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Political polarization: is it symmetrical?


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This is a great essay by Matt Yglesias.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/is-asymmetrical-polarization-real

Edit: Quoted here.

I wanted to post it in an existing thread because that way I could just post the link without feeling like I should comment a bunch on it, but I don't see a thread that's apt, so I'll start this new one.

On the one hand, I think it's generally pretty accepted that the country has moved politically to the left in recent decades (and centuries). Common views on race, gay rights, and so on held today, even by conservatives, would have been super far left a few decades ago. Both parties have moved to the left on many (probably most, though not all) issues. If both parties have generally moved left, that means Republicans have moved toward the center while Democrats have moved away from the center. From that angle, it seems that Democrats are the ones driving greater polarization.

But that goes against the other commonly held view that it's the Republicans who've recently become more radicalized, what with QAnon and Trump and Charlottesville and other assorted craziness. Oh, and trying to overthrow the government. These are not centrist phenomena.

So what gives? Read the essay.

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14 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

This is a great essay by Matt Yglesias.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/is-asymmetrical-polarization-real

(Tell me if it's paywalled and I'll quote it.)

I wanted to post it in an existing thread because that way I could just post the link without feeling like I should comment a bunch on it, but I don't see a thread that's apt, so I'll start this new one.

On the one hand, I think it's generally pretty accepted that the country has moved politically to the left in recent decades (and centuries). Common views on race, gay rights, and so on held today, even by conservatives, would have been super far left a few decades ago. Both parties have moved to the left on many (probably most, though not all) issues. If both parties have generally moved left, that means Republicans have moved toward the center while Democrats have moved away from the center. From that angle, it seems that Democrats are the ones becoming more polarized.

But that goes against the other commonly held view that it's the Republicans who've recently become more radicalized, what with QAnon and Trump and Charlottesville and other assorted craziness. Oh, and trying to overthrow the government. These are not centrist phenomena.

So what gives? Read the essay.

Fascinating MT....I am going to add a link to this thread to the one I started on polarization that I update when I run across a compelling explanation for what we are seeing in politics in general :thumbup: 

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12 minutes ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

This is a great essay by Matt Yglesias.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/is-asymmetrical-polarization-real

(Tell me if it's paywalled and I'll quote it.)

I wanted to post it in an existing thread because that way I could just post the link without feeling like I should comment a bunch on it, but I don't see a thread that's apt, so I'll start this new one.

On the one hand, I think it's generally pretty accepted that the country has moved politically to the left in recent decades (and centuries). Common views on race, gay rights, and so on held today, even by conservatives, would have been super far left a few decades ago. Both parties have moved to the left on many (probably most, though not all) issues. If both parties have generally moved left, that means Republicans have moved toward the center while Democrats have moved away from the center. From that angle, it seems that Democrats are the ones becoming more polarized.

But that goes against the other commonly held view that it's the Republicans who've recently become more radicalized, what with QAnon and Trump and Charlottesville and other assorted craziness. Oh, and trying to overthrow the government. These are not centrist phenomena.

So what gives? Read the essay.

We have moved left on some social issues. However we have moved far right in other areas. Reagan would be thrown out of today's GOP as a commie.

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If there was ever a 10,000 foot summary of the parties (and I encourage everyone to read it...it's really good) this is it:

Quote

 

But if you’re not directly addressing the urgent crises or advancing American democracy, then yeah, I really do kinda think you should only do popular stuff. There’s an old saying that “to defend everything is to defend nothing.” I often feel like today’s progressives want to say that every issue is the subject of transcendent moral urgency. And in some sense that’s true — these are all vitally important life or death issues. But if you treat every issue as transcendently important, then you’re really treating nothing as actually important.

By contrast, I think Republican Party anti-democratic radicalization is a real thing and super important. It’s important to beat them in a few elections in a row so their component interest groups get sad and try to force some more discipline on elected officials to make the party more electable. And it’s important to level the playing field so that Republicans need 50%+1 to win, not 47%. Everything else kind of takes a back seat.

