Is Politics Becoming Irrelevant?

President Camacho addresses a joint session of Congress - from the movie Idiocracy

President Camacho addresses a joint session of Congress – from the movie Idiocracy

Trump’s poll numbers have actually swelled since the debate. Executive management at Fox News reached out to Trump to officially kiss his gold-plated kiester and ask him to keep it up. The TMZ of broadcast journalism is now drowning the Republican nominating race by cultivating a political version of the Swift/Minaj feud. It’s great for ratings. I can’t wait to see the product placements at the next debate.

One might express concern at a clownish entertainment figure ruining a serious political institution, but that complaint doesn’t carry very far. With or without Trump this was never going to be more than a circus. Almost all of the candidates are there to promote their book, solicit speaking engagements, audition for a TV show, or to sell Uncle Huckabee’s Down-Home, Biblical Cures For What Ails ‘Ya.

In the first poll after the debate, 51% of Republican respondents were supporting Trump, Carson, Cruz or Huckabee. Let that sink in for a minute. If that is even remotely accurate then Republicans aren’t merely losing the White House, they have lost their everloving minds, never to find them again, not even with help from their grandkids. There is no way for a remotely credible Republican candidate to drive around that 51% boulder in the road. Trump isn’t the problem.

Have we, as a culture, simply lost our interest in civic engagement? Are we too self-absorbed, insulated and isolated from one another to muster the minimal energy required to give a shit?

More and more I find myself thinking of Mike Judge’s box office bomb, Idiocracy. At the time I thought it was crude and over the top. It is starting to look like a documentary.

By the way, for all the smug Democrats out there convinced that this is merely a Republican problem, hopefully you’ve been following the outbreak of leftwing hand-wringing over Bernie Sanders’ supposed lack of racial sensitivity. The courageous act of defiance by a ‘Black Lives Matter’ activist in shutting down Sanders’ Seattle appearance is just a foretaste of what’s coming on your side of the aisle. To top it off, one of the organizers of the incident is a Tea Party supporter and Sarah Palin fan. Keep in mind too that Alan Grayson is running for Senate in Florida and he might actually win. Have fun, guys.

Can we survive and thrive after electoral politics has become irrelevant? What will America look like under the leadership of a Congress full of right and left-wing Ted Cruz’s and a President worse than George W. Bush? Can we function effectively if our public sphere is maintained only by a professional bureaucracy and our corporate leadership? Is there a backlash from sane citizens in the works somewhere? If so, how can I join?

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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91 comments on “Is Politics Becoming Irrelevant?
  1. nickqt says:

    The Democratic Party, as awful as it is, is not in the same galaxy as crazy that is the GOP.

    Sure, the Republican party has sitting US Senators who are crazy, but somewhere out on the internet, some liberal is posting crazy things on forums, and there are even liberals out there protesting socialist candidates for President in productive manners!

    The whole BothSidesDoIt™ thing is tiresome.

    One side is willing to govern, while the other side screams that America is gonna’ get it if they don’t get all of their demands. One side elevates their crazies to Federally-elected offices, while the other side marginalizes their fringe elements and laughs about them in the open.

    I know ‘Lifer doesn’t want to leave, but man, one of these days you’ll realize that the best possible thing to happen to US Conservatism (not the reactionary politics of the GOP) would be for the Republican party to finally die off, with the non-batshit-insane Republicans joining the Democratic party, with liberals getting their own left-wing party that should act to pull the right-wing Democratic party left.

    Simply hoping that the batshit-insane GOP will stop being insane when it’s been created over the past 50 years to be batshit-insane is counter-productive, and borderline delusional.

    Donald Trump IS the Republican base. He is the primary voter. As Driftglass says, The Republican base is the tribe that rubs shit in their hair…and Trump is their current favorite.

    You can’t uncrazy that, as you somewhat alluded to in this post

    • Griffin says:

      I don’t think Lifer is saying they are equally as crazy as of now but as it gets easier and easier for a small, select few people to organze and be disruptive (or easier to get more attention by being outrageous) more and more left-wing extermists are going to pop up and cause the Democratic Party issues. Such as people who think Sanders is a racist. Or that guy who wants to run as a “referendum president” who would do NOTHING except fix finance reform and then retire. See also all the various “Lifestyle Anarchist” groups popping up.

      They aren’t nearly equal in numbers to the right-wing crazies so I don’t think they’ll have a lasting impact but they’re difficult (if not impossible) to keep a handle on, so they could disrupt the Democrats like the New Left did in the late 60’s.

  2. Shiro17 says:

    “Can we function effectively if our public sphere is maintained only by a professional bureaucracy and our corporate leadership? Is there a backlash from sane citizens in the works somewhere? If so, how can I join?”

    Tell you what, Chris. If I win the lottery, I’ll use the money to set up a think tank and we can all create legislation and lobby for rational, moderate solutions. But, there are people around that are working for sane objectives. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Bipartisan Policy Center (, which was set up by former Congressional leaders from both parties (Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, George Mitchell, et al) who were completely fed up at the current state of politics.

  3. MichaelL says:

    It’s is very possible that this whole nation/society is going insane. What this Atlantic article is talking about is quite frightening, going well beyond PC and SJW, and deep into 1984 territory.

    • 1mime says:

      The college kids better steer clear of Lifer’s blog if they have thin skin! Of course, the value of being more open to other views is that you grow intellectually, and you learn to pick your battles (-:

      • michaelhl says:

        Is this what we have to look forward to culturally? Prior to the Atlantic article, I had read a more detailed account of what happened to the Northwestern professor. I believe she actually was a professor in Women’s Studies and Feminism, so it’s ironic and chilling to think that she got a Title IX complaint for writing and opinion piece.

      • 1mime says:

        Michael, I hope not. Over-protection of children, segregation by community, school, and activity channel a child’s development under the guise of safety and comfort. These aren’t bad goals but children need to learn how to think critically….get outside their comfort zones (where’s high school debate anymore?), explore other ideas, not be afraid to risk. If higher ed offers the same cocoon – will these young people be able to think independently? And, if not, how will Democracy be affected when they all grow up and are our leaders and voters? I would prefer the advice from Mark Cuban to the pablum the Atlantic piece profiled. Kids shouldn’t have to go to prestigious schools to learn how to think critically.

  4. flypusher says:

    A Trump/Cuban ticket????

    One thing I’ll agree with Cuban on, this whole RINO thing is frustrating and not good for the long term prospects if the party.

    • 1mime says:

      I enjoy watching Shark Tank, and Mark Cuban stands out for his immediate, insightful grasp of ideas presented to the group. His business acumen is well documented and his political grasp is just as sharp. I loved his ideas on leadership in the link above posted by Fly. I also like very much that he parts with the GOP on social issues. He correctly observes that this will be the downfall of the Repub Party, along with their insistence on each and every member adhering to the party line. This has contributed to the schism within the party and it is this lack of independent thought that is so harmful to the future of the party.

