This is not a policy blog but sometimes I think it is important to touch on a big policy or two. With the shutdown ending many people will breath a big sigh of relief. Many of these same people are also going around now talking about how things used to be in the good old days.
They will opine for the days when Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill sat down and worked everything out, or when Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton dealt with each other. Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough, and Newt Gingrich are the biggest sellers of this nostalgia.
On some level they think we can go back to those times. They think that the other party’s cooler heads will prevail and we will have a compromise of some kind.
What they don’t understand is that is not going to happen. This is laid out very well in a new piece by David Frum.
The basic point is that we now live in an era of scarce resources and there is simply not enough to go around to cover the tax cuts Republicans love and social programs Democrats love. That scarcity will produce nasty fights over resources. With less to go around someone’s victory is going to come at someone else’s expense. Faced with an electorate like this people in politics will respond by doing whatever they can to keep their backers happy even at the expense of everyone else.
The reality is that Ted Cruz and his polarizing style of politics are not a nuisance or meteor temporarily flashing across the sky but a sign of a new politics that is based on division instead of consensus. While Cruz did not start this trend, he is riding the wave better than anyone in the GOP right now.
For all he is attacked by the Howard Fineman’s of the world and D.C.-based conservatives like Grover Norquist, Cruz is a rising force in the GOP. In fact, the acts he gets in DC only make Cruz stronger with the GOP base he needs to appeal to for victory. For example, Iowa conservative activist Steve Deace thinks Ted Cruz is only getting stronger in the GOP. He even tweeted:
“Laughable same people who lost last two elections think Ted Cruz 2016 is dead. If Iowa Caucuses were today he would lap the field.”
“What’s happened in Iowa is conversations has shifted from how many Evangelicals will Rand get to how many Libertarians will Cruz take away.”
That should tell you a great deal about the divide that is starting to take place in American politics between those who thrive on the division and those who can’t understand what is happening around them. American politics is changing and people better get ready for it to get much more divisive.