 

 

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I think his point about Republicans radicalizing against the basic form of our governance, democracy, sort of undercuts the thesis that Democrats are more asymmetrically moving to the left. I think the premise is off here because one is an issue of means and one is an issue of ends. Anytime a party seeks to implement totalitarian impulses and control the means to acquire power the way Republicans have, it is they who are really acting asymmetrically radical. Raw power, centrist ends or not, winds up eventually radicalized in its maintenance. The cult-like status of QAnon and the fealty Repubican Party members show to willing representatives of the message is more akin to subject/king than citizen/representative, and the worrisome stress on the means whereby the Republicans acquire power places the ends, like social security policy, as secondary concerns. It is the process that guarantees democracy, not the policy espoused by the governing party.

It's one person, one vote, and fair representation of the body politic by its representatives. That's the cornerstone of democracy, not whether abortion is publicly-funded or not. It's easy to conflate the two, and policy wonks are especially susceptible to this, but Republicans are stressing the means within which they obtain power, the Democrats simply stressing the ends of the power granted. And the Republican way of focusing on means is entirely more asymmetrically radical than the policies that flow therefrom.

I hope that makes sense.

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Is there an equivalent to President Trump for Democrats? Where that one person dominates to the point of authoritarianism? "Father Trump", so to speak?

This was an interesting passage:

Republicans are a lot nuttier

"As I covered in “Republicans’ Unhinged Moderation,” the flipside of all this is that today’s Republicans seem dangerous and authoritarian.

It’s not just that Trump did bad tweets or failed to comport himself with dignity. Over the weekend, Joe Biden declared a state of emergency for Texas in light of the freezing weather and the ensuing chaos in the state. Up until a few years ago, that would have been totally unremarkable. But Trump dragged his feet on delivering emergency aid to California during their wildfire emergencies, seemingly on the grounds that California is a safe blue state, so why should he care about them? It happens to be the case that Kevin McCarthy, the Republicans’ House leader, is also from California and was able to intervene.

Trump installed a series of political hacks to serve as Director of National Intelligence. He put his unqualified son-in-law in charge of important areas of national policy. He used his hotels and clubs to openly profit from the presidency. He doled out pardons to political allies outside the Office of the Pardon Attorney process. He refused to release duly appropriated aid money for Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government would help him with his re-election campaign. And after he lost the election, he and many other Republican Party leaders told people the election had been illegally stolen and encouraged a mob to gather, which eventually stormed the Capitol building.

The part of this that created a literal threat to the lives of congressional Republicans did provoke a fair amount of intra-party criticism, but ultimately the vast majority of his party opted for impunity. When Trump’s misconduct didn’t affect them personally, they mostly supported it."

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Interesting article, with a lot of good points about both parties moving leftward. I tend to feel that the part about the Republicans seeking to overthrow democracy is a bit overblown, but that’s because I still believe that Trump is an anomaly. 

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Interesting article, with a lot of good points about both parties moving leftward. I tend to feel that the part about the Republicans seeking to overthrow democracy is a bit overblown, but that’s because I still believe that Trump is an anomaly. 

What evidence could have been presented to you during the past four years that would have changed your mind about this?  

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One good question the article asks is why Democrats don’t try harder to win? Meaning, I assume, why do they push goals and phrases that sound extreme which are almost sure to defeat them every time? Specific recent examples are Bernie and AOC calling themselves “Democratic socialists” rather than simply progressive Democrats, candidates using the phrase “defund the Police” rather than “police reform”, progressives proposing a massive draconian “Green New Deal” rather than offering up specific individual proposals on climate change that the public might favor. All of these seem almost as if they were designed in some laboratory by Republican scientists as a way to keep the GOP in a winning position.

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4 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Interesting article, with a lot of good points about both parties moving leftward. I tend to feel that the part about the Republicans seeking to overthrow democracy is a bit overblown, but that’s because I still believe that Trump is an anomaly. 