      As for Cuban being Trump’s VP – never would happen…No way those two strong egos could co-exist. Can you see Cuban meekly standing behind a Pres. Trump?

      But, one thing was interesting and I hope Lifer does a piece on it. That is: what Cuban sees as the benefit of a Trump candidacy. We’ve focused on the negative aspects of it, but why not have a dialogue about what Trump has contributed to the campaign? I think it would be most interesting.

  5. Firebug2006 says:

    Here’s an alternative. Lawrence Lessig has announced he will run as a Referendum candidate.

    • 1mime says:

      Actually, I agree with everything Lessig states he wants to achieve; however, he would be much more effective if he worked with the top Democratic candidates (Hillary and Bernie) to incorporate his ideas into their campaigns with his money and network as support. I would never support a candidate for the office of POTUS who plans to resign without serving the full term. That’s too limited an agenda, however worthy. He needs to “use” the political process to achieve his ends, not co-opt it then bail.

      This story led me to a VOX story that was also intriguing about the views of techno-nerds and altruism. The prevailing opinion of many of these young smart technological guys (mostly) was:

      “the best way to save the world is to do computer science research. Compared to that, multiple attendees said, global poverty is a “rounding error.”

      Where’s the love……………..?

      One valid point was to focus giving more like an investment- biggest bang for biggest buck. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate to boil charitable donations down to this lowest denominator. Sometimes there are small programs/projects that really are worthwhile just as there are major problems (Ebola, potable water) that are macro in size. They are all worthy.

  6. Anse says:

    What’s amazing is that not only can Trump trash Fox News anchors, not only can Trump defend Planned Parenthood, but he can regularly and openly trash the Republican Party…and he’s still gaining in the polls. All it takes, it seems, is trashing Mexicans and calling people stupid, and you can be a promising presidential candidate.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      This seems to jibe with my gut feeling that the far right tea party types have no loyalty or don’t truly identify with the Republican party. They’re basically “close enough” with regards to Democrats and they need at least ONE of the established party in order to have a national voice.

      What’s happening to the GOP is less of the GOP moving itself to the right and more of a coup where an outside group simply takes control of the Republican infrastructure. In essence, these are the true RINO’s. They are republican in name only.

      • Anse says:

        I don’t think they’re an “outside” group. I think they’re a group of voters that have been cultivated quite deliberately by the GOP over several years; the problem is that they’re now off the reservation, so to speak, and no longer under the party’s thumb. They aren’t even loyal to their own Tea Party movement anymore; some of those Tea Party groups have seen some serious in-fighting and turmoil.

        I will say, though, that this populist anger is nothing new. It comes up periodically throughout American history. For a long time, it was the Democrats who trafficked in this kind of nativist anger. Now it’s the GOP. And when this fever dream finally comes to an end, it will come back some time down the road.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree with Anse. No way the TP members identify with Dems on anything substantive. They are an off-shoot of the Republican Party that is extremely focused on a specific agenda – at this point. Very “I, Me, My”. That’s a strength and an over-arching weakness.

  7. Rob Ambrose says:

    Pretty extreme graphic showing arctic ice from only 1999 to right now.

    Man, that climate change. What a hoax, amirite?!

    I hope all those that are politically engaged in opposing any efforts to combat it because they’re too busy voting for the Koch Bros financial interests (and against their children’s and grandchildren) have started cooking up some pretty convincing excuses to tell their children in 30 years.

    “Grandpa, what did YOU do to prevent the catastrophe we now live with every day?” Is the new “Grandpa, what did YOU do during the war?”

    • Doug says:

      “But Walt Meier, a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Cryospheric Sciences Lab, said he’s concerned that the map leaves out some important details that might mislead the public. He noted that the 10th edition should show the total area of the existing ice at the end of the summer, which would include the remaining ice that was newly formed over the previous winter.”

      Meier is also concerned about relying on a single year—the new Arctic map draws from 2012 data, an extremely low year for ice cover.

      “If 2012 is shown, it is the record low year and probably overemphasizes the long-term trends. But if 2013, a higher year relative to recent years, is shown, it underemphasizes the trend. A potential solution would be to do an average over a few years.”

      “Ultimately,” noted Meier, “it is an editorial decision as to what to show and how.”

      So NG produces a map of the ice that doesn’t show all the ice, purely for political purposes. It’s really sad what’s happened to this once great organization.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Can you post the link that comes from Doug?

      • Doug says:

        It’s the very page where your image comes from.

        Meanwhile, the Danes show ice extent coming back near the long term average, terribly frustrating the “death spiral” crowd who said it was going to be ice free for a few years now.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well if it isn’t the pot calling the kettle black Doug. I guess YOU have forgotten how I had thoroughly debunked YOUR dishonest manipulation of one year of outlier data for your fervent and factless anti global warming agenda. Claiming that just because ONE year (1998) in the 20th century was warmer or as warm as the 21st Century “proved” that Global Warming was a scam. As you “conveniently” ignore the fact that almost all the years of this century so far have eclipsed global temperatures for ALL of the 20th century .

        Can’t remember your twisted “facts” so easily destroyed Doug? Well here’s a refresher:

        “From NOAA and NASA, ‘Both assessments noted that nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred during the 21st century [as of 2013]. Only one year in the 20th century — 1998, an extreme El Niño year – was warmer than 2013, NOAA noted.’

        NASA scientists say 2013 tied with 2009 and 2006 for the seventh warmest year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

        With the exception of 1998, the 10 warmest years in the 134-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the warmest years on record.

        Scientists emphasize that weather patterns always will cause fluctuations in average temperatures from year to year, but the continued increases in greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere are driving a long-term rise in global temperatures. Each successive year will not necessarily be warmer than the year before, but with the current level of greenhouse gas emissions, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous.”

        Tsk, tsk Doug. Have you no shame of your hypocrisy?

  8. duncancairncross says:

    Hi Guys
    Bobo asked about how other countries do it
    So here is NZ
    This is some proposed changes to family violence laws
    The discussion document is 60 pages –
    There is a video and several other useful documents and links
    Finally there is a link to the consultation form

    Anybody in NZ can comment – all of the comments then go back to the committee that produced the draft

    I also had a quick look at some of our actual legislation (it’s on the web)
    I opened the
    Property Law Act 2007
    Quite a biggy 370 pages!
    Starting with
    The purpose of this Act is to restate, reform, and codify (in part) certain aspects of the law relating to real and personal property.
    Basically it’s tidying up about 150 years of changes that didn’t necessarily agree with each other
    It’s pretty heavy but not incomprehensible

    • Bobo Amerigo says:


      How do citizens hear about the proposed legislation? Is it covered in news programming on radio and television? Do you have talking head programs that discuss it? Do they identify who is in favor and who is against it? Do you have political campaign spending limits? Lobbyists who office a few blocks from legislature?

