Radicalism in U.S. Politics

Sanders has been gaining more crowds in Iowa, and polls show him to be anywhere from 34 to 45 points behind Clinton. I don’t think I really need to detail Trump coming in from the right and mixing things up a little, although some polls have shown him to jump to first place. It doesn’t take much investigation to see there aren’t many moderate republican candidates running right now, and we’re starting to see a spread in the democrats.

The republican party no longer accepts anyone that is socially liberal yet fiscally conservative. We now see people like Clinton, who is at best a moderate and in no way a radical, and we have people like Sanders who is a radical compared to the spectrum of American politics. So basically it’s all conservative radicals in the republicans and a battle for control in the democrats. Obviously this can be seen as a good and bad thing.

After going through the least productive congress in our history, people are tired of moderates. The people want action but their being attracted to strange sources. I honestly can’t tell if Trump is a joke or not. Some of his remarks seem like pure satire but somehow he has a large following.

In the two party system there has always been a necessary amount of bipartisan to get acts passed through both party, that way the government is effective. But each party is so gun-ho about this it seems like they’re denying acts out of spite of the other party. We’ve reached the limit of bipartisanship and we’re seeing a fundamental split. What that could lead to could be the an even less effective government, or less likely the complete take over of one party. I don’t mean revolution or anything, but the unfair stack of one party in the government.

I don’t likely expect the party take over to happen, but it’s always one possibility. So, in this case of an even less productive congress, what would that lead to? Well if the country is deeply divided in that sense there will most likely be more protest activity depending on which party is leading. I can see a lot of the younger generation out protesting and petitioning, or at the very least revving up their online banter about it. When there is that much of a split between the two front-most ideologies in the country there is typically one solution.

If both parties are at extreme non-productivity, one will eventually have to assume dominance. This would be in the same manner that there was a cultural revolution in the 60’s. I don’t mean the reemergence of hippies, I mean the finding ourselves as a nation, and when that happens the nation will lean a certain direction and we will continue the cycle. The cycle of party domination and then slip into bipartisanship, then eventually stagnation.

A battle of radical politics: mass activism, cultural evolution, social rethinking. One can’t be completely sure when something like this will take place, but we can be sure it will happen. It could very well be a conservative shift like in the 80’s, or a liberal shift such as in the 60’s. Maybe we’ll have two as a response to one another, this is all speculation. The point is things are changing and people are obviously not happy with the way things are, especially after going through events like the government shut down. The people want somebody to blame and everyone will stick harder to their beliefs than before.

How would this all come about? Ideas spread quicker than ever before thanks to the internet and it’s easier for people take sides and right what they think about the subject. They no longer have to be in a room with someone talking about politics, they can now say it and everyone they know will read it. Organizations and activities can get more publicity from the internet and grow more in numbers, people can get information on nearly any activity they desire. And it’s not just teens like everyone seems to think, it is all generations using the internet for this purpose. If there was going to be cultural change, it would start on the internet and translate over to the real world, not vice versa.

Not to mention that this is the logical conclusion. If you add angry people plus unproductive government that equals change in the government. I seriously doubt people are willing to take the full measure and tear down the construct of our government all together. Change on a massive scale, that’s what the people want.

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18 thoughts on “Radicalism in U.S. Politics

  1. It is common that in times of political, economic, and social upheaval, the general public naturally sway towards the extreme parties, and those who hold radical views on topics which others would not dare to discuss. Take for example the rise of UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party – meaning independence from the European Union) in the United Kingdom. Many wanted change, and as a result of the major three (technically two though now – Conservatives and Labour) political parties shying away out of fear or a need to not offend (there are obviously many more reasons), the population then turned to a party that did openly discuss matters which were considered either taboo or off limits.
    Although talking about ALL issues is important in politics and to keep the public engaged, it is dangerous when people turn to extremist groups, for the history of man tells one that in the instances where that has happened before, terrible events unfolded. The UK and the USA are lucky in a sense that they have not fallen into the extremist trap (for example what happened in Nazi Germany, the USSR, and Communist China) but that does not mean it will never happen.

