The problem with US politics at the moment is the two party system. No, not in the way you think.
You see, no matter how complex the issue, everything has to get mapped down to Republican or Democrat. And inevitably that means that you wind up with two baskets of positions. Conservative, low takes, women in the kitchen, more wars; vs liberal, higher taxes/better safety net, women at work, and – well, more wars.
The problem is this
All those people who have traditionally voted conservative, women in the kitchen, guns and God are turing grey and – whoops! – are realising that a social safety net is kinda important. Especially what with the banksters having stolen everyone’s retirement money.
The new polarity in US politics will be boomers vs everyone else. Actually – no, that polarity has been there for decades. What I mean is, the boomers issues have changed as a result of their ageing. They now want all the handouts that they didn’t have to pay for when they were of a productive age, all the handouts that they voted against being given out.
But they still have all the old prejudices. They dearly want some from basket ‘D’ and some from basket ‘R’, but at present the baskets are shrink-wrapped and you have to take the whole thing.
How this is playing out, at the moment, is the Republicans picking a new presidential candidate every fortnight. I think Matt Tabbi did a piece on it. The Republican machine has to pick a candidate that says all the right wing things, all the stuff that the greying republicans say they like. But those things, well, they kinda mean that those greying republicans are going to be eating dog food. And once they realise that, the candidate is out, not knowing why. God Guns, and The Flag just takes second place to not being hungry, sick, and broke. But the greying republicans don’t want to admit it.
What will happen?
A seismic shift in how the parties define themselves. It’s happened before. People forget that the Republican party used to be anti-slavery, that Democrats owned the south. It was Nixon that changed that. It’s not immutable.
Whichever party first successfully combines an appeal to the prejudice and bigotry (or “patriotism”: whichever word you prefer) of the average ugly american, with an appeal to their self interest going forward (free money for codgers), will win government for the next quarter century. Its a matter of which moribund party can shift its creaky bones and change, while keeping its existing base.
Stay tuned. Ten years from now, the words “Republican” and “Democrat” will mean distinctly different things to what they do now.