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!
- 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…
We see the real polarization all around us. Not in the small policy differences between the two major parties, but in the political rhetoric they use. Bush Jr was a fascist, probably a NAZI. Obama is a socialist Moslem pretending to be an American. This over-heated rhetoric serves an important purpose for party leaders. As differences narrow between the parties, policy differences are replaced by personalities spewing noise. It’s necessary to maintain party cohesion; the rank and file must believe the parties differ in some important ways. So a host of skilled communicators work to hide the grey political consensus of our elites, painting over this a facade – rival teams of good and bad guys. ”You are evil” replaces “Your policies are bad”.
How the America people react to this painful knowledge will determine much about the course of American history. We might shrug and things as they are (whining loudly). Or we might wake up and act.
(3) America can be seen more clearly from abroad
We watch our political parties fiddle to entertain us. Our political gurus and journalists become bookies. Meanwhile America burns. We are blind, but people in Europe see this clearly.
- “America Has Already Lost Tuesday’s Election, Destroyed by Total Capitalism“, Jakob Augstein, Der Spiegel, 5 November 2012 — “Germans see the US election as a battle between the good Obama and the evil Romney. But this is a mistake. Regardless of who wins the election on Tuesday, total capitalism is America’s true ruler, and it has the power to destroy the country.”
- “Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation“, Der Spiegel, 5 November 2012 — “The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair. On this election eve, many Americans are losing faith in their country’s future.”
- “Americans Don’t Want The Truth. In US Elections, He Who Lies Wins“, Gregor Peter Schmitz, Der Spiegel, 6 November 2012 — “Regardless which candidate wins the US presidential election on Tuesday, neither of them has been honest to the American people about the scale of the problems facing the country. But Americans have only themselves to blame. They prefer to be lied to rather than to face the truth.”
(4) This series about the results of Campaign 2012
- Conservatives, celebrate the historic victory you won today!
- The votes were counted and one wing of our one ruling party won. Rejoice!
- How Obama AND conservatives both won on Tuesday
- Civil rights just took a step forward, the slow hard way. The right way.
- The hidden major party, the key to political control of America
(5) Seeing our situation in pictures instead of words
Please note in the comments any posters or graphic you find useful to better see our political situation!