The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
The Gray Lady Confirms Blue Civil War

You know the blue model is in serious trouble when even New York Times writers turn against it. Yesterday dyed-in-the-wool Democrat Thomas Edsall responded to Via Meadia‘s take on blue model collapse. In his response he struggles mightily with the bluer angels of his nature, calling our take “apocalyptic,” but in the end admits that 20th-century liberalism is in serious trouble:

Dozens of city and state public employee pension plans are on the verge of bankruptcy—or are actually bankrupt—from Rhode Island to California; in 2010, a survey of 126 state and local plans showed assets of $2.7 trillion and liabilities of $3.5 trillion, an $800 billion shortfall. The national debt exceeds $16 trillion.

The result is that the different power blocks that make up the Democratic base are trampling each other in a rush to grab the last rents of the dying blue system:

In cities from Los Angeles to Chicago to Houston, African-Americans are competing with Hispanics and others for government jobs, good schools, good neighborhoods, political power and basic resources.

Twentieth-century liberalism is a victim of its own success: it gave us longer and more prosperous lives, in turn putting tremendous pressure on social services and pensions. The result is the fragmenting coalition Edsall points to. Though he places part of the blame for the blue civil war on Republican-backed austerity measures, Edsall admits that demographic shifts and outmoded ways of delivering social services also played a role.

The reality of blue model decline is so obvious that nobody can ignore it any longer.

Published on January 18, 2013 9:00 am