Thursday, April 14, 2016

Zakaria: Donald Trump doesn't respect a legitimate need for partisan politics


Fareed Zakaria has a nice op-ed about the changes in our primary system, since 1988, turning ordinary political operations into a preview “plebiscite”. When the GOP wants to go back to an older way of doing things to get an electable candidate, Trump whines, that the “people” are neglected, almost as if Trump had been sitting by me in a drafty Newark NJ rowhouse spying on Benjamin Spock’s People’s Party in December 1972, just before my own fun started.

The more recent systems have tended to encourage the loudest voices and the most indignant (and narrow-minded) to claim attention.  This may provide some insight into how orderly, advanced societies have fallen for extremism in the past, sometimes with catastrophic results.

As Zakaria points out, we need democracy, which means we need politics, and we need parties.  We do need people to work together and sometimes sacrifice some of their own agendas to help get things done.  In old fashioned politics, that sounds too much like “good-old-boy” networks.  Or like fund raising and getting out the vote, and approaching people.
 
Perhaps the rise of Trump has been aided by a social change where people don’t like to be approached, to work together and compromise on things as much as they would have had to in the lower tech past.

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