Right, it wasn't a concerted party effort.  McConnell, Pence and others didn't go along with what Trump wanted to do.  It was a fairly small group involved, except that one of them was the POTUS.  Luckily the majority of the Republican Party didn't bend in the end and democracy prevailed.  It was the strongest test this nation has faced since the Cold War and we dealt with it fairly quickly and decisively.

 

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4 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

What evidence could have been presented to you during the past four years that would have changed your mind about this?  

None because the time frame is too short to prove otherwise. However, the NEXT four years could certainly change my mind. 

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3 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

What evidence could have been presented to you during the past four years that would have changed your mind about this?  

I was really sympathetic to thinking the authoritarian element of the party began and ended with Trump as of two years ago. This appears to be no longer the case, and all evidence points to the contrary. It is the other elected officials and the populace (one scared of anything but toeing the line to this newfound authoritarianism, the other agitating for it) that have allowed anti-democratic sentiments and practices to become the norm for the Republican Party.

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It's really going to reside with the people and how much emphasis they place upon the ends of governance rather than the means. It'll be a test of basic civics, and since civics was long ago replaced by studies of identity and power structures, I fear that the citizenry is no longer ripe for democratic norms. Too much pomo, too much po-po. (Too much postmodernism, too much of a police state already in place, for those seeking translation.)

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

I was really sympathetic to thinking the authoritarian element of the party began and ended with Trump as of two years ago. This appears to be no longer the case, and all evidence points to the contrary. It is the other elected officials and the populace (one scared of anything but toeing the line to this newfound authoritarianism, the other agitating for it) that have allowed anti-democratic sentiments and practices to become the norm for the Republican Party.

OK this leads into one of my long held theories, and it’s a big reason why populism is so dangerous: 

The public at large doesn’t really understand democracy or our way of government and is quite willing to give up their freedoms if they believe the trade-off (usually some sort of material gain) is worth it.

I think this is true irrespective of political party. That’s why I like it when most people are disinterested. I am a believer in the elites running things. 

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41 minutes ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

We have moved left on some social issues. However we have moved far right in other areas. Reagan would be thrown out of today's GOP as a commie.

Which of Reagan s positions would be classified  as  commie?

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6 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I was really sympathetic to thinking the authoritarian element of the party began and ended with Trump as of two years ago. This appears to be no longer the case, and all evidence points to the contrary. It is the other elected officials and the populace (one scared of anything but toeing the line to this newfound authoritarianism, the other agitating for it) that have allowed anti-democratic sentiments and practices to become the norm for the Republican Party.

Same here.  At one point, I was thinking or was at least hopeful that Trump was an aberration.  But the fact is that he was impeached not once but twice, and both times the Republicans circled the wagons around him.  In this most recent impeachment trial, Republicans who crossed over have been severely punished by their state parties.  That's the sort of clear, obvious evidence that should have falsified tim's hypothesis.  

But of course, tim set up his hypothesis to be unfalsifiable, so . . . 

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1 minute ago, quick-hands said:

Which of Reagan s positions would be classified  as  commie?

I love his views on immigration, including undocumented immigration. In some current conservative circles I imagine the word “commie” would be used. 

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It's really weird to think about this now, but there was a time after Trump's election but before he took office when a bunch of people sincerely thought that he would end up governing as a moderate-to-liberal Republican.  Which he kind of did if you just look at it in policy terms, but that completely misses the tone of how he governed.

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1 minute ago, IvanKaramazov said:

Same here.  At one point, I was thinking or was at least hopeful that Trump was an aberration.  But the fact is that he was impeached not once but twice, and both times the Republicans circled the wagons around him.  In this most recent impeachment trial, Republicans who crossed over have been severely punished by their state parties.  That's the sort of clear, obvious evidence that should have falsified tim's hypothesis.  

But of course, tim set up his hypothesis to be unfalsifiable, so . . . 

I don’t think it proves me false. All it proves is that Republicans are good at circling the wagons. 

