Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

Dad, Why Do We Keep Voting for the PP?

I fondly remembered the advertising campaign launched by Atlético de Madrid during the 2001-2002 season, the one where the child asks his father: «Dad, why are we Atlético fans?»

On December 20th, as I headed to the polling station, I asked myself why I continue voting for the Partido Popular. Before casting my vote, and feeling a bit concerned, I called my father for advice. He had always been a member of Reforma Democrática, a party led by Don Manuel Fraga. I then sought advice from an old schoolteacher who had always been a member of Unión del Pueblo Español.

I continued my inquiries, asking a good friend who had always supported Acción Democrática Española. I even asked the family doctor, who had always been with Democracia Social. Not satisfied yet, I spoke with my neighborhood baker, who had always held a membership card for Acción Regional. And an old trade unionist, who never stopped being part of Unión Social Popular. I even spoke with the parish priest of my village, a lifelong supporter of Unión Nacional Española.

The omnipotent power given to the president of the PP since 1989 has been eroding internal democracy. With all these conversations, I recalled the nuances and details that once constituted the Spanish center-right. Coalición Democrática, Partido Liberal, Partido Democrático Progresista, Renovación Española, and Partido Demócrata Popular were not just acronyms initially integrated into Alianza Popular—and later merged into Partido Popular—but they represented the real representation of the various groups and families that, since the first Spanish Constitution of 1812, formed the center-right family in Spain.

That alphabet soup was undoubtedly a strong and healthy ideological conglomerate, where each party had its own identity. This lasted until the PP’s refounding congress in January 1989. That congress allowed the PP to reach Moncloa, but the omnipotent power given to the president of the new party has been eroding the internal democracy required by any political organization, as demanded by Article 6 of our Constitution.

Many nights, I watch with healthy envy the electoral debates of the U.S. Republican Party as they search for their presidential candidate for November. Undoubtedly, it is not easy to reach an agreement within the party among people with ideologies as diverse as those represented by Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or Donald Trump. Each of them responds to the details and nuances of that center-right liberal spectrum in the United States.

Why can’t PP voters choose our leader like the Republicans in the United States? But why can’t PP voters choose our political leader as it is done in the United States? Can’t our ideological nuances—more or less conservative, more or less liberal, more or less Christian-democratic—be authentically and democratically reflected within the party? Do we need to endure forever the foolocracy represented by the PP leaders?

Do we need to attend PP congresses like the parties of the Communist Party of the USSR? Should we continue watching, impassively, as sycophants in chambers and town halls applaud the artificially imposed leader until their hands bleed? Does the sectarian oligarchy of state lawyers, the Soraya clique, the bodyguards of Marianismo have the right to indefinitely usurp our conservative or liberal ideology?

The answer to all my questions is no. But since I cannot freely choose the next candidate of my party for the general elections, since we see day after day how the organization disintegrates amidst passivity due to the serious suspicions of corruption, and since we have had to endure our own leader telling us that «if anyone wants to go to the liberal or conservative party, let them go»—and yet we are still here—we must be allowed to remember that many of us continue to firmly believe in a simple center-right electoral program. And that program can be summarized as: Rule of Law, unity of Spain, respect for private property, low tax pressure, a non-interventionist State, and protection of life.

I want to call on all people who agree with this brief program to demand internal democracy within the PP, for all of us to demand that the organization convene an extraordinary refounding congress, as it would be very sad to vote for the PP only out of fear of the extreme left. This way, I can explain to my son why I continue to vote for the Partido Popular.

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