@TheEconomist & ‘The great mystery of American politics’

Political Cynic contemplates Oxbridger posturing.

Note the headline, sub-headline and the first paragraph of this self-congratulatory polemic, masquerading as political commentary, its tone, almost catty!

Headline: The great mystery of American politics

Sub-headline: Why is the country divided so evenly? What might change that?

Titillated if not surprised, America’s political obsessives saw some justice in Kevin McCarthy’s struggle to amass enough support to become speaker of the House of Representatives. Mr McCarthy has evaded the encumbrance of principle for so long that, to at least some politicians, it seemed fitting that conservatives would torture him by withholding a few votes, all but making faces while dangling the job just beyond his reach.


This paragraph highlights the fact that The Economist, not just inhabits respectable bourgeoise politics of The Right, but can recite its clichés with facility.

With the exception of three previous, brief periods of national fickleness, one party or the other held clear majority control throughout American history. The present partisan equilibrium has lasted 40 years, since Ronald Reagan broke the Democrats’ New Deal coalition. No president since his predecessor, Jimmy Carter, has kept unified control of Congress past a midterm. 

The sentence I’ve highlighted ‘The present partisan equilibrium has lasted 40 years, since Ronald Reagan broke the Democrats’ New Deal coalition.’ Ronald Reagan did not break the New Deal Coalition, The New Democrats, Bill and Hillary Clinton were the betrayers of that New Deal Tradition, they were, in sum, Reaganites. The evidence is irrefutable:

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act

The Oxbridgers present a Political Technocrat the describe the American political landscape:

“There’s nothing like our current era as you look back through us history,” says Frances Lee of Princeton University, who studies Congress. “I’m mystified fundamentally by it, to be honest. How do we have all these constituencies that are safe for one party or the other, yet somehow it adds up to 50-50 nationally?” 

The Writers of this essay then resort to the patois of popular journalistic reductionism, for want of a more accurate term:

In this century Democrats lost ground in the countryside and gained it in the cities, Republicans squandered support in the Silent Generation and acquired it among Millennials, Democrats alienated white voters without college degrees and Republicans alienated white voters with them—and that all netted out, roughly, to parity. 

It is hard to overstate how the Reagan revolution transformed politics.

Reagan took not just the White House but broke Democrats’ grip on the Senate for the first time since 1954, making Republicans believe they could win the House.

Maybe four decades of sharper “messaging” have split the electorate.

Now, as the Republican House squares off with Mr Biden within the arena of the 2024 campaign, its official agenda seems ill-suited to supply the black-or-white contrast that might break the impasse.

All bets are off, however, if the Republican berserker caucus that tormented Mr McCarthy succeeds in commandeering the party.

The White Racist Reagan, of I believe in States Rights, dominates the ‘political imaginations’ of these Oxbridgers. Yet we live in the utter collapse, of his vulgar faith in The Market- that seems to grow in its acuteness, by the day. The Reader must look elsewhere for something resembling political honesty. The Economist writes Political Propaganda!

Political Cynic

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.