Summary: Our political pundits focus on the “election as horse race” to conceal the relatively small policy differences between the two parties, and so sooth a somnolent public who might become restive if they understood the nature of the New America being constructed on the ruins of the Second Republic. Here are some articles to help us see more clearly. Second in a series. Also see the posters at the end of the post!
It looks simple, small, harmless.
- Some useful articles describing our one-party system
- An important lesson, but we are blind and can’t see it
- America can be seen more clearly from abroad
- Posts in this series about the results of Campaign 2012
- Seeing our situation in pictures instead of words
(1) Useful articles describing our one-party system
This list will be updated. These are the useful articles as of 9am EST. As described in the previous post, most of the discussion is either about political horse races (past and future), or rants (often quite delusional) about the glories of our side and the evils of the others. Descriptions of our actual condition create cognitive dissonance, and (worse) scare the sheep.
The Democratic Party won the election by moving decisively to the right, co-opting many of the GOP’s policies (especially those most loved by the 1%). Obama retained his liberal gloss by advocating social reforms of little interest to the 1%. Romney failed to counter this with a move to the center (after his win in the primaries), instead attempting to ignore Obama’s actual policies and portray him as Lenin. This failed, allowing Obama to build on his strength on the Left (nowhere else to go) and capture a winning margin in the center. QED.
Please mention in the comments any articles you find useful.
- “America’s Increasingly Tribal Electorate“, Tom Jacobs, Pacific Standard, 1 November 2012 — “A political scientist explains the disconnect between our moderate policy views and our intense hatred for the other side.”
- “How the Republican party sabotaged itself: the real story of the 2012 election“, Michael Cohen, Guardian, 5 November 2012 — “As America’s demographic facts shifted in favour of Democrats, the GOP chose instead to paint itself into an ideological corner”
- “How Conservative Media Lost to the MSM and Failed the Rank and File“, Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 7 November 2012
- “Obama and progressives: what will liberals do with their big election victory?“, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, 7 November 2012 — “With fights over social security, Medicare, ongoing war, and other key progressive priorities looming, what will they do with their new power?”
- Maps of the 2012 US presidential election results — Worth a look; they say a lot.
(2) The most important lesson, but we are blind and cannot see it
“American politics go tribal“, Pacific Standard, 1 November 2012 — “A political scientist explains the disconnect between our moderate policy views and our intense hatred for the other side.” Excerpt:
Political scientist Lilliana Mason’s analysis is more subtle, and more disturbing. Her research suggests that, in terms of our attitudes towards issues, we are no more polarized than we were decades ago. But our emotions, and the behaviors they drive, have largely uncoupled from our actual analysis of the issues. Essentially, the Stony Brook University scholar argues, our identities have become increasingly intertwined with our political affiliation. As a result, we feel ever more certain that our party is right and the other is wrong—even in cases where their positions aren’t far apart.
Our attitude towards the opposing party has become, basically, tribal: We detest them simply because they’re the other side.
“The American public can hold remarkably moderate and constant issue positions, while nonetheless becoming progressively more biased, active and angry when it comes to politics,” she argues. “Even as we agree on most issues, we are becoming increasingly uncivil in our approach to politics.”
This touches one of the major themes of the FM website, as described in Polarization and hot rhetoric conceal two similar political parties. Will we ever notice?, October 2010. This reviews the political science data about changing political views (little polarization), and draws what might be the most important conclusion about our political condition today…