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Political Decay
Nihilistic Partisanship
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  • qet

    This mythology of political parties is just that. The Republican Party is a business. A for-profit business. Just as is the Democrat Party. The Party exists to perpetuate itself, preferably as the majority Party in both houses of Congress. Nothing is more important than that. Nothing. The GOP is “lining up” with Trump because it wants and expects to remain the majority Party in Congress, and exploiting that majority position will be much easier with a co-operative President. It really is just that simple. All of the hoopla in the media about the Trump base and the Alt-Right and Trump is no conservative blah blah blah is just that–hoopla.

  • FluffyFooFoo

    Oh no… D.C. political machines are having difficulty running their machines. The horror!

  • FriendlyGoat

    This election is the opportunity for a huge majority of women, especially those more educated, to declare decisively that the GOP platform is bullsh*t—–and Donald Trump is just the man to help them find that clear vision.

    • seattleoutcast

      Another fine example of Trump derangement syndrome. You might want to wipe that spittle from your lips.

    • Angel Martin

      Oh noes ! Trump leads Clinton among white women 41 percent to 40.

      • FriendlyGoat

        It’s June. Besides, white women are not the only women. We’re not even absolutely certain right now that Clinton is the Dem nominee. (Pretty sure, yes, but we have some events to go before November.)

        • Jim__L

          Events, possibly including a well-deserved indictment for Hillary.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Some people bet on horses. Some people bet on baseball. Some people bet red or black on the roulette wheel. I bet on a moderate majority of American women having more sense than you think they do.

          • Jim__L

            One wonders if that’s why the FBI recommendations haven’t come down yet — timing them for sometime after the convention (this could perhaps even be the “October surprise”) would make sense from a political operator’s point of view.

            That said — I don’t really dislike Bernie as much as I dislike Hillary. He at least gets it, that there’s something wrong. His solutions are totally wacky, but at least he gets it.

    • Tom

      Say what you will about bovine excrement, it’s actually useful.

      Unlike the Democratic platform.

      • FriendlyGoat

        And that raises the questions of useful by whom and for what?

        • Jim__L

          It helps roses grow.

          But only with individual initiative and effort. =)

  • Andrew Allison


    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      Agreed, this article is Clearly written by a leftist. The problem for some time has been the huge disconnect between the Republican Voters and the Republican officeholders. With each cycle the politicians have lied to get into office and then once there have voted to do the exact opposite of what they just promised. The level of Rage this has built up hasn’t been seen in living memory. The Republican Primary demonstrated this with 70% of the voters, voting for candidates outside of the lying establishment. The reason why Ryan just endorsed Trump after dragging his feet, is because he is now faced with a surging primary opponent in Paul Nehlen. That has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, and the possibility that Trump would endorsed his opponent was likely scaring him. It should be noted that the fall of Boehner and the rise of Ryan to the Speakership, didn’t improve the approval rating of the Republican Leadership.

      • Andrew Allison

        The political establishments of both major parties are deeply corrupt and completely out of touch with the people. Contra Willick ,the GOP voters have chosen a candidate while the Dems are still trying to decide between an unindicted felon and a septuagenarian socialist.

  • jimri

    When you say Trump “doesn’t have an institutional connection to the party” but he has all of the support of the members (and many others) maybe you are missing the point about Trump. When you have a bit more perspective from age and experience perhaps this will be a bit less baffling to you. Another sophomore political thesis.

    • MattEMarlin

      Couldn’t respond to your eagle comment. It appears John Sevens articles are now untouchable just like chartock

  • seattleoutcast

    This election seems to be following the lines of Howe’s “Fourth Turning.” In a crisis era, nobody knows the answers to the problems currently addressing us. As we learn that the solutions created 80 years ago will continue to fail (The Blue Model), we will need to create new institutions to handle the great changes taking place. Trump is one who is at least addressing the new problems, unlike Hillary or many in the Republican party. Cruz would have been better, for at least he believed Federalism was the best answer to our problems.

    There will of course be people who cling to the old model and cry out in shrill tones that they are being abandoned, but the truth is, they are the ones who have milked the old system into decrepitude.

    • Jim__L

      I think that ultimately, people will miss the churches, and blame ACLU types for destroying what they did not understand.

  • Jim__L

    The cursus honorum of the GOP, controlled by people tainted by Ivy League indoctrination, actively discouraged people from paying too much attention to the real concerns of the base. That’s how we got here.

