The American political scene is divided and partisan. Matthew Yglesias says that might be the point (where’s Hegel when you need him?):
Is partisan politics better than the alternative? Why do we grouse, then, about a divided country?
Political partisanship is kind of like representative democracy itself—a terrible mess, but clearly superior to the alternatives. After all, we don’t need to guess at what representative democracy without political parties would look like. Just examine almost any American city council—be it New York, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, whatever—and you’ll see a legislative body that’s so overwhelmingly Democratic that partisan politics don’t drive outcomes. The result of this isn’t a utopia of good government and sound policy, it’s an orgy of hyper-localism. Political parties are organized, for better and for worse, around clashing visions of what’s better for America. The quest for partisan advantage is, among other things, a quest for the opportunity to build a better society. Absent parties you get a situation where instead of a clash of visions of what would be best for the city as a whole, council members give undue preference to strong local interests. In city government, that means NIMBYism. In Congress it would mean endless gobs of the much-derided pork barrelling.
Tim Carney did a good piece recently pointing out that it’s the “moderate” members of congress who are often the most corrupt, for this very reason. Strong partisan affiliations are what keeps legislatures adhering to some kind of principled vision, as opposed to merely using the powers of office for personal gain.
(CNN) — It happens every four years, usually right around September.
Calls come in from all over the United States from people threatening to flee their homeland if a candidate they despise wins the Oval Office.
“That’s the amazing thing, when they speak on the phone. They’re adamant. They feel very, very strong about it,” said David Cohen, a Montreal-based immigration lawyer. “‘This government doesn’t speak for me’ is the language that we often hear.”
As a partner at the Campbell Cohen firm, which specializes in immigration to Canada, Cohen says he has received these calls for decades. It sometimes makes him “feel like a therapist because they vent for a while, get this cathartic release.”
But when it comes down to it, Americans don’t move to Canada unless it’s for a relationship or new job — essentially, love and money.