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Just now, timschochet said:

OK this leads into one of my long held theories, and it’s a big reason why populism is so dangerous: 

The public at large doesn’t really understand democracy or our way of government and is quite willing to give up their freedoms if they believe the trade-off (usually some sort of material gain) is worth it.

I think this is true irrespective of political party. That’s why I like it when most people are disinterested. I am a believer in the elites running things. 

Right. We tend to disagree on that. I think that participation in the fair process of democracy and democratic norms has normative ends; that is, by simply participating in the act of legislation and governance, people come to understand why democratic processes are important and vital. They get invested in policy, hear all the arguments involved, become engaged civically, and then tolerate the decision made so long as they have had their say. It gives them, like Fukuyama claims, a satisfaction of the thymotic element of their being, that which seeks recognition by the state as a political agent. Elites running things is a recipe for disaster in that one elite is simply replaced by the other when the ends no longer suit the masses of people that will ulitmately determine a government's fate.

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

I love his views on immigration, including undocumented immigration. In some current conservative circles I imagine the word “commie” would be used. 

Open immigration  is the opposite of regulated movement.   Actually this shift is leftward as well.   His position is farther right.   No?

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dont have time for a read right now, but i'd call whatever leftening may be happening a recoil to a natural state (a point i've argued w @rockaction on several occasions). and the the recoil is not from Trump, but from the amazing efforts by Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation to make Goldwater Republicanism a majority party. even when one adjusts for how much more customer than citizen we've become, the achievement was Herculean and one i do not see coming from the equivalent of a Bernie/AOC left unless the country divides along race lines in gens to come.

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1 minute ago, quick-hands said:

Open immigration  is the opposite of regulated movement.   Actually this shift is leftward as well.   His position is farther right.   No?

So far as I can see, it’s pretty similar to Biden. 

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3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Right. We tend to disagree on that. I think that participation in the fair process of democracy and democratic norms has normative ends; that is, by simply participating in the act of legislation and governance, people come to understand why democratic processes are important and vital. They get invested in policy, hear all the arguments involved, become engaged civically, and then tolerate the decision made so long as they have had their say. It gives them, like Fukuyama claims, a satisfaction of the thymotic element of their being, that which seeks recognition by the state as a political agent. Elites running things is a recipe for disaster in that one elite is simply replaced by the other when the ends no longer suit the masses of people that will ulitmately determine a government's fate.

The proposition process in California undercuts your main points here, IMO. 

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Just now, quick-hands said:

So the Republicans  are the communist?    I'm asking the opposite question.    Which policies would make Reagan a commie?

What I’m saying is that certain conservative types are calling Biden a commie for his position on Path to Citizenship, and Reagan had a quite similar position. 

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21 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

It's really weird to think about this now, but there was a time after Trump's election but before he took office when a bunch of people sincerely thought that he would end up governing as a moderate-to-liberal Republican.  Which he kind of did if you just look at it in policy terms, but that completely misses the tone of how he governed.

I agree with this, but think it was more than tone. He was hostile to democracy in action, too. He had numerous conservative cabinet and staff members resign, all shocked and abhorred by his utter disregard for democratic norms. This wasn't a "new guy who does things a new way and nobody likes it but it's good for you," like a radically different approach to coaching a team or something like that. He was, in fact, nothing new, checking off all the boxes of dictators yore, openly pining for their yoke, following through on maximizing his own power, and sowing deep and hostile discontent with his political dissenters wherever and whenever possible. The Bannon quote about the dissenting former Republicans needing their "heads on pikes" said it all about the methods they were about to use, postmodern and media-laden as they were, regardless of whether or not that was simply metaphor. "Flood the zone with ####," was the rallying cry from their postmodern media go-betweens, and the people wound up with a guy that watched while California burned and asked people if they could drink bleach to get rid of a pandemic.

There have been few darker periods in American history than 2016-2020.