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Bobo
        The news coverage is not very good!
        Even pretty damn awful
        Campaign spending limits
        Yes we have those and pretty good rules requiring all campaign documents to have
        “who paid for this” on the documents

        Lobbyists – almost no rules
        A Green Party MP tried to introduce a bill to make lobbying transparent in 2013 but the MP’s decided that NZ was small enough not to need it

  9. lomamonster says:

    The Plutocrat Party is almost here. Trump is just the lead scout who will find the rest of the eagle scouts and finish off typical politics for good. Just bidness, ladies and gentlemen…

  10. Hi Chris
    “Is politics becoming irrelevant”
    IMHO you guys start off with a huge boulder to push uphill
    Your “Separation of Powers”
    While keeping the Judiciary separate is a great idea separating the legislative and administrative powers is a problem

    The legislature does not have to administer the laws it creates
    This removes the incentive to make those laws easy to administrate and means that adding all sorts of bullshit becomes a plus (you can reward your friends) rather than a negative

    This is why you have laws and codes that are orders of magnitude thicker and more complex than the rest of us

    This then feeds into the public vision of government
    If you need to read a 2000 page before commenting on it almost nobody will actually get off their duffs and do so

    An unfortunate side effect of this is that because Hollywood provides most of our cultural background as well most anglophone nations don’t interact with politics as well as the non anglophone ones – the “assumption” is that the USA is the world and that everybody else’s legislation is as horribly complex as the USA so this reduces political interaction outside the USA

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      the “assumption” is that the USA is the world and that everybody else’s legislation is as horribly complex as the USA

      ^ Duncan, This always gets me.

      Whenever there’s extended discussion here of some piece of legislation — health care, internet management, treaties — some mainstream media outlets do a good job of explaining the legislation.

      I’m always left wanting, tho, because they seldom discuss how the same issue is handled in other countries.

      It seems all I’m sure of is our internet speeds are really embarrassing.

      • 1mime says:

        There’s that old American Exceptionalism again, Bobo! Sometimes I am amazed that the rest of the world functions…..There is much America can learn from other countries “if” we were humble and smart enough to take advantage of it. What incentive is there to learn if you already think you’re the best?

    • 1mime says:

      “If you need to read a 2000 page before commenting on it almost nobody will actually get off their duffs and do so”

      Of course, that doesn’t keep those same duffers from criticizing it, does it? Why waste time and effort trying to read and understand something when you can just throw spitballs at it?

  11. 1mime says:

    Lifer: “Almost all of the candidates are there to promote their book, solicit speaking engagements, audition for a TV show, or to sell Uncle Huckabee’s Down-Home, Biblical Cures For What Ails ‘Ya.”

    Don’t forget all the VP and cabinet wannabees (-:

    As I stated below, BLM is an effort whose time has come. I hope they’re wise enough to pace themselves so as not to lose credibility. Look for an HLM (Hispanic Lives Matter) next. The old white guys and gals (there are some really stupid broads out there too) are really gonna get their panties in a wad this campaign season! Can’t wait!!

    I did not know that the TP was behind the BLM disruption. Is this an infiltration by the Repubs to crush the positive reaction Bernie has been getting (and the GOP is NOT)? I hope the organizers of BLM will be careful with this pit of snakes cause they will stop at nothing to achieve their own goals – Their participation always has a cost. I know things like this go on (both parties) but, if the BLM lets their effort be co-opted by the TP, they will have wasted a valuable opportunity.

    To me, the most interesting statement in your post was this: “Can we function effectively if our public sphere is maintained only by a professional bureaucracy and our corporate leadership? Is there a backlash from sane citizens in the works somewhere? If so, how can I join?”

    Welcome to the world of other sane, frustrated people. It’s been a long seven years for me to watch the absurd Republican political hegemony and not give up totally. What has kept me going was the fact that Pres. Obama has had to get up each and every day, face this insulting, devious, obstructionist GOP cartel and still try to do his job for all of us. There must be days when he wanted to stay in bed. Yet, he persevered and so will you and I. You know the drill: support sane candidates (you know how to do that) with your efforts, money, and vote. Oh, and, while you’re at it – keep writing and educating and encouraging others to do the same. It’s all there is.

    If I could pick one person who I hope is a casualty of this debacle, it would be Grover Norquist. That man runs a close second to Dick Cheney in my book of despicable, narcissistic players.

    • Griffin says:

      It wasn’t a Republican hit job, the fact she was a Sarah Palin supporter indicates that she’s just your run of the mill political nut job who gets attracted to both the angriest and most lowbrow rhetoric she can. When Sarah Palin was having dumbed down faux populist ramblings against the Democrats/government she was drawn to that, and when she heard the BLM movement scream down candidates at Netroots she was drawn to that instead. If you read about a lot of these fringe movement figures (she’s also a member of an anarchist organization) they tend to have personality disorders and/or a penchent for wanting attention. The GOP isn’t scared of Sanders as of now, they’re scared of Clinton, they wouldn’t risk so much for so little gain.

      The parallels between the increasing radicalism of BLM/anarchist organzations and the New Left of the late 60’s is striking. Like the more extreme elements of the New Left they don’t want to be part of any party, they just want to be disruptive. That’s the big difference between them and the far-right Tea Party types. The far-right has enough consistant support (mainly in the South) and is payed enough lip service by the party to cause them to want to be a part of the GOP, the hard-left on the other hand just wants to sabotage anyone not as extreme as they are, perhaps because they are more obsessed with ideology and they don’t have the numbers to be effective electorally.

      Basically Chris is right that they are going to be a major thorn in the side of the Democratic Party and liberals in general so in the short term they will do some damage but their refusal to work within mainstream political entities means they probably won’t have the lasting impact that the far-right has had on the Republican Party. Until the hard-left burns itself out however (a process that may take a couple years) I imagine Ladd’s vision of our politics being a circus show will more-or-less play out.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I completely agree with this assessment, Griffin. I’ve got a friend who was a lawyer for the New Left in the 60s. He finds BLM infurating precisely because he had a front-row seat for this movie in its previous release, and knows exactly how it ends.

        And your characterization of the Seattle agitator is probably spot on, as well. A gay friend who was also at NN picked up on one subtext of the NN takeover that was largely lost in the aftermath, which is that most of the 80 or so protestors there (and both their leaders) were not only black and female, but also lesbian: in his words, “the angriest of the angry.” They have the least to lose, low political savvy, and the most attraction to the politics of rage. The Seattle woman came from a somewhat different place politically, but the id-driven rage was the same.

