Saturday, October 11, 2014

How to Save the Democratic Party From Itself

Democrats may be glum now, but Republicans’ extremism has presented them with an historic opportunity to build a lasting majority—and make America work again.

October 10, 2014

For all the roller coaster drama of the battle to control the Senate, the midterm elections won’t really change much. No matter which party ends up with a majority, Americans will still wake up on Nov. 5 to a seemingly immutable stalemate in Washington. But pragmatic progressives should take heart. Over the next two years they have an historic opportunity: to build a broad center-left majority that can break the paralyzing grip of polarization and get America moving forward again.

Not so long ago, U.S. politicians who robotically toed the party line were considered shameless hacks. And ideologues were seen as wingnuts—self-righteous cranks unable to cope with life’s complexities. Today, such people dominate our national politics. How are they doing? If the measure is simplifying and sharpening dueling political narratives, they are doing a fine job. If it is governing, they are failing miserably.

The more polarized our politics, it seems, the less productive our government. In this sense, polarization serves conservative rather than progressive ends. If you hate government, you probably don’t mind that Washington has degenerated into Fight Club. Conservatives come to fight liberal schemes to enlarge government; liberals come to fight conservative schemes to succor the rich and screw everyone else. And the fight is what matters, not getting things done, because the fight is how you raise money, energize supporters and get media attention. Compared with the give and take of governing, partisan combat is easy, because you never have to think independently, face inconvenient facts or accomplish anything more than keep the other side down. Plus, you get to pose as a paragon of deep conviction.

(More here.)


Blogger Tom Koch said...

I think we would all be better off if we heeded out first President's warning on party politics.

3:58 PM  

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