Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Twilight of the old party system?

Belmont Club » That’s the Way You Do It
The situation in which Britain finds itself is so dire that the Governor of the Bank of England told an American economist that whichever party won the current general election it would be “out of power for a whole generation because of how tough the fiscal austerity will have to be.” David Cameron may find, immediately after taking control of the ship of state that he has been promoted to the captaincy of the Titanic.
That makes me feel a bit better about watching the UK election results tomorrow.

In the meantime, you might be interested in Adam K's analysis of how, in an America where the political center has all but been abandoned, politics is becoming a fight in which each of the two major parties seeks to destroy its rival in order to institute some new kind of political center and debate on new terms. However, the more a party is expressly aware of and publicly vocal about its desire to destroy the other party, the less successful it can be. Adam thus looks for the political issues that, if fought seriously, may nonetheless have the pragmatic effect of destroying the "criminal cult" that is today's Democratic Party.


Anonymous said...

The Dem vs. GOP battle is older than my dead grandfather’s father. It will be around when my unborn children grow-up. There is a basic divide in American between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ that is reflected by the party system and will likely continue into the future. Neither side will eliminate the other. There is no real reason for activists to trash the partisan organizations that exist. And there is no issue on the horizon that will displace the gentle left-right rivalry that currently exists (recall that the Whigs were only supplanted because the slavery issue came to the fore). In short, Adam K’s analysis of the American party system is incoherent.


truepeers said...

It may be wrong, it's not incoherent. He's not arguing that we may see the end of the two-party system; he's arguing that the present two parties can no longer deal with each other with the minimal civility and common cause needed to maintain the present system; and so one party might well be pushed by the other's victories to the point of death, when presumably some new two party system would emerge. His argument, most basically, is that there is no longer a significant or viable centre to American political life, and absent this the present system is just going to erode more and more. I see evidence for the argument - e.g. the amazing demonization of the tea party going on right now/ the refusal of "conservatives" to recognize the current administration as American in form or content and to see it as fundamentally anti-American - but nothing about the future is knowable with certainty, one way or the other. How many saw the end of the Soviet empire coming, though its collapse was obvious in retropsect...

It's hard to see how the present AMerican system can continue without some significant bumps - it's bankrupt and aging and there is no obvious way all the social security promises that have been made and the attempts to control or regulate more and more of the economy can work - there are limits to what "progressive" government has the competence to do.

Dag said...

Hmmm, and I thought NA was revealing a long-hidden sense of humour.