        But my original point here still stands: the fact that people (sanctioned by BLM, or not) are doing this, getting away with it, and even being hailed as successful only means that progressives are going to see a lot more of this brand of insanity before, as you say, it burns itself out. My big concern now is how much that burn is going to cost us before it’s cool.

        NN, for example, spent 10 years building itself up as a safe, credible place for mainstream Democrats to come hang out with the progressive wing of the party. (Hell — in 2008, they hosted one of the earliest Dem debates!) But I can’t imagine any presidential campaign or Senate staffer sending her candidate there now. NN has shown it can’t control its spaces, and it’s made too much room for people who value drama over dialogue — and those aren’t safe places for any politician to be. We likely won’t be seeing either Clinton, or anyone from Congress, or any national-level candidate there again. The upshot is that BLM inflicted hard, potentially fatal damage on a very solid and important piece of movement infrastructure — and they’ve told the rest of us to suck on it, because they couldn’t care less.

        And they’re pissed at us because we’re not good enough “allies.” As if any one of the 1200 people in that room weren’t already fully on board with their agenda.

        It’s going to be some wild times ahead while we get this one worked out. I’m standing with Ladd here: is there some third place we can go to and start something new in the meantime?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I don’t really consider the BLM movement all that radical. Their concerns are absurdly valid, they are sick of being murdered by police.

        As opposed to the far right (I. E. Oath keepers) whose concerns are farcical and fictitious (the government wants to herd Americans into concentration camps, the government wants to confiscate all guns etc).

        The difference is, one side has a legit grievance and one side does not.

        Interupting a speech by a liberal political rally (ostensibly because they consider Sanders the most likely person to be an ally. interrupting a republican rally would not gain them any ground and they know this) is not nearly as radical as a bunch of heavily armwd white outsiders “patrolling” a black neighbourhood in a blatant attempt to stir up racial tensions.

        Does anybody honestly think that the OK’s are there to “protect black people”? A quick perusal of around 95% of the comments at infowars and Breitbaet about this story should dissuade one from that fallacy.

        Until the BLM starts patrolling police conventions with military grade semiautomatic weapons and body armor, the two are not in the same league.

      • Griffin says:

        @Rob I agree their concerns are valid and no they aren’t as extreme as a right-wing militia but they don’t seem very politically savvy as they’ve essentially “spent” their political capital on getting Sanders to write down views he already held. Other liberal/moderate politicians are in a much more comfortable position to shrug off a BLM protest than they would have been a month ago because the perception from the political mainstream is “oh look even the liberal candidate isn’t enough for them”. Clinton will pay them lip service but that’s it and the conservatives are using them as a “currency” to show how tough they are so now that they’ve used most of their influence on Sanders they’ve effectively cashed in all their chips with him, so they better hope he wins the nomination.

        If they wanted to be more effective they would have specific legislation (I think representative Conyers has done good work in this area) that they would have candidates promise to support whie in office, but all they’ve done is annoy their allies. BLM isn’t reaching PETA levels of political insignificance (among the mainsteam at least) but unfortunately they are fast approaching it.

      • 1mime says:

        Effectiveness is the challenge for minorities trying to participate in the political process. They are inexperienced because they have been excluded from party organizations outside their own sphere. That doesn’t make their issues less valid, however, and an astute politician from either party would capitalize on this opportunity to reach out and offer support, as Bernie Sanders has done. Sadly, the Black and Hispanic communities will need more help until they develop the sophistication to assert themselves effectively in the legislative process rather than the act of simple voting (which isn’t so simple due to the repressive restrictions imposed by the Republicans). I can’t fault them. They will need our help to engage in the process in a meaningful way. It will come but there will be mistakes along the way. MLK understood how to work the system, but for that, he was killed.

  12. flypusher says:

    Jeez, Trump didn’t just break the internet, he broke all the &@&%#€£ media! There’s no escape from him; it’s like a “Twilight Zone” episode. My prediction is so much toast; I’ll keep my day job.

    One other thing that fans the flames of political dysfunction- our election cycles are too $@&%#¥^ long!!! No doubt there are 1st Amendment issues, but I really wish we could copy Great Britain (IIRC) and limit campaigns to just 6 weeks. Things are totally nuts already and we have more than a year to go?? Bllleeaaaaahhh.

    • rightonrush says:

      Naw, nothing could possibly go wrong with a bunch of armed Bubba’s doing their “duty”. Wonder if the shoe was on the other foot and a group of heavily armed young (or not so young) black men decided to do the same. Of course that is what the Bubba’s are wanting to happen. The cops
      are in a no win situation brought on by a lack of common sense by a few of them and their elected officials.

      • texan5142 says:
      • texan5142 says:
      • 1mime says:

        TX, these clips illustrate just how much work is needed to change how differently law enforcement responds to the races. A clip is not the entire context, but it certainly looked bad for law enforcement. Black people are learning the necessity of documentation to educate others about how egregiously they are treated. What a shame this is necessary. So very sad. At the very least there should be consistency.

        What say our gun rights commentators?

      • Doug says:

        “TX, these clips illustrate just how much work is needed to change how differently law enforcement responds to the races.”

        No, they illustrate that it’s racist to assume that a person is black because he has cornrows. That guy is not black.

    • flypusher says:

      I suspect their motives are similar to those of that open carry group that had planned to march through the 5th Ward. They want to advertise that they are armed.

    • 1mime says:

      Well, Rob, it worked for ’em with Jade Helm. They’re on a roll…..stoked, totally stoked! I always love to scan the comments on pieces like this. Here are the top two: (my favorite was the second one by Dave). And we wonder why Black people are so angry? From what I could tell from the article, they didn’t even get arrested or detained….

      All white, heavily-armed vigilantes standing ground in a predominantly black, riot-torn neighbourhood – what could possibly go wrong?

      What would happen if 4 similarly armed black men patrolled a white neighbourhood?

      Speaking to Viking’s plaintiff lament below regarding the state of unrest in America and the potential for insurrection – I do feel there is a growing militancy as evidenced by the four White armed men in Ferguson, and again at the Jade Helm exercises. Normally, these things simply flash and disappear, but when you have the TX Governor actually paying lip service to these wingnuts, and no apparent means of government to legally detain or arrest them, where will it stop?

      Viking, until there is more order by our Congress that directs its focus on governing rather than disruption, these fringe elements will be an extension of the dysfunctional government they are witnessing daily. The danger is if they expand and coalesce into a single force. That would be frightening. This is an area where the NRA could provide positive leadership, but it hasn’t. This is an area where strong governors could take control, but they haven’t. When you have a Congress that snubs a sitting President by inviting a foreign leader to speak against him, the message that sends to people with small minds and big mouths and guns is that anything goes. The “bully” is re-born and validated by the power structure, whether by absence of authority or the wrong action.