Edited by rockaction
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8 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Right. We tend to disagree on that. I think that participation in the fair process of democracy and democratic norms has normative ends; that is, by simply participating in the act of legislation and governance, people come to understand why democratic processes are important and vital. They get invested in policy, hear all the arguments involved, become engaged civically, and then tolerate the decision made so long as they have had their say. It gives them, like Fukuyama claims, a satisfaction of the thymotic element of their being, that which seeks recognition by the state as a political agent. Elites running things is a recipe for disaster in that one elite is simply replaced by the other when the ends no longer suit the masses of people that will ulitmately determine a government's fate.

This would be an interesting discussion at some point.  I think a quick, 5-minute trip through social media should disabuse anybody of the notion that voters are listening to arguments and carefully weighing the evidence before deciding what policies to support, and then moving on when decisions don't go their way.  Most people are the political equivalent of soccer hooligans and it would much better if we banned them from the stadium instead of letting them set our lineup.    

Edited by IvanKaramazov
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10 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

This would be an interesting discussion at some point.  I think a quick, 5-minute trip through social media should disabuse anybody of the notion that voters are listening to arguments and carefully weighing the evidence before deciding what policies to support, and then moving on when decisions don't go their way.  Most people are the political equivalent of soccer hooligans and it would much better if we banned them from the stadium instead of letting them set our lineup.    

I know from a distance and as a pragmatic matter it seems like less democracy is better, but I'd argue a bit differently about when it comes to local issues that directly affect people. Do I want to hear Mary from Tulsa's views on the Catholic notion of life beginning at conception and having an abortion debate with her? Probably not. That we've made such issues government issues is a problem. Do I want to hear from her about how the Scarcetti family is controlling the trash pickup and that's why her trash is sitting on the curb every Tuesday when it should be picked up? Or the new teacher that's come into town espousing a weird sort of communism in the classroom and what she thinks of that vis a vis her son who's taking his class? Sure I want to hear it. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. True democracy in small doses about issues that have a direct effect on people's lives -- not in the abstract -- is more along the lines of what I'm thinking about when I think about civic engagement. I don't want them trying to solve the currency/trade deficit problem with China because they're clearly not equipped to. But they are pretty good about knowing the nuances of local living that directly impact them. And it used to be a function of federalism that local politics and all that goes with that civic engagement had its place in our country. Now, everything is too big, from the financial system to the interdependence of social issues on one's life, to basic things like going to the doctor. It's all federalized and on a mega scale that nobody can understand. Everything is too big to govern democratically, and I'm not sure how we got away from having everything be reasonably manageable and localized in benefit and result.

If I sound like an anti-federalist, it's probably because I have them in mind today.

Edited by rockaction
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21 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

dont have time for a read right now, but i'd call whatever leftening may be happening a recoil to a natural state (a point i've argued w @rockaction on several occasions). and the the recoil is not from Trump, but from the amazing efforts by Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation to make Goldwater Republicanism a majority party. even when one adjusts for how much more customer than citizen we've become, the achievement was Herculean and one i do not see coming from the equivalent of a Bernie/AOC left unless the country divides along race lines in gens to come.

I don't think you're that far off that Goldwater Republicanism is not the natural state of affairs in governance. Nor do I disagree that we're more consumer than citizen these days. I don't know what you're getting at with race, though. I'm not scared of it or a frank discussion of it, but it's just hanging there as a loose connection.

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1 hour ago, Drunken Cowboy said:

We have moved left on some social issues. However we have moved far right in other areas. Reagan would be thrown out of today's GOP as a commie.

Well Reagan was once the head of a union.

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Also, IK, that sort of anti-democracy impulse reminds me of Walter Bagehot, the old famous British political commenter and essayist who thought that when the common people were infatuated by the Royals and the tabloids over everything else that democracy and governance worked a whole lot better. Better for them to worship and adulate foppery than actively engage in the political process and actually determine things. I'm sympathetic to this point, but it seems to me that those times where democracy can coexist with disengagement are temporary at best, and the stewards of democracy really are the people, and they must be engaged to cement any lasting effect that initial democratic impulses might have. We are not by nature democrats, nor are we very liberally tolerant by disposition -- it takes an awful lot of experience and practice. I fear we may have lost that.

