barry, you make a good point in that there is little difference today between mainstream republicans and mainstream democrats; very few people are willing to speak the truth and say 'The free market is a great beast; capitalism is responsible for working class penury; health care and housing are rights; communism isn't so bad; and Cuba has it righjt on many, many different questions."
I DO think that in certain contexts, times and places, whether a Deomcrat or a Republican would be elected makes a BIG difference. Democrats would often result in capitalism exploiting workers in America and other capitalist countries, while Republicans often make it their goal to help capitalism in its bid to take over the world.
My main problem with Ronald Reagan isn't that he caused untold suffering for homeless people and teh working poor in America. We (collectively) voted for him, so if he screwed up Americam, he have only ourselves to blame. The reason I believe he should be on a gallows right now is because he wasn't satisfied with capitalism corrupting America. HE forced the hand of capitalism onto Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, resulting the deliberate murder of over 350,000 innocent civilians.
Think of this, Barry. In 1980, REagan carried Massachusetts over Carter by a tiny margin. His margin of victory was less than the numebr of votes that went to the Socialist Worker's Party, a democratic socialist, Castroist organization. Now, I'm all for the SWP. I favored them last election. I'll probably vote for them thsi time around, or maybe the WWP or some other Communist faction.
But think of this. If all those Massachusetts voters who voted SWP in 1980 had switched their votes to Jimmy Carter, he would have carried teh state. If that ahd happened in a few more states, then he would have won teh election. What do you think the result woudl be? Well, considering that Carter aided the Sandinistas initially, and considering that he referred to El Salvador as "the most bloody government in the hemisphere", I think the answer is clear. Had Carter been elected in 1980, both Managua and San Salvador today would be in the hands of socialist people's democracies- and quite possibly Guatemala too. The Guatemalan Army of the Poor almost took over the country at one point. Had they not had American money and weapons by their side, as well as American Green Beret soldiers (so much for Frenchy's argument about 'proxy armies'), the dictators would have lost, and Guatemala would probably be a people's democracy today.
You may not think it makes much difference to the peopel of the US whether Carter or REagan got elected in 1980. But I can assure you it made a big difference to the people of Managua and Guatemala.