      I hope our concerns are never realized, but there does seem to be an unrest and sense of empowerment among people.

  13. briandrush says:

    I can understand why you would be feeling discouraged right now. However, let me offer a bit of encouragement, for what it’s worth.

    In regard to those poll numbers, bear in mind that only 29% of the electorate identify as Republicans, so if 51% of Republicans support one of those three candidates, that comes down to about 15% of the electorate. No president can be elected without the votes of those who refuse to use the party label. It is a problem for next year’s nomination contest, but you already knew there were problems in that.

    Also, it’s August 2015. A lot of things will happen between now and this time next year when the candidate will actually be nominated. It could still happen that a loony bird will be nominated, but this is probably a good year for that to happen, since the GOP is going to lose anyway. Let the old angry white men get it out of their system, and enough of them will die between now and 2020 that things will look very different then. Plus, a bad electoral loss will help to discredit them. The GOP might well need this in order to come to its senses and begin restoring health to our politics.

    On the Democratic side, I’m going to disagree with your take on the incident with Sanders and the BLM activists. True, it caused him some discomfort, but he needed that. Racial issues are one of the few areas where his rhetoric — although not his actions in elected office — is out of touch. He needed that wake-up call, and he seems to be responding to it well.

    If you’re questioning the relevance or reality-sense of the Black Lives Matter movement itself, well, that’s perhaps a discussion for another time. For now, suffice it to say that while there are indeed some out-of-touch movements on the left, that isn’t one of them.

    As for the overall question of whether we have lost our civic sense, I believe this is a generation-cycle phenomenon. One should not expect much civic consciousness in the Silent, Boomers, or Xers, and the GIs are mostly gone; however, there’s plenty of it, and plenty of rational activism, among Millennials. We’re in a major transition, similar to the 1930s and ’40s in scope (although actually resembling the 1860s/1870s more in internal dynamic) and things always look worst with the civic order as it’s approaching a necessary overhaul.

    • vikinghou says:

      The last paragraph of your post sort of falls in line with mine below. Like you say, a major upheaval will be needed to set things right.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Do I detect another devotee of Strauss & Howe here? It’s a powerful theory, and it explains a lot about where we are right now.

      • briandrush says:

        Yes, that’s what I was talking about. We’re in a Crisis era. It looks like the whole system is falling to ruin because — well, because it is. But that’s necessary for the rebuilding.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the reference to Strauss & Howe. I want to read their work on Millennials. So many great books, so little time…….

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Nice post. If Im reading correctly, it seems like you’re takeaway is thay even thou gh things seem really bad, it’s always darkest before the dawn?

      Interesting article by salon yesterday that kind of sup ports. Draws some paralels between now and the 30’s, the last time wealth inequality was this bad. We got The New Deal out of it, sort of a compromise between society and the 1%. A bit of socialism to save the capitalism.

      As we’ve discussed here before, the 1% need to take an interest in fixing this huge problem too. It does them no good to be the masters of a destroyed society, or they could very well preside over a social revolution that does not end well for them (how much did the French aristocrats wish they had been proactive about inequality when they were marched to the guillotine?)

      The fact that you have billionaires noticing the dire situation we are in and finally realizing they cannot wall themselves off from what is coming if things don’t get better gives me some hope.

      We may be in for some huge changes over the next few years, massive redistribution programs (similar to all the programs that came out of the New Deal) that are designed to fix the issue of income inequality. Obamacare was the first one. the biggest redistribution program since eht ND. Almost all of the beneficiaries are in the bottom 20% of earners, and the cost is almost entirely coming from the top 20%. Which explains why they hate it so much and why they’ve rallied the rubes on the far right wing to oppose it, even though it doesn’t hurt them.and mostly benefits them.

      There will be more in the coming years, such as higher minimum wage, strengthened labor unions , bettwr workers benefits etc.

      The fact that it will be the 1% leading the charge on this shows how serious the situation is. They’ve bled the middle class dry for 40 years, and they’re starting to realize people are going to fight back now.

      It’s an exciting time for America. Change is in the air and people sense that. That’s why Sanders is getring such huge crowds.

    • Firebug2006 says:

      WASHINGTON — A day after being interrupted by Black Lives Matters protesters at a campaign event in Seattle, Washington, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released a detailed platform on combating racial inequality.

      Sanders is indeed dealing with it well. And I completely agree with your take on Millennials. I’m holding my breath that we’re right.

      • 1mime says:

        Here’s a link to Sanders’ platform on racial equality. I’ll say this for Bernie, he certainly has the energy required for the duties of POTUS. He drew the largest crowd of all presidential candidates (20K) in his Portland, OR rally. An interesting man and he’s making inroads with the American people.

        BTW, for those who haven’t visited Sanders’ website, do so. It’s laid out in a very clear, interesting format. Not your usual “I’m running for Pres” type. Here’s a link:

  14. texan5142 says:

    I have seen the future and it is idiocracy!

  15. johngalt says:

    “Can we function effectively if our public sphere is maintained only by a professional bureaucracy and our corporate leadership?”

    I think that would be a fine way to go…for members of that professional bureaucracy and corporate leadership. For the rest of us, it will be a cluster-f.

  16. tuttabellamia says:

    My personal advice, to cure what ails ya:

    1. Don’t take polls too seriously, especially preliminary ones.
    2. Don’t lose focus of the big picture. Media frenzies are temporary.
    3. Take a break from internet “news” and read the print version of the newspaper. It will ground you.

    It’s not as bad as you think.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      There is a silent, sane majority out there. Not everyone feeds off the 24/7 news cycle, nor does the 24/7 news cycle, or polls, represent all of political reality. We have fallen into the trap of the entertainment industry by believing it has won the battle. We are giving way too much power to the entertainers.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I will venture to say that many of the people participating in these polls won’t even bother to vote. They just happened to answer the phone at the right moment. Or they will be so glued to their computers, bickering about politics on social media, that they will forget to vote.

  17. rightonrush says:

    Well, that didn’t take long at all. raising only a little over $1 million for his campaign by the end of June, Rick Perry has stopped paying campaign staff members, aides said, an indication that his funds have all but dried up.

    Mr. Perry, a former Texas governor who is trying to resurrect his presidential hopes after a failed bid for the Republican nomination in 2012, has not indicated to aides when he will be able to begin paying them again, according to members of his staff.