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47 minutes ago, timschochet said:

What I’m saying is that certain conservative types are calling Biden a commie for his position on Path to Citizenship, and Reagan had a quite similar position. 

I dont think they are saying that position is the main concern.    They may argue that they will come in and take  more than they contribute.   But I hardly think that's not an argument for a communist.     You  are hearing stuff I dont hear.   And I consume a lot talk radio.

But I think if you could guarantee that undocumented  workers get no benefits and they had to pay for themselves or survive on charity the problem wouldn't be one.

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29 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I don't think you're that far off that Goldwater Republicanism is not the natural state of affairs in governance. Nor do I disagree that we're more consumer than citizen these days. I don't know what you're getting at with race, though. I'm not scared of it or a frank discussion of it, but it's just hanging there as a loose connection.

merely pointing out that moving a fringe view to a palpable majority position is an awesome (tho nefarious in this case) accomplishment, one that its been a long time since i've even envisioned coming from my end of the spectrum. i wasnt ending with a racial point - just that leftist hegemony could likely only happen with a substantial non-white voting majority

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2 hours ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

This is a great essay by Matt Yglesias.

https://www.slowboring.com/p/is-asymmetrical-polarization-real

(Tell me if it's paywalled and I'll quote it.)

I wanted to post it in an existing thread because that way I could just post the link without feeling like I should comment a bunch on it, but I don't see a thread that's apt, so I'll start this new one.

On the one hand, I think it's generally pretty accepted that the country has moved politically to the left in recent decades (and centuries). Common views on race, gay rights, and so on held today, even by conservatives, would have been super far left a few decades ago. Both parties have moved to the left on many (probably most, though not all) issues. If both parties have generally moved left, that means Republicans have moved toward the center while Democrats have moved away from the center. From that angle, it seems that Democrats are the ones becoming more polarized.

But that goes against the other commonly held view that it's the Republicans who've recently become more radicalized, what with QAnon and Trump and Charlottesville and other assorted craziness. Oh, and trying to overthrow the government. These are not centrist phenomena.

So what gives? Read the essay.

I can't open it and my end-rounds.... eh, not in the mood.

Question - is the theory that the center - however they defined it - is a static thing?  Because I'm not so sure that is the case.  (Again, if this is all in the article then just ignore me).

The left, right and center descriptions of 1821 are obviously different than 2021, but does that just mean that the center axis stayed in the same spot - or did the center move as well?  And if it did, then obviously right and left move too.  But I does that also mean that both sides have generally moved left or does it just mean that those labels mean different things in different eras?

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55 minutes ago, timschochet said:

What I’m saying is that certain conservative types are calling Biden a commie for his position on Path to Citizenship, and Reagan had a quite similar position. 

Today's republicans are not conservatives.

I know I know, horse, dead, ignore me..... still...... 

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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Also, IK, that sort of anti-democracy impulse reminds me of Walter Bagehot, the old famous British political commenter and essayist who thought that when the common people were infatuated by the Royals and the tabloids over everything else that democracy and governance worked a whole lot better. Better for them to worship and adulate foppery than actively engage in the political process and actually determine things. I'm sympathetic to this point, but it seems to me that those times where democracy can coexist with disengagement are temporary at best, and the stewards of democracy really are the people, and they must be engaged to cement any lasting effect that initial democratic impulses might have. We are not by nature democrats, nor are we very liberally tolerant by disposition -- it takes an awful lot of experience and practice. I fear we may have lost that.

i dont want to turn this thread into another of our tabletennis matches but, since i do not argue politics - merely state my position, then seek what common ground may be found - i used to have a stock phrase when entering a polarized discussion. "Deep down, most Americans are conservative til their own are taken care of, then as liberal as they can afford to be". Got a LOT of mileage with that old saw. Cant use it anymore. Greed, media has moved the needle. As i've said to you before, our political magnetic north was 15% left of here before suckerism took over.

