Friday, October 28, 2016

The Unraveling of the Political Establishment

     Martin Gurri believes that this election shows that the "establishment" is already in the process of unraveling. In fact, according to Gurri, this campaign is part of a larger global conflict between an "alienated public and the institutions and elites that manage the established order," with Trump being the weapon in the hands of the alienated public, and Clinton acting as the representative of "the elites and the old order." But, Gurri argues, whatever establishment had been in place has already fallen apart.

     Writing about the Republican establishment, Gurri observes:
The “establishment,” if it ever existed, had cracked to pieces before Trump arrived:  we just hadn’t noticed.  Jeb Bush’s risible impersonation of an establishment candidate only proved the point.  Bush lacked a following, barely had a pulse at the polls, and could claim nothing like an insider’s clout.  He was endorsed by a crowd of gray-headed seniors who averaged 11 years out of office.  That was what passed for an establishment.
Ditto as to the Democrats:
The Democratic Party has endured a similar collapse in authority.  Barack Obama crushed a true establishment – fronted, as it happens, by Hillary Clinton – back in 2007.  Since then, the president and his immediate circle have felt no debt and little allegiance to the party hierarchy.  In the 2016 Democratic primaries, more than 40 percent of the vote, and all the militant passion, went to Bernie Sanders – an old, white, dull, marginal Independent.  Many of his voters view Clinton as a cog in the system they despise.  Any untoward event after her election will propel them to the streets.

In somewhat slower motion than the Republicans, the Democratic Party is unbundling into dozens of political war bands, each focused with monomaniacal intensity on a particular cause – feminism, the environment, anti-capitalism, pro-immigration, racial or sexual grievance.  This process, scarcely veiled by the gravitational attraction of President Obama and Clinton herself, will become obvious to the most casual observer the moment the Democrats lose the White House.
He does not see anything responsible replacing them, what with the Democratic party being overtaken by what he terms "identity rage," and the "white identity politics" gaining favor on the Republican side of the fence. According to Gurri, "[t]he voices of moderation and keepers of our political traditions have been cowed into silence.  They have nothing of interest to say in any case."

     While Gurri does not use these terms, he describes a low-grade, "cold" civil war. He writes:
The quarrel between public and elites will not pause for Inauguration Day.  While the future direction of the struggle is uncertain, we do know what is at stake:  every aspect of the democratic process, of economic activity, of our place and power in a fractured world.

The twenty-first century, in brief, is up for grabs.
     Gurri wrote this thinking that Hillary would win the election. If she does not? Well, as he noted, "[a]ny untoward event ... will propel them to the streets." Whether Hillary wins or not, the left will double down on its present tactics of vilifying any and all opposition and "agitating" for "reform," and attempting to shame political opponents. But if Hillary wins, they will have the full force of the State to back them up. But if Hillary loses, the support of the State will weaken until the only tactic remaining to the left will be to bully and scare the public into line. There will be more Fergusons; the unvoiced threat to "give us more money and political power or we burn the cities to the ground." This will have, and is having, the opposite effect intended as it impresses on conservatives and, eventually, moderates that it was never the dream of the left to see black and white children peacefully playing together.

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