Sunday, March 6, 2016

Political Realignment in the US

The election continues to grind on, and the number of thoughts in my head dedicated to politics continues to tick upwards.

Given the continuing influence of Trump, and the increasing bashing of him from the Republican establishment, there have been a number of articles coming out about how it seems like we may see a party realignment in the US, along the lines of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act and Nixon pursuing the southern strategy. For example; by FiveThirtyEight, by Vox, and by miscellaneous academics.

The immediate reason people are talking about the potential for a realignment is Trump's unorthodox views combined with the Republican establishment's hatred of him, reaching a point where former Republican presidential candidates are pleading that people not vote for him. More generally, I and many others have been frustrated with the political process in this country over the last decade, and there are many still suffering economically after the Great Recession. The potential for realignment can be seen to some extent on the left with Bernie Sanders putting up a significant challenge to Hillary Clinton.

So, what might come of this? I have a combination of hope, excitement, and dread. Yes, I do think our currently political system is horribly corrupt and broken, and do want to see it shaken up and made functional. For the excitement, living in interesting times is at least interesting. With the dread, I do not exactly trust a good share of America. Still, if I want change, a time of upheaval might be my best hope.

With asking for political change, and seeking to take advantage of a potential party realignment. I should first figure out what it is I want out of the political system. I do not perfectly agree with any of the current candidates. Bernie Sanders might be the closest, but is certainly not perfect. I do know that I'll never find a candidate that agrees perfectly with me on every issue, unless I am one day so foolish as to run myself, but I at least want a narrative I agree with. I in part think we are ripe for a realignment, because there is no gripping, agreeable narrative, other than a terrifying fear of the other side.

As a software developer, first step is to define what you want. Write out a spec. So, what do I want with our political system? What should that narrative be?

And yes, yes, that is a broad open-ended question, but I should keep it somewhat contained, otherwise I'll be dreaming of a post-national anarchist utopia out of the dreams of David Graeber. To keep things at least somewhat in line with America, what might I hope for?

To be continued later as I flesh out these half finished thoughts.

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