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I think the Right was more polarized in 90’s and 2000’s with the Religious Right and Tea Party.  Larry King used to call them “Right Wing Wackos”.  The last 15 years, in my opinion, has seen much more polarization on the Left. 

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59 minutes ago, IvanKaramazov said:

This would be an interesting discussion at some point.  I think a quick, 5-minute trip through social media should disabuse anybody of the notion that voters are listening to arguments and carefully weighing the evidence before deciding what policies to support, and then moving on when decisions don't go their way.  Most people are the political equivalent of soccer hooligans and it would much better if we banned them from the stadium instead of letting them set our lineup.    

In my early days I believed every American citizen, should have to pass a basic civics test in order to vote.  It was abundantly clear to me that the general populace wasn't intelligent enough to do the right thing for society.  Then, over time, I morphed into one who believes that the more people that vote the better.  During this time, I've seen countless comments from you in this vein and I am now finding myself swinging back to my initial belief and nodding along with these sorts of posts.  The pride some people take in their ignorance is quite remarkable to me and I feel like something has to be done about that.  We used to take pride in what we knew.  Now we take pride in how dumb we are and how loyal we are to dumb idea because of "sides".  We are NOT trending in the right direction.

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9 minutes ago, Yankee23Fan said:

Today's republicans are not conservatives.

I know I know, horse, dead, ignore me..... still...... 

Can't be said enough IMO....identify with "Republican" all you want....they are not "conservative" by any traditional definition.  And Tim brings up a good example in Reagan's immigration policy to see the dramatic shift from then, to what they stand for now.

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An interesting thing I think, and cross-posted from the Republican civil war thread. These three articles, I believe, intellectualize and crystallize the anti-democratic movement among the right and Republicans as compared to what one once knew of them:

Interesting notes about the "civil war" in the GOP. It seems like the intellectual rift is there and the populace is still following the intellectuals, or maybe the intellectuals are clearly expressing what is bubbling up from the body politic. I would urge people to check out these three short pieces and see where the fissure is. These are all pieces that either track or advocate for a movement away from autonomy's primacy in the intellectual sphere of the political world.

The first, by Geoff Shullenberger, argues that the right is essentially using the same tactics as the left did in the culture war, precisely because the main large institutions of society have been captured by the left.

https://outsidertheory.com/right-marcuseanism/

The second, by a various group of conservative religious intellectuals, gets to programmatic concerns that arise from the dead consensus of the Cold Warriors that comprised the right, on the grounds that autonomy concerns of the old consensus right are no longer applicable nor desirable

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/03/against-the-dead-consensus

The third fleshes out in intellectual detail why this consensus has failed (hint: it's the left's fault) and lays the intellectual foundational groundwork for the primacy of non-autonomous thinking and living in practice. 

https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2019/05/against-david-french-ism

Edited by rockaction
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43 minutes ago, Yankee23Fan said:

Today's republicans are not conservatives.

I know I know, horse, dead, ignore me..... still...... 

I agree with this, yet there's nothing inherently conservative nor defining about the post-Cold War rightist consensus that places liberty and autonomy at the fore of our relations. The modern Trump party is driven by evangelicals and Catholics, all from conservative impetuses, if not by conservative means. The primacy of family and faith are certainly conservative, just not in the post-Goldwater sense. It's a fine distinction, but an important one that has been going on since the nineties when Walter Berns asked to have his name removed from the First Things masthead because he found an issue promoting revolutionary actions and ideas too much for his liking, a liking that was informed by the rule of law and civic engagement as the American religion, one that was politically proper.

Berns has since died. First Things continues its influence unabated and untroubled.

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2 hours ago, Maurile Tremblay said:

Both parties have moved to the left on many (probably most, though not all) issues. If both parties have generally moved left, that means Republicans have moved toward the center while Democrats have moved away from the center. From that angle, it seems that Democrats are the ones becoming more polarized.

