
i) To my knowledge, New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy, and in parliamentary systems, from what I’ve read, a candidate can’t run directly for the top office (prime minister), unlike a presidential system, where anyone can run for president (or national or statewide office). Rather, the prime minister is “elected” by the ruling party. In that respect, candidates are even more beholden to the party line (pun intended) in parliamentary systems than they are in presidential systems. But perhaps New Zealand is different.
ii) From what I’ve read, New Zealand has a national population about half the size of NYC, and less than half the size of LA county.
Obviously, in a continental nation the size of the US, political movements must affiliate around large voting blocs to compete on a national stage. It’s a blunt instrument. So the dominant political players aren’t going to mirror the finely-shaded ideological continuum of a country with a fraction of the total population.
iii) In a presidential system like ours, just about anyone of any political stripe (from far right to far left) can run as a Democrat or Republican in the primaries (for mayor, governor, senator, congressman, president, state attorney general). It’s not the two-party system that’s weeding out ideological diversity, but primary voters. They have a roster of candidates to choose from, even among Democrats and Republicans. And they can also vote for third-party candidates.
iv) I don’t see how you can rationally treat the Democrat party and Republican party as near equivalents. Just consider the types of voters who comprise their respective constituencies:
The Republican party caters to hawks, businessmen, libertarians, gun-owners, prolifers, conservative Christians, law-and-order types, &c.
By contrast, the Democrat party caters to deviants, peaceniks, sob sisters, global warmists, abortionists, atheists, euthanasiasts, public-sector employees, selected minorities, &c.