The Democrats: Beyond Symptoms

Kevin Phillips ("Can the Democrats Get Their Act Together? Don't Bet On It," Opinion, Aug. 4) is correct when he suggests that the Democrats have failed to become aroused by America's fiscal deterioration because they are "second-echelon collaborators in a bipartisan economic con job." But he leaves this criticism too quickly. The fact is that both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for creating the black hole into which America's financial institutions have fallen. The Democrats in Congress are responsible for the Reagan legacy not only because of their collaboration, but also their complacency and silence.

Unfortunately, Phillips is too busy laying odds on whether the Democrats can find a 1992 presidential candidate to suggest any solutions to the numerous domestic problems he outlines. Perhaps the answer is the creation of smaller congressional districts, which would make it easier for the public to hold their elected representatives accountable. Or maybe it's the enactment of campaign finance reform, which would help decrease the influence of business and special-interest groups. Or maybe the answer is a new American political party that could better represent the interests of the common person.

The Democratic Party's inability to find a presidential candidate for 1992 is only one symptom of a deep sickness that has invaded American politics. Whatever the solution, it's clear that we need to begin looking beyond such symptoms and focus instead on long-term solutions that could heal our political system.

KIM ALEXANDER

Sacramento

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