For John, BLUF: Is politics, is governing, a team sport or is it individual events? Nothing to see here; just move along.
Here is the sub-headline:
Parties are losing control over their candidates. Two scholars argue that ordinary Americans are the ones paying the price.
From The New Yorker, by Harvard Lecturer Yascha Mounk, 12 November 2018.
Here is the heart of the argument:
In one of the most lopsided elections in the country’s history, [Senator George] McGovern was trounced by Richard Nixon, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. “I opened the doors of the Democratic Party,” a dumbfounded McGovern admitted in the wake of his defeat, “and twenty million people walked out.”I remember the election. In 1968 I voted for the "Happy Warrior", Democrat Hubert H Humphrey, for President. In 1972 I went with Richard Nixon. I said to myself, better a known crook than a known incompetent.
According to two Yale political scientists, he shouldn’t have been so surprised. The most important ingredient of a functioning democracy, Frances McCall Rosenbluth and Ian Shapiro argue, in “Responsible Parties: Saving Democracy from Itself” (Yale), is strong political parties that can keep their rank-and-file members in check. In a successful political system, the authors say, two big parties compete for popular support by developing and implementing a cohesive platform. Unlike individual candidates, who might stay in power for only a few years, such parties have a vested interest in maintaining a good reputation over the course of decades. And unlike political newcomers, who may have little sense of what governments can actually achieve, they have the experience and the financial resources to develop effective proposals for political reform. Thanks to “long-view horizons” and “incentives to invest in relevant information about the effects of policy choices,” strong parties are more likely to promote the interests of the general public.
This idea that the fringes need to be empowered will be tested again in January of 2019, when the Democrats decide who to elect as Speaker of the House and how to proceed with legislating in a time of Trump.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.
Regards — Cliff