Friday, January 07, 2022

Changes in Political Centers

I heard Leighton Woodhouse* recommend Martin Gurri's book The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium. Have any of you read it, or other writings of Gurri's?  He looks intriguing. He seems to know a great deal more than I do about international affairs, not only the details but the deeper meanings. Whenever I am so quickly out of my depth, I hesitate to come to judgement.

One of Gurri's premises, which Woodhouse follows, is that the centers of power of the political parties move, and the centers of power of the general liberal and conservative movements move, not always in the same way or the same time. Yet always, there are centers of power, which are not the same as the centers of power in America itself, which is usually some accommodation between the other centers. He considers it important to notice that taking over the levers of power in a party/movement is not the same as getting the bulk of voters in that group to agree with you. It creates tensions, which sometimes resolve by the rank-and-file coming to your POV, but sometimes results in a new takeover of the party.  He gives the recent example of Occupy Wall Street, which has assumed some of the levers of power in the Democratic Party even though most voters are only partially on board. The Olde Guard of corporate interest Democrats remain powerful, disguising their role from the blue collar Dems who would ordinarily hate them.  Into this picture come Black Lives Matter/Wokism, supported by only a minority of Democratic voters, taking over the leadership-of-the-uprising by OWS even before it is complete, and the Silicon Valley Dems taking over from the longstanding Corporate (As is Senator Joe Biden, D- Credit Card Companies). There are multiple uprisings with shifting loyalties, which is more like what has always happened everywhere, rather than the current 50-50 split the media would like to convince us is America.

On the Right, the Tea Party made the initial inroads into what we now call the GOPe. That foundered but Trump populism came into that spot.  Except not entirely. Trump populism is not only trying to unseat the GOPe for dominance of the Republican Party and conservatism in general, it is also competing with the sentiments of the Tea Party, even though the organisation is no longer there, as the leader of the anti-establishment Republicans. I see that,because even in myself I see my sympathies as being more Tea than Trump, but either of those more than GOPe.  So the theory resonated with me.

He notes that in all cases the battle for the center of power on one of the sides is actually the more important one politically.

I don't think I have sat with this theory and carried it about in my head trying to apply it to circumstances as they unfold to know if I am fully on board. Like State-Capacity Libertarianism (pro and con at the link), it seems to have a lot to offer, but I would have to move a lot of furniture out to make room for it on a permanent basis. But I'm down for trying. 

*Old Labor-organiser leftie who thinks that wokism and cancellation are completely insane and dangerous, and has been called a "Republican shill" by those nutcases as a result.  I like such lefties. He points to folks like Greenwald, Sullivan, and Taibbi as similar minds. I think lots of us here have names we could add to that list, of "still lefty but no longer insane, I think we might win some over" public thinkers. I feel like I can do business with them.

1 comment:

Zachriel said...

Insightful analysis of the two-party system. In most parliamentary systems, people vote, then the representatives form ruling coalitions. In the U.S. system, coalitions are formed within the two parties, then the people vote. For instance, before the civil rights movement, the Democratic Party was an uneasy coalition between liberals, labor, and southern whites.

We note that the overall center has moved left over history. Once upon a time, Blacks and women voting was anathema to much of the American public.