Nov 26, 2016 0
From National Review’s Kevin Williamson, Progressives Without Power:
Beginning with the nomination of Barry Goldwater and thanks in no small part to the efforts of many men associated with this magazine, the Republican party spent half a century as a highly ideological enterprise. But highly ideological political parties are not the norm in the English-speaking world, especially not in the United States, and the conservative fusion of American libertarianism, social traditionalism, and national-security assertiveness probably is not stable enough to cohere, having now long outlived the Cold War in which it was forged. Trump’s lack of conservative principle is unwelcome, but it points to an ideological looseness that is arguably more normal, a return to the model of party as loose coalition of interest groups.
The Democrats, on the other hand, are becoming more ideological, or at least more openly and self-consciously ideological, as the party’s progressivism becomes more and more a catechism. This has the effect of making the Democratic party less democratic. American progressives have a long and genuine commitment to mass democracy, having supported not only various expansions of the franchise but also many instruments of direct democracy such as the ballot initiative, but they also have a long and genuine commitment to frustrating democracy when it gets in the way of the progressive agenda, which is why they have spent the better part of a century working to politicize the courts, the bureaucracies, and the non-governmental institutions they control in order to ensure they get their way even when they lose at the ballot box. Democrats did not pay much attention when they started suffering losses at the state level, because they were working against federalism and toward a unitary national government controlled from Washington. And they did not fight as hard as they might to recover from their losses in Congress while Barack Obama sat in the White House, obstructing Republican legislative initiatives and attempting to govern through executive fiat — an innovation that the Democrats surely are about to regret in the direst way.
The unity that seemed to be an advantage the Democrats had over the Republicans, who seemed forever factioned by litmus test conservatives, has blown apart. That unity was held together by a power that eroded state by state since 2010. The power that held it together is now gone. All it took was one faction to tilt right (white blue collar union voters) and their bubble was burst.