I kind of think that the center, the real center and not those that claim to reside there has moved left faster than either end.  I think that creates problems for the side that is being pulled away from faster than they care to move.  Problems which we see everyday.   The side that is being moved towards faster than they are moving away just get more acceptable to the main stream.  In aggregate at least.  On some very specific issues the group being "left behind" isn't really left or right despite how politics plays out.

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The argument in First Things seems to center around losing children and unborn to the liberal shibboleths of autonomy and self-willed truths. I would like to ask them about free will as a necessary component of true worship and how the current situation relates to the story of God and Abraham.

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

One good question the article asks is why Democrats don’t try harder to win? Meaning, I assume, why do they push goals and phrases that sound extreme which are almost sure to defeat them every time? Specific recent examples are Bernie and AOC calling themselves “Democratic socialists” rather than simply progressive Democrats, candidates using the phrase “defund the Police” rather than “police reform”, progressives proposing a massive draconian “Green New Deal” rather than offering up specific individual proposals on climate change that the public might favor. All of these seem almost as if they were designed in some laboratory by Republican scientists as a way to keep the GOP in a winning position.

Maybe because a lot of leftist are more extreme than you might think and that kind of rhetoric is appealing. 

BtW, is there some secret to reading the article, it wants a subscription. 

Edited by jon_mx
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5 minutes ago, jon_mx said:
2 hours ago, timschochet said:

One good question the article asks is why Democrats don’t try harder to win? Meaning, I assume, why do they push goals and phrases that sound extreme which are almost sure to defeat them every time? Specific recent examples are Bernie and AOC calling themselves “Democratic socialists” rather than simply progressive Democrats, candidates using the phrase “defund the Police” rather than “police reform”, progressives proposing a massive draconian “Green New Deal” rather than offering up specific individual proposals on climate change that the public might favor. All of these seem almost as if they were designed in some laboratory by Republican scientists as a way to keep the GOP in a winning position.

Maybe because a lot of leftist are more extreme than you might think and that kind of rhetoric is appealing. 

If that rhetoric is appealing then why is it not winning?  Even if exclusively among democrats?   Sure you'll point to a few exceptions that hold office or sell products via hosting political opinion shows, but those are just proving Tim's rule.  (Of course I find none of these example actually extreme (at least in most common usage - again exception prove the rule), even if to the masses they sound extreme and are bad marketing.)  

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17 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I agree with this, yet there's nothing inherently conservative nor defining about the post-Cold War rightist consensus that places liberty and autonomy at the fore of our relations. The modern Trump party is [b]driven by evangelicals and Catholics, all from conservative impetuses, if not by conservative means[/b]. The primacy of family and faith are certainly conservative, just not in the post-Goldwater sense. It's a fine distinction, but an important one that has been going on since the nineties when Walter Berns asked to have his name removed from the First Things masthead because he found an issue promoting revolutionary actions and ideas too much for his liking, a liking that was informed by the rule of law and civic engagement as the American religion, one that was politically proper.

Berns has since died. First Things continues its influence unabated and untroubled.

Maybe.

I think it's driven by fear.  We are still in the midst of a hyper-speed change to society and cultural norms driven by technological advancements that will ultimately make life better in the macro sense, but they are micro-level problems and collateral damage that are inherent in any cultural shift of any significance.  Progress leaves people behind.  It always has.  Good governments and good people adapt quickly to it or revolutions and invasions force the adaptation.  Those that cling to the past ultimately get eviscerated and take others with them. 

As for the primacy of faith and family being a conservative bedrock..... meh.  I don't buy it. Maybe I did once.  But no longer. It's hard to see the various Christians in my life live a certain way Monday through Saturday and then put on a good show on Sunday.  I'm sure I'm guilty of it too.  Maybe if the American evangelical movement as a whole treated everyone the same on Monday that they talk about on Sunday I'd be willing to agree with you.  But we are fighting that impulse on a daily basis and it's tiring.  

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