Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Some Poli Sci For You

Here's an interesting take on what ails our politics.

Julia Azari basically points out that the old party structure has gone - I would argue that it has mostly flipped.  It used to be that the Democratic party was a mess, Will Rogers quipped: "I'm not a member of an organized political party; I'm a Democrat."  Today, that appellation applies to the Republicans.  They have always been the more disciplined party, but as they have abandoned the Suburban professional for the Exurban Tea Partier they have lost their discipline.

For all the caterwauling over Super Delegates, the Democratic party largely decided along historical norms, while there was some deadenders at the convention, it ran as it should.  Azari's article suffers a little from "both sides" but it's overall accurate when it comes to partisanship.

In the 19th century, partisanship was just as high (even if it was less ideological) but party structures were stronger.  The reason partisanship was high was because parties could reward their supporters with tangible benefits.

Today, the benefits a party can bring to its constituencies are largely negative.  No more taxes.  No more deportations. Ideally, the parties should be able to bring tangible benefits to its constituents just as legislators used to be able to bring benefits to their constituents.  Now, neither can.

So Republicans and Democrats wind up hating their own party elites almost as much as they hate the other side, though that is incredibly more true of Republicans.

What a mess.

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