Ideological sorting

In the course of a column on a recent Medicare bill, Michael Gerson observes that in the not-too-distant-past there were liberal Republicans (in the northeast) and conservative Democrats (in the past).  Back then, lawmakers could form coalitions with kindred spirits across the aisle to pass legislation.  But now both parties have undergone “ideological sorting,” so that Democrats are virtually all liberal and Republicans are virtually all conservative.  Thus, votes are along party lines, and the only hope of advancing an agenda is to win a big enough majority to steamroll the other party.  This is why, he says, our politics is so polarizing and it is so difficult to get legislation passed.

Read what Mr. Gerson says after the jump and consider the questions I raise. [Read more...]

Carly Fiorina for president?

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carla Fiorina is starting a run for the Republican presidential nomination.  She is pro-life, fiscally-conservative, and of the female persuasion.  Then again, she has never held public office and her tenure at Hewlett-Packard was not completely successful.  Still, maybe she could give Hillary Clinton a run for the money.  What do you think about a Carla Fiorina candidacy? [Read more...]

GOP establishment wooing Jeb Bush

A number of Republican leaders and donors–motivated by pragmatism and looking for a candidate who is moderate enough to actually win the next presidential election–are trying to persuade Jeb Bush to run.  Of course, these are the same win-at-any-cost pragmatists who gave us Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Whatever the virtues of Jeb Bush, the Bush “brand” is surely a liability, and choosing candidates from a family dynasty is surely a monarchical instinct and unworthy of a free republic.  (The same holds true for Clintons and Kennedys.)  Or am I missing something? [Read more...]

Millennials aren’t so liberal after all

Contrary to the conventional wisdom that paints the Millennial generation as being the new base of Democratic party liberalism, studies show that their political beliefs are much more complicated than that.  As Kirsten Power points out, Millennials are more likely to support gay marriage than other demographic groups, but they are less likely to support abortion.

Their main political characteristics are independence, changeability, pragmatism, and disdain for static ideologies.  That means Democrats can’t take them for granted and Republicans have a shot at their votes. [Read more...]

Shutdown countdown

The federal government runs out of money at the end of the day today and will shut down tomorrow unless the House of Representatives and Senate can strike a deal to keep the money flowing.  Republicans, who control the House, are saying they won’t pass such a resolution unless Obamacare is delayed for a year.  (They earlier wanted to strip funding from it entirely.  Now they are settling for a delay.)  Democrats are refusing to back down from their signature health care legislation (a major part of which goes into effect tomorrow).

So now we are on the brink.  Tomorrow the government may shut down AND the Obamacare insurance exchange sign-ups begin.

What do you think will happen?  Do you predict a last-second compromise?  If the shutdown takes place, what impact will that have?  What impact would that have on the Republican Party? [Read more...]

Republicans as the new 1989 Democrats

Today’s Republican party is in exactly the same situation as the Democratic party of 1989 and making exactly the same excuses for why they can’t win a national presidential election.  This is the point made by two Democratic strategists who revisit an essay they wrote way back then, only this time they apply it to Republicans. [Read more...]


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