The political re-alignment of our time

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Pointedstick
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The political re-alignment of our time

Post by Pointedstick » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:29 am

Donald Trump is destroying the Republican party and re-making it from within. This much we know. But it goes deeper. It's happening to the Democrats too. And it's going to take both parties in unexpected directions.

First of all, Donald Trump is revealing the fundamental popularity of the progressive economic platform. He bashes big pharma and Wall Street--promising to have Medicare negotiate drug prices and hedge funds taxed at ordinary income tax rates. He trashes "free trade" agreements. He promises to strengthen Medicare and Social Security. He promises tariffs on companies that outsource capital or labor. He speaks fondly of single-payer healthcare. He inveighs about how poor people can't be allowed to die in ditches. It goes on and on.

Bafflingly, most liberals seem to have missed this! They are too busy clutching their pearls and getting cases of the vapors over his blatant nativism. Because that's the other Big Deal that's been revealed: nativism is popular--really popular. Polls showed that a full 47% of the country supported Trump's seemingly hyperbolic, extreme plan to temporarily stop Muslim immigration after he announced it. It was in the 70s for Republicans, if I recall. Nativistic economic positions such as opposition to trade deals are extremely popular. A "Put America First" platform is extremely attractive to a lot of America--imagine that. ::)

For a number of years, we've had a situation where both major parties were ignoring some really big political waves hidden just below the surface: the Democratic party was ignoring nativism, and the Republican party was ignoring both progressive economic policies and nativism. Both have seemed content to agree on a lot and divide people with polarizing wedge issues like abortion, gun control, and gay marriage.

Trump has blown that wide open and is now poised to re-make the Republican party as the party of nativism and progressive economic policies. He's doing it right now. He's not a conservative. He's not a neo-conservative. He's not a social conservative. He is a Buchananite "America first, whatever that means" candidate. And people are loving it. Witness how in this election cycle, no Republican voters care about any of the traditional wedge issues. He's gotten evangelicals to vote for a thrice-married probably-atheist who praises Planned Parenthood. He's gotten gun owners to ignore his support for mild gun control until very recently. It's incredible.

The impact of this should not be understated. When Donald Trump becomes the president, the Republican party is going to be the populist party, full stop. Social conservatives are evidently already on board, but there will be no home for the business elites and neocons in this new party. So where are they going to go?

Straight into the waiting arms of the Democratic party! It's a perfect match. Republican elites are wealthy, cosmopolitan, internationalist, sophisticated, full believers that the USA should be a major player on the world stage. This is already the core of the Democratic party! It's been becoming steadily more urban and cosmopolitan over the past 40 years anyway as the racists dropped out in the 70s. And there is a huge core of middle-income-and-wealthier white urban liberals in the northeast and upper midwest, and dominating every major city. So the Democratic party will double down on cosmopolitanism and shed its few remaining populist positions. This probably includes progressive economic policies as it absorbs fleeing big business Republicans. Again, it's a natural match. Democrats are already wealthier than Republicans on average, and this will exacerbate that trend. Wealthy people like free trade, tax cuts, and the like. They don't like paying for transfer payments that are mostly enjoyed by other people. They already bitch and moan about how blue states subsidize red states in terms of federal spending and welfare programs. And expect the Democratic party to become more aggressive in foreign policy, too. Again, the groundwork is already there, they just need a push from the fleeing Republican neocon elites.

A corollary is that over time, poor minorities will leave the Democratic party. These groups are super populist and not at all cosmopolitan, and usually only into war as a defensive endeavor. It's a natural match for this new GOP. It will start with Hispanics, and African-Americans will follow over the course of a generation. Slowly, the GOP will become a racially diverse party of the poor to middle class, all united in nativist and populist economic solidarity--a new Proletarian party. And the Democratic party will double down as the party of wealthy jet-setting urban-living white liberals who deep down prefer other countries to the USA, and fly to Europe every chance they can get. This party will be competitive despite the loss of blacks and hispanics because of wealthy Asians and Middle-Easterners, and young poor liberals, college educated but with poor prospects. The members of this latter group people may be economically at home in the Republican party, but they feel culturally at home in the Democratic party. These groups will provide enough votes that the Democrats can still win with the right message.

It's happening, guys. We live in an exciting time.
Last edited by Pointedstick on Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by moda0306 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:50 am

This is a nice sequel to your analysis on "conservatives" being collectivists and "liberals" being individualists.

I have to say I can't disagree with much here at all.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by jafs » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:09 am

Well, I don't know about all this.

First, the liberals I know aren't that excited about the US being a "major player on the world stage" if/when that means a lot of military interventions around the world.

Then, liberals don't "bitch and moan" about blue states subsidizing red states, they generally bring that up in response to the anti-welfare, anti-government rhetoric from the right, as a way to point out the conflict in that position from those who benefit from that.

We'll see what happens, of course, but I don't believe it will play out the way you're proposing.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by Maddy » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:53 am

PS, I really enjoy your mind.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by clacy » Wed Mar 02, 2016 11:55 am

I agree that both parties are re-aligning. However I think Trump is a symptom not the cause. This remaking was in the process since the Bush debacle.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by tennpaga » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:15 pm

Nice work, PS!

I agree that the 2 major parties seem to be in the early throes of something, but your scenario (Republicans become the populist party, and current Trump-hatin' Republicans become Democrats) is but one of many possibilities.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by MediumTex » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:18 pm

There has been a political transition for decades now involving money replacing voters as the preferred political currency.  Think "Singularity", except with campaign contributions rather than technology.

I see Trump as the John Connor figure in the movement of regular people trying to wrestle their government away from Big Money and its elitist minions.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by tennpaga » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:23 pm

jafs wrote: Well, I don't know about all this.

First, the liberals I know aren't that excited about the US being a "major player on the world stage" if/when that means a lot of military interventions around the world.

Then, liberals don't "bitch and moan" about blue states subsidizing red states, they generally bring that up in response to the anti-welfare, anti-government rhetoric from the right, as a way to point out the conflict in that position from those who benefit from that.
But note that PS didn't talk about liberals or the right... he's talking about the parties.

For example, liberals (whatever that means) may not be excited about being a major player on the world stage, but the Democratic Party, as embodied by Barack Obama and (especially) Hillary Clinton, seem to be!  Surely you haven't missed the fact that there have been rumblings of a "let's back Hillary" movement among disaffected neocon Republicans.
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by pugchief » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:05 pm

Maddy wrote: PS, I really enjoy your mind.
+1
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by clacy » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:24 pm

I can definitely see a scenario where you have 3 distinct parties forming:

Socialist Democrats
Conservative Party
Neo-Con/Neo-Lib/Independent party
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by pugchief » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:47 pm

clacy wrote: I can definitely see a scenario where you have 3 distinct parties forming:

Socialist Democrats
Conservative Party
Neo-Con/Neo-Lib/Independent party
If only we could move to a more parliamentary style government....
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Re: The political re-alignment of our time

Post by moda0306 » Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:55 pm

PS,

So in this new world, will there be a non-interventionist anti-war party and an expansionist pro-war party like there was in the early 20th century (let's forget about the massive asterisk that is Teddy Roosevelt for a second)?


What makes this all sort of weird is that we have two sides of the welfare state. We have one side that's totally ok with local public education, social security and Medicare, but many of them constantly lament against welfare, free college, universal healthcare, disability, food stamps, etc.

Could there be an age fracture within the welfare statuses? How would that fit into your new world?


Man when you throw the complex history of the US into a two party system it sure is hard to create clean division lines!!!
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