“Events don’t seem to be driving politics. Increasingly, sociology is.
Do you want to predict how a certain region is going to vote in the 2020 presidential race? Discover who settled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. If the settlers were from the East Anglia section of Britain, then that region is probably going Democratic. If the settlers were from the north of Britain, that region is very likely to vote for Donald Trump.
Do you want to predict how a state is going to vote? Find out how that state voted in the 1896 presidential election. As Washington University political scientists Gary Miller and Norman Schofield have observed, 22 out of the 23 states that voted Democratic in 1896 had turned Republican by 2000. Similarly, 17 of the 22 states that voted Republican in 1896 had turned Democratic by 2000. The parties have flipped regions.
Do you want to predict how an individual is going to vote? Ask a simple question: Is she urban or rural?
Geographic and psycho-sociological patterns now overshadow events in driving political loyalties and national electoral outcomes. Demography is destiny.
There’s a more precise way to put this. An event is really two things. It’s the event itself and then it’s the process by which we make meaning of the event. As Aldous Huxley put it, “Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.”
When a whole country sees events through a similar lens, then you don’t have to think a lot about the process people use to make meaning. It’s similar across the land. But when people in different regions and subcultures have nonoverlapping lenses, the process by which people make sense of events is more important than the event itself.
For reasons I don’t understand, we’ve had an epistemic explosion over the past few decades. Different American regions and subcultures now see reality through nonoverlapping lenses. They make meaning in radically different ways. Psycho-social categories have hardened.”
David Linday: Everything is great about this op-ed piece except it’s title, which misses completely. I sense that David Brooks here is explaining why the blue coastal areas fail to see the perspective of more conservative folks who are from redder, more rural, less urgan and coastal communities. Warren and Sanders might be shining stars, even saints, but that doesn’t mean that they appeal to everyone everywhere. Its geography and sociology, as Brooks argues effectively, that create important constituencies that should not be ignored by politcal operatives.
” . . . Yet Republicans will not be able to postpone a reckoning with Trumpism for much longer. The investigation by House Democrats appears likely to result in a vote for impeachment, despite efforts by the White House to obstruct the inquiry. That will force Senate Republicans to choose. Will they commit themselves and their party wholly to Mr. Trump, embracing even his most anti-democratic actions, or will they take the first step toward separating themselves from him and restoring confidence in the rule of law?
Thus far in office, Mr. Trump has acted against the national interest by maintaining his financial interests in his company and using the presidential podium to promote it; obstructed legitimate investigations into his conduct by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Congress; attacked the free press; given encouragement to white nationalists; established a de facto religious test for immigrants; undermined foreign alliances and emboldened American rivals; demanded personal loyalty from subordinates sworn to do their duty to the Constitution; and sent his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, around the world to conduct what could most charitably be described as shadow foreign policy with Mr. Trump’s personal benefit as its lodestar.”
“. . . The Constitution’s framers envisioned America’s political leaders as bound by a devotion to country above all else. That’s why all elected officials take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. By protecting Donald Trump at all costs from all consequences, the Republicans risk violating that sacred oath.
Senator (Margaret Chase) Smith’s question once again hangs over the Republican Party: Surely they are not so desperate for short-term victory as to tolerate this behavior? We’ll soon find out.”
David Lindsay: I fully support this editorial. There were some fine comments, starting with these two”
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“It was so obvious, I’m embarrassed I missed it.
Like most of the other talking heads on TV, I was haughtily dismissive of Donald Trump’s candidacy. “It’s apparently open mike day in the Republican campaign for president,” I tweeted last June, after Mr. Trump barged into a relatively placid Republican race with a rambling, riotous speech.
Even as he climbed to the top of polls, I confidently predicted that the outrageous Mr. Trump, as transfixing and ubiquitous as he was, was merely a summer fling. He would fade in the fall, when Republican voters got serious about making a long-term commitment.
Seven months later, Mr. Trump has broken just about every rule of conventional campaigning. Short on policy prescriptions and long on provocation, he has serially — and joyfully — insulted Mexicans, women, Muslims, P.O.W.s, people with disabilities and virtually all of his opponents. Yet a week before caucusing begins in Iowa, he still reigns supreme atop the Republican field.
What seemed impossible is now more than plausible: Donald J. Trump, the self-reverential deal maker, could pull off a hostile takeover of the Grand Old Party.”