    • 1mime says:

      And Jindal and Santorum are in the same boat……who knows, maybe they’ll have to get a “real” job. All of these men have been in politics their entire lives. It’s about time they find out how the rest of America works….being paid for actual work. I can’t wait for the next chapter in their little lives….Of course, they’ll probably all end up on K St or the like (-: (That street must be getting reeeel crowded with all the “ex’s” seeking more time at the public trough!)

      • Sara Robinson says:

        No, that’s right: they are destined to make far more money now that their public careers are over. Having “presidential candidate” on the resume is just the cherry on top, and should net them another couple hundred thou a year from Goldman Sachs or whatever lobbying firm hires them when they turn private.

    • 1mime says:

      And, to think we were hoping we’d seen the last of Rick Perry! Turns out his campaign (meaning – regular donations) is broke, but his super pak has $17M+. Despite what we would like to believe is a separation of candidate and super paks, here’s the real story:

      “Just three (3) very rich donors spotted $15.3 million of that. In other words, Rick Perry is only in this race because three (3) very rich people get a kick out of him, and now they own him. It is democracy presented by plutocrats. Maybe something like, say, a strong matching funds system would be a more democratic means of improving democracy. Or Rick Perry could just drop out because who cares.

      Super PAC adviser Austin Barbour said he anticipated after the campaign’s financial filing last month that the super PACs would need to step up and do some of the responsibilities traditionally handled by campaigns, such as building a ground organization. ”

      Where is the separation of candidate and pak that SCOTUS promised? Do they even care?

      So, Righton, don’t tear up your Perry bumper sticker just yet….he’s got millions more before he quits. (kidding, Right on….I know you don’t support this dude.)

  18. csarneson says:

    Chris I think you are missing the point with Bernie. The crowds aren’t drawn to him because of his liberal policies. They are drawn to him because of his humility and honesty. Both are the exact opposite of Hillary. I think O’Malley would be a great option if he were even a tiny bit more dynamic. He just comes across as dull.

    • rightonrush says:

      What you see is what you get with Bernie Sanders. He’s short on bullshit and I like that.

      • texan5142 says:

        Sanders has my vote, he is the only honest politician out there who does not use doublespeak.

    • 1mime says:

      Oh, I don’t think it’s just his humility and honesty, Csar, Sanders is broaching subjects that have an audience. He is offering plans to address real problems being faced by real people, and he’s doing it “craigslist-style” as you point out. Direct and no frills. There is much to be admired for that approach especially for its impact on the Clinton campaign. He is forcing the issue on the left and Hillary will be a better candidate and president for Sander’s courageous campaign. How delightful to have someone like Bernie out there! I’m loving it even if I plan to vote for Hillary. Say what you like about the Democratic Party, it’s a lot more sane and relevant than the one the GOP is running!

    • Firebug2006 says:

      Sanders also has enormous integrity. He’s held the same political positions throughout the decades he has been in office.

  19. Chris D. says:

    I feel you. As a former Republican turned centrist Democrat (aka DINO) who lives in one of America’s premier liberal enclaves, I can assure you that your faith in a coming leftwing meltdown is a bit premature. Sure, if you go to a local Democratic Party event, the foremost issues facing America will be 1) multi-modal, 2) GMOs, and 3) alternative energy. (Sometimes drones will show up in the list.) But, lefties are so much more easily appeased by the Wall Street crowd as compared to contrary-headed Tea Party nativists that it will make your head spin. That shutdown of the Sanders appearance in Seattle was a fluke that will do more to set the Black Lives Matter movement back than to harm Bernie among the bourgeois white left that votes in primaries. Black voters know that FoxNews watchers are cheering for the cops to kill them, so they will rebound to whomever the Democrats nominate. American politics has always been about which party can control its extremists better, and right now the hard-right swing of the GOP is doing all the Democrats’ work for them. If the GOP ever swings back center, the Democrats could be in trouble in ways that don’t relate to ideological rather than geographic disadvantages. But, both parties will not fly off the rails at the same time–only in alternate cycles.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      A bit of history: the shutdown of Sanders in Seattle was the second time in three weeks #BLM had hijacked one of his events. (I know: I was in the third row when they did it the first time, at Netroots Nation in Phoenix.) So this is now A Thing — and the perceived success of the tactic is helping ensure that any progressive organizer who makes the effort to book a space, assemble an audience, and set an agenda can pretty much count on having the event stolen out from under him/her by other parties who can’t or won’t do the work themselves.

      This seems to me like the first way in which the chaos Chris predicts will manifest on the left. The fact that it seems to be working for #BLM pretty much ensures that we’re in for a long season in which people will never know if they rally or meeting they’re turning out for will actually be the one they end up attending. We’re hurtling toward a point where whoever can throw the biggest tantrum first is going to own the moment, which effectively means that we will be ruled by children and bullies.

      Incoherence can’t help but follow. And, based on the reactions here in Seattle (I live here, but was not at the Sanders rally on Saturday — and am very glad not to have gone through that a second time), we will also lose the goodwill of saner folks who agree with our principles but are horrified by the shitshows our gatherings have become.

      As a longtime progressive blogger, I’m disgusted by all of this, and wondering where to flee. This is not the movement I worked to build, and I’m looking for the exit.

      • 1mime says:

        Don’t leave the movement, change it, Sara! I’ve been active in Democratic politics for a very long time. The new message in the protests of BLM is that Black people have finally figured out a way to gain a voice to express their anger and frustration with a nation that has ignored and disenfranchised them. Take it too far and they will lose effectiveness, just as the wingnuts on the right are. Believe me, the next new thing will be HLM (Hispanic Lives Matter). Minorities are fighting for relevance and a voice in the process. I am neither surprised to see it emerge nor discouraged by it. They will learn what works and what doesn’t. What do they have to lose, after all? They want a seat at the table – not as the cooks and waiters, but as guests.

        Having said this, they lose if they don’t know when to apply the brakes.

      • flypusher says:

        Picking fights with allies is a sure fire way to undermine your cause. Were I in Bernie’s shoes, at my next rally I’d state in no uncertain terms what the rules are, and how people will be expected to behave. Anyone who disrupts will immediately be ejected (and there would be enough security on hand to do it). I’d make it clear that while I am sympathetic to the cause, I will not put up with such disruption.

        And while I’m giving out unsolicited advice, some for the #BlackLivesMatter crowd- even the most worthy cause will be undermined if you build upon a lie. Case in point, “hands up don’t shoot”:

        There’s plenty of reasons to protest the way law enforcement operated in Ferguson. But the Michael Brown shooting is the “wrong hill to die on”. There’s plenty of other shootings where to evidence of police wrongdoing is very clear. I really can’t work up sympathy for Brown.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I know. I saw that, and wasn’t even particularly surprised. (My domain as a blogger has been covering religious and political authoritarianism, and I’ve also done a fair amount of academic work in the space.)