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  2. Sanders commands quite a following now, and he has been building that following very carefully, prudently, so that his following is solid. Thus, he may not grab the nomination ~ likely, he will not ~ but he will be in a strong enough position to make demands. Look for the Democrat platform to swing further to the left, AND for some kind of promise-to-Sanders … perhaps cabinet post if Clinton wins. As for the GOP, it’s still too early to say anything serious about Trump, although I fully believe his “support” boils down to nothing more than folks on the conservative side of politics venting. He’s loud, proud, popular (in an entertainment sort of way), and rich, so… he commands attention right now. In the end, however, some other one of the candidates will surface as the standard-bearer. The problem for Republicans, it seems to me, is that they really do not have any one viable candidate for presidency … not really. Alas, though, there are so many “hot button” issues right now, it’s frightening. Living where I do, I can say staunch radicalism is on the rise; it’s becoming … concretized. This is not good. We have more and more folks throughout the region here, who are honestly saying (in so many words) to hell with Washington, Congress … the country; time we try and pull out again! Could this realistically happen? At this point in time, I’m saying, “no.” However, if history teaches us one lesson, it teaches us not to be too dogmatic in our assessments and predictions!

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  3. awesome post. I like your optimistic viewpoint. We need this to overcome the influence of media, politicians, and lobbyists. There is a lot to learn from events in Europe such as Portugal and Greece. Of course, our political structure is designed differently, which makes it harder for a new political party to establish a foothold, but their unity and organization of unorthodox parties are extremely impressive and I believe can be adapted to our political situation… I think unorthodox does not, however, necessarily have to be “radical”, but I don’t really believe in labels anyway.

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    • To an extent I believe in the denial of labels, but it can be pretty difficult when writing sometimes. I do believe we have some valuable things to learn from European politics, such as the way people take care in choosing what party they belong to. And the fact that their people can seriously choose between more than two parties. I’ll admit I probably did use the term ‘radical’ a little sparingly, but it has different meanings depending on where you are. A radical to an American is much different than a radical to a European.

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      • Of course, I hope that I didn’t seem critical. It is very difficult to write without using labels, many words have subjective meanings, even in the same culture, and it is tedious to describe what you mean by a descriptor in every situation. Unfortunately, when it comes to politics labels are extremely nuanced and carry a corresponding identity which can be used to separate people with the same beliefs.

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  4. In his book “Physics and Politics” (1872), British writer Walter Bagehot diagnosed part of the problem: A functioning society requires consensus about the main points of human life. American society no longer has that consensus. The reasons are various. The results are arriving.

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  5. While upheaval and extreme politics are real and probable, I wonder about another approach: dropping out. I can imagine large groups that are fed up with the status quo realizing that there is no social contact anymore and deciding to stop participating.

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    • I can definitely see this taking place actually. I personally know a good amount of people that feel politics really doesn’t concern them so they don’t participate at all. Now some just don’t care, and that’s fine, and others say that their participation doesn’t matter anyway. This is especially popular among younger generations.

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  6. Without totally shaking up the bipartisan politics that you tell us have become the norm in the US (I live in Europe), do you think that a degree (for instance 10%) of proportional representation would enable other voices to be heard as in some European assemblies? Thus adding some flexibility to a first past the post system.
    Duopolies generally only ever move with shunts, if you can only change from black to white, why do it twice? This is essentially the reasoning behind legislation to foster competition in all sectors outside of politics.
    Could the roll of discussion and compromise migrate to the people via the web or other media if other voices were permitted?

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    • I think it would take a little more than 10% of representation to get the ball rolling, but ultimately yes. A new party would have to be mobilized by a large group of people, and the internet is one way to spread that. In one way the internet allows people to become more engaged in politics, for instance how groups will from around certain ideas or politicians, like Bernie Sanders. I would love to see a variety of voices to be heard, it’s just about how to do it.

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