    The fact that these moral-foundation-free “nihilists” are standing to one side as an opportunist — far more clever than they — brings those concerns to the fore is actually a healthy thing.

  • ljgude

    This article reminds me of the old joke about the religious man caught in a flood who turns away a boat a canoe and a helicopter that offer to rescue him saying that the deity will provide. When he drowns and goes to heaven and he reproaches his Lord for failing to rescue him it is pointed out that a boat, a canoe and a helicopter were sent. There is nothing mysterious going on here except the failure in 2010, 2012 and 2014 for the Republican Party to fulfill its most basic function of an out of office political party – act as an opposition.

    • dwk67

      Problem is, when the opposition party has positioned itself to be Santa Claus to a nation of children, it’s extremely difficult to create a plausible alternative that the children will actually consider choosing over old Saint Nick. What child chooses discipline and deferred gratification over a plethora of unearned rewards on offer for the mere price of the time it takes to vote. We offer the voters childish choices for long enough and we create a nation of children who will predictably reject the adult choices of responsibility and fiscal prudence….THIS is the problem we face today….

      • circleglider

        Problem is, when the opposition party both parties have positioned themselves to be Santa Claus to a nation of children, it’s extremely difficult to create a plausible alternative that the children will actually consider choosing over old Saint Nick.

        Fixed it for you.

  • Episteme

    The current political-party transitions going on strikes me as heavily a matter of a one-two punch of media revolutions in recent decades: First, deregulation of radio and television (including end of “the fairness doctrine”) alongside the explosion of cable news and talk radio; secondly, the spread of the internet. The first allowed for both parties (although I’ll get to in a moment why this matters especially for the Republicans) and their partisans to spread their own channels of information at all times and across the country. Instead of each region having their own local machines and local dynamics (sourced by local radio and local UHF), there became one nearly-unifrom conservative Republican and progressive-Democratic voice dominating and amalgamating local variations. As that became second nature, new forms of communication allowed new widespread co-partisans to communicate over the Internet (through the same sort of means we’re discussing this now), reinforcing their shared beliefs instead of being forced to cooperate with whatever local quasi-partisans existed. Thus we see a build-up, especially on the Right, of a sort of a revanchism in the Tea Parties and other decentralized movements.

    Where this hits the Republican party harder than the Democratic party is in the historic nature of the two. The Democrats have always, from the days of Jackson, been a party of the machine bringing together often-disparate identity groups for combined power (whether it’s was slaveholders and artisans, immigrants and anti-Catholics, or technocrats and urban minorities); the conflicts within the Democratic party have historically been about added new groups to that cloud of partisans or shuffling who holds the reigns. By comparison, the Republican party has been historically a coalition of ideologies working, however loosely, toward a common goal (from the days of the teaming of Liberal Republicans and Radical Republicans in the late Civil War and early Reconstruction, to the Progressive and Conservative wings that lasted through the New Deal). The now-classic “fusionist” and “three-legged stool” models of the party are definitive notions of how, broadly within modern American conservatism, the postwar Republican party maintained that coalition in the same fashion. However, as the demands of nationwide ‘purity’ would overtake coalition (the term RINO is humorous to me, since any Republican literally is a Republican In Name Only, with common political goals building a coalition out related-but-disparate conservative ideologies) and groups could claim themselves to be “the base,” you ended with effectively something more like a Democratic model under the aegis of the Republican model.

    If we say the exact same behavior from “true conservatives” telling people to “get on the Trump Train” from the Left (with the proper ‘progressive’ words substituted), it would seem perfectly natural. Not because those supporters are leftists or because Trump is somehow a Democrats, but because there’s been a change – via these means of media and communication – to create an identity-based system of Total Democracy on the Right. The reason it seems so easy to point that out is because it already happened on the Left, during the Bush years when the Democrats were out of power and a careful observer could watch young activists and progressive academics, with the new tools of MSNBC and, effectively have a putsch on the last of the New Left and those New Democrats who wouldn’t sell out to the new power players (hence one of the reasons why basically everyone in the Democratic party is in their sixties and seventies or in their twenties – at least one entire generation of rising center-left figures were basically politically eradicated under the cover of war protests). That’s how they were ready to spring Barack Obama and his social media campaign into action so readily in 2008. The irony is that, for all the arguments on the Right, it was Donald Trump (master of reality television) who had learned the lessons of the new campaigning and jumped into the 2016 void as the Right was moving into the conflict space that the Left had been a decade prior.

  • circleglider

    Why not just call it what it is: the fetishization of democracy.

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