        But of course, you can’t bring that up among my progressive friends, because that’s Picking On Black People, which is never OK. I actually got slapped down fairly hard by a long-time co-blogger for this. Ironically: if the person doing the disruption had been white, he’d have been the first one writing about how the religious right was trying to ratfuck the Sanders campaign. But since this would-be ratfucker was black and female, any discussion of her religious views can only be motivated by racism. So: nothing to see here, and certainly nothing to talk about. Move along.

        That’s the kind of crazy that’s happening on our side now.

      • flypusher says:

        “But since this would-be ratfucker was black and female, any discussion of her religious views can only be motivated by racism. So: nothing to see here, and certainly nothing to talk about. Move along.”

        I’ve sawn those attitudes in some of the lefty sites I peruse. I don’t have any patience with that- part of truly being treated equal as that you get criticized too.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        1mime, I agree that BLM is burning out white allies at a rate that’s unsustainable over anything but the short term, and that this will right itself. The sad thing is that their cause is necessary and righteous; and it deserves far more foresighted leadership than it’s getting. There are a lot of Americans — right and left — who are livid over the way our police operate now. All of those people are their natural allies. But they’d rather piss those folks off than try to build something effective with them, which is not a recipe for success.

        Flypusher, you’ve hit on something else that’s bothering me (yeah, I’ve been annoyed for a while, and my laundry list is long and getting longer), which is the fact-challenged storytelling that supports BLM’s underlying mythologies. Ask most progressives where Trayvon Martin was when George Zimmerman shot him, and they will draw a total blank. Nobody knows that Martin was sitting on top of Zimmerman, straddling his waist and repeatedly smashing his head against a concrete curb — a situation that definitely met any state’s standard of self-defense. The hospital took photos of the bloody mess that was the back of Zimmerman’s head.

        Of course, mentioning this inconvenient fact will only you get you accused of bad taste, or outright racism. The facts of the situation don’t matter. The emotional truth is all that counts.

        You note that similar rewrites have taken place regarding Michael Brown’s shooting. Sandra Bland’s death is already being definitively described as a a “murder,” though there is zero evidence to support such a claim at this time. And yeah: I’m acutely aware of how much of American culture is based in perceptions, not facts; but it seems to me that having nailed-down facts on your side should be a strategic non-negotiable when you’re black and confronting a white power establishment that’s actively looking for reasons to disbelieve you.

        As it is, I don’t feel that I can accept BLM’s state “truth” about any of these tragic situations. Instead, my first reaction is to take everything they tell me with a very large grain of salt, and wonder what pertinent facts they’re leaving out. Again: this isn’t the way to win committed allies, and it gives your enemies all kinds of ways to wriggle free.

      • flypusher says:

        Yeah, the Bland case is getting crazy; never let it be said that only righties subscribe to nutty conspiracy theories. They’re got the state trooper dead-to-rights on unprofessional conduct. He absolutely needs to never work in law enforcement again. Likewise there’s probably a case to be made against at least one jail employee for negligence. Again, someone who needs to be fired, but going from that to murder is an unjustified leap of logic.

        Zimmerman should have stayed in his car. Martin should have kept on walking home. Bad choices can have serious negative synergy.

      • Chris D. says:

        That whole interruption was orchestrated by one young woman who appears to be a serial agitator who doesn’t represent anyone but herself. Seattle and other liberal hotbeds are full of discontented and fractional lefties who fancy themselves radical change-agents when they’re just self-important, attention-seeking blowhards. But, you won’t find 51% of Democrats are going to support Bill Maher for president just because he has a TV show and likes to “tell it like it is.” This is just a lesson that Democratic candidates will have to control their events better. Plenty of highly-paid consultants will figure that out in a jiffy.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:


        “Picking fights with allies is a sure fire way to undermine your cause.”

        There is a school of thought that Malcolm X was a bigger cause of the mindset/cultural shift than was MLK.

        Malcolm X made lots of folks uncomfortable, made a lot of allies uncomfortable, and was taking more extreme positions, making the more moderate MLK more tolerable to White America.

        While I do not think that is the master plan for BLM, making Democrats uncomfortable is probably a good thing. Making Democrats work a bit more for Black votes beyond simply getting the vote out would be a net positive.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, you’re right HH. Dems efforts to help Blacks in comparison with Republicans, is notable, but so much more is needed. Video clips like TX posted of how differently the races are treated for the same open carry situation, speaks volumes – but you have to be listening and willing to act.

      • flypusher says:

        “There is a school of thought that Malcolm X was a bigger cause of the mindset/cultural shift than was MLK.”

        Malcolm X did moderate his views after he took his pilgrimage to Mecca. I’ve got a copy of his autobiography (as told to Alex Haley) in one of my bookshelves, a momento from my freshman American history class. It was quite an eye opener. My thoughts while reading it were how his life experiences were so different from mine, and despite living in the same country, we in sense were living on different planets.

        “Malcolm X made lots of folks uncomfortable, made a lot of allies uncomfortable, and was taking more extreme positions, making the more moderate MLK more tolerable to White America.”

        You could argue that that discomfort was useful in stinging the consciences of White people who didn’t want to face the reality that was racial injustice. But for those White people who were already actively involved in the Civil Rights movement?

        “While I do not think that is the master plan for BLM, making Democrats uncomfortable is probably a good thing. Making Democrats work a bit more for Black votes beyond simply getting the vote out would be a net positive.”

        Definitely the Dems can rightly be accused of taking Black votes for granted (another reason why the GOP going off the deep end is a bad thing). But if you’re going to raise a ruckus, what’s ultimately a better target, one of Bernie’s speeches, or various city council/ county commissioners meetings? The Feds can get the DOJ involved, but there’s too many of these corrupt little municipal fiefdoms for them to take all of them over. There’s a lot of rot at the local level, which IMO contradicts the claims that local government is always better and always the answer.

      • 1mime says:

        Local government may share the rot but at least it is local, meaning, you can get in the face of the official and you can vote on him/her.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Protesting the local politician doesn’t get you on national TV and have people commenting on blogs 1500 miles away.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Sometimes, local politics does move the national agenda — and garner national press. In fact: the day before BLM disrupted Bernie’s speech in Phoenix, there had been a major protest of Joe Arpaio’s policing tactics in front of Arpaio’s HQ downtown. Most NN attendees were there. So were the people who would go on to harass Sanders the next day. The NN leadership chose Phoenix in no small part so they could focus both media and activist attention on Arizona’s immigration issues in just this way.

        So these women seized the stage of known and proven allies. In fact, the meeting they hijacked was probably the biggest group of friends and allies that will assemble in Arizona this year.

        Confronting Arpaio takes real guts (and because NN brought a thousand protestors and network cameras along, it helped make that moment safer for everyone involved). Confronting Donald Trump, who was in town just a week before NN, would have taken even more guts. These are very real, serious targets — and there would have been real and serious consequences for getting up in their faces. If BLM had tried to take over a Trump event, Arpaio would have had them broiling in tent prisons before CNN could have cut to commercial. And it would have taken some real and serious courage to do that.

        Instead, these activists chose to bust up a meeting of the very people who had marched beside them just the day before. On the courage scale, it’s not exactly on a par with getting on busses in Montgomery or crossing a bridge to meet hundreds of Southern cops with guns and dogs — and these women are insulting the legacy of their civil rights ancestors to say that it is.

        Experienced activists know that disruptive tactics are the end of the line — the last step you take against your very worst enemies after all other tactics have repeatedly failed. OTOH, if this is how you choose to welcome friends, you are not likely to keep them as friends. This is not a mistake Malcolm or Martin would have made.

  20. Glandu says:

    Welcome to France, 2007(or 2012, the color changed, not the flavor).

    François Miterrand is said to have said, on its deathbed “Now than Jacques Chirac has been elected president, anyone can be elected president”. Apocryph or not, it’s spot on.

    A friend of mine, who began in trotskyst parties, and is currently in Brussels, hunting for money launderers, but still politically active, said me that EVERY European party, left, centre, and right, has the same structure :

    At the bottom, you’ll find plenty of good people, some smart, some motivated, some energic, some with managerial capabilities, etc… At the top, you’ll find only communicators. People who spend their day form morning to evening thinkin about “how to be more popular”. Hollande is a clown, Sarkozy is a clown, and LePen(who could very well be our next president) is a clown. But they are efficiently communicating clowns. And they 100% act to be in the center of the attention, and to catch voter’s interest.

    I don’t know what you think about gay wedding, but in France, it’s a reform that took 4 lines in the civil code. and 6 months of psychodrama. And it was on purpose : those clowns used it as a smoke screen to hide the fact that they are clowns, unable to solve any real problem. I’lm not shocked they did it : it was in their program, they were elected, and their political support were insistant on that point. I’m shocked the way they did it. 6 months for 4 lines of law. Arggggghhhhhhhhh. And nothing else in the meantime. 40 ministers, 577 “deputés”, 389 senators…….

    And I shall not be shocked. It is the political circus of today, useless morons who act only for their own image. If you are very lucky, you’ll find a Donald Tusk who didn’t destroy Poland when he was prime minister. But that’s like loto. Most of the time, you get an unholy mix of Donald Trump & François Hollande that makes virtually nothing but noise & random stupid actions for the sake of their popularity. Donald Trump is not an accident. He’s a normal result of today’s democracies. And from today’s medias.

    The root of that evil lies on the way media work now : they will systematically enforce the nuttiest politician, because they’re gonna sell more newspapers/tv ads/whatever. In France, we’ve got serious politicians who can advance things, Alain Juppé, Bruno Le Maire, Martine Billard… But they are systematically ignored by the media. Not crazy enough. The ones that would fit the stupidest reality shows, on the other hand, are praised. Hollande, Sarkozy, Valls, Montebourg, Morano, media love them, because the average TV watcher likes to watch them. They are so out of bounds….. And Bruno LeMaire is trying to look more crazy than he is to get more visibility.

    And your description of US politics matches perfectly my french experience. I’m sure you can replace all my french names by US-based names, and get a result perfectly understandable. I’m just not sure you have a Donald Tusk, or who it might be.

  21. stephen says:

    Webster a moderate Republican beat Grayson in the first congressional seat Grayson won. Florida as a whole is moderate and in the center politically. Which is why Grayson ran in another district for congress much more Hispanic and left bent the following election and won. Grayson may or not win the primary but certainly will not the general. This is why there is a movement to put a state constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot to have open primaries with the two most vote getters running against each other in the general just like California and several other states do. This has bipartisan support. The loony tunes taking over is a problem both main political parties have with us Republicans the worst affliction.

  22. vikinghou says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen the country so polarized on so many levels. I suppose the times surrounding the Civil War may have been similar. Today there are bitter differences along the lines of income inequality, urban vs. rural, race relations, religion, science, gender, etc. Furthermore, while liberals and conservatives may have had disdain for each other historically, the level of enmity we see today is over the top. As has been discussed here many times, both parties used to have centrist cores that overlapped. Today, those cores are gone and the parties are now in separate mutually hostile bunkers. And the various news outlets reinforce the the divide. I can barely stand to watch Fox News for more than five minutes, and I’m sure there are conservatives who feel the same way about MSNBC.

    The seeds for another Civil War may be here but, unlike the 1860s, there is no clear geographic boundary separating the complicated set of divisions (yet). As Chris has pointed out, it’s likely that, after the 2016 election, the Senate map will look red below the Mason-Dixon line and blue above, with a few red mountain West states. It’s hard for me to imagine that another American Civil War would be feasible in the 21st century, but I wonder…. Am I being alarmist?

  23. Martin says:

    What can you expect after years of pounding from Fox News. People are wired to absorb and relate to what they hear on TV. It is not their fault.

    This same radical sentiment exists in European politics, but it is kept at bay by a multi-party system where consensus remains possible one issue at a time. Our political system is unable to deal with the complexities of our time. We are locked into a two-party system because of the way we elect representatives in a winner-takes-all manner one district at a time. It is an antiquated system that lays at the root of all evil. Compare this to proportional representation. The silver lining I see in the distance is the fact that we could change this one state at a time.

    • 1mime says:

      “People are wired to absorb and relate to what they hear on TV. It is not their fault.”

      It is their fault, Martin! That is part of the problem. People need to take responsibility for the choices they make. It takes time and commitment, but Democracy is worth it. I do not give anyone a pass for not thinking, digging, or asking tough questions. I have always felt I could make a difference as an individual, and, when I have focused my energy, I have. The problem is that too few people in America have the time, or take the time to think critically and develop well-informed, independent positions – including (most of all) the candidates available to us. Once a person develops their core beliefs, the issues and the electoral choices are clearer. It takes effort. The saddest part is that my informed vote (regardless what someone else thinks of it) can be completely neutralized by someone who watches FOX news non-stop.
      These are the people you are speaking about but I posit that they are the noisey minority.

      THAT is discouraging, but I will never quit trying to have an influence on the politics that surrounds me, and I think there are enough people like me that this will save our political process, and our country’s future.

      Take hope, Lifer, sanity does prevail even though it looks differently to people.

  24. texan5142 says:

    Love that movie.

  25. If you figure out how to join, let us know, so that we can too. I left one party, and just about to leave the other one too.

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