From Jonathan Chait’s lips to God’s ears

Chait on American exceptionalism: In no other advanced country do leading figures of governing parties propose the denial of medical care to their citizens or take their ideological inspiration from crackpots like Ayn Rand.

I hope this is right:

[C]onservatism as we know it is doomed … the virulent opposition to the welfare state we see here is almost completely unique among major conservative parties across the world. In no other advanced country do leading figures of governing parties propose the denial of medical care to their citizens or take their ideological inspiration from crackpots like Ayn Rand. America’s unique brand of ideological anti-statism is historically inseparable (as I recently argued) from the legacy of slavery. Whatever form America’s polyglot majority ultimately takes, it is hard to see the basis for its attraction to an ideology sociologically rooted in white supremacy.

[Full Chait essay here.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

7 thoughts on “From Jonathan Chait’s lips to God’s ears”

  1. The irony will be even more delicious than Chait imagines. Here's how it plays out:

    In 1980, roughly 89% of voters in that presidential election were "White, Non-Hispanic." In the last election, that percentage fell to 72%. It has been falling at a steady pace of 2% every 4 years. What this means is that Republicans will never win a presidential election in our lifetime (may you live to 120).

    But it gets better. By either 2022, the first Congressional election after the 2020 census or, at the latest, 2024, Democrats will control all three branches of the Federal government. Now for the best part.

    Global warming is real. There will be a massive Federal governmental response necessary to address the problem, both with respect to regulation and investment in infrastructure. There will hardly be a business in the country that will not want a seat at the table when the money is doled out and the regulations are enacted. Well, if you want a place at the table, you gotta pay to play and the only game in town will be the Democratic Party. And, of course, the recent McCutcheon decision says that you can buy any politician in town so long as you do it with a wink and a nod.

    There's no question but that McCutcheon will lead to wide-spread corruption especially at the state and local level. But it will also lead to the demise of the Republican Party since the levers of national political power in an era where government will be expanding will all be controlled by the Democrats.

  2. "What this means is that Republicans will never win a presidential election in our lifetime .."
    Republicans in their present form, that is. Parties typically adapt to survive after one of more near-death experiences. See the abandonment of "Clause Four" socialism by the British Labour Party, and its socialist counterparts in Western Europe. The Communist parties have preferred to die in their boots like the Spanish tercios at Rocroi, which you have to admire in a sense.

    1. I don't think that the Republicans can readily adapt. After all, one of the key voter groups in the coalition that is the Republican Party are, well, bigots. That's what the "Southern Strategy" was all about. Without that voter group, the Republicans simply cannot win elections.

      Further, (i) once an individual votes for a party for two election cycles, he or she will vote for that party for the rest of his or her life and (ii) racial and ethnic groups follow "affinity" voter patterns. It will be impossible for the Republican Party to break this pattern. Before it can do so, big money, now viewed as a Republican advantage, will also shift to the Democratic Party, further embedding that party as the dominant force in American politics.

  3. I would feel much better if the DP were in better shape. I have to say that what I see happening in California, as it is DP dominated now, is a mixed bag. And most of the good part of the mix is just from Jerry Brown, who we are lucky to have, but I hate to rely on luck. As a group, they underwhelm. We need to fix prop 13, get rid of term limits and move to a serious public campaign finance system to have any hope of not being corrupt (see our weak phone regs) and just as useless as the state GOP (which stupidly threw away half the Latino vote, about which I am officially happy, but still … sometimes I wonder).

    And I see no one with the stature to even think about doing any of it. Well except Jerry, and he's unpredictable.

  4. Oh, plus, see the new FCC thing. The DP is not necessarily going to save us. It has a lot of serious issues itself.

    1. NC, etc., raises a good point, but, in fact, it is one of my points. McCutcheon, in time, will lead to the destruction of the Republican Party. That's a good thing. However, it will lead to corruption, with the politicians having a "D" after their name, and a Democratic Party that will, in a significant measure, be in thrall to the wealthy.

      Here's an illustration: Maryland, on a state and local level, is about as Blue a state as one can get. However, the wealthy got a bill through the legislature making a substantial reduction in the state's estate taxes because all those rich people are fleeing the state. (BTW, the proposition is basically untrue except at fairly high levels of wealth.) Needless to say that, in part, the DP in Maryland has been "captured" by the wealthy upon whom politicians rely for campaign donations.

      1. I think we are already seeing the DP fall into corruption and apathy. I do not feel nearly so sanguine as Mark does about it. The weakness of true conservatism — which *I* define as being represented by a good ole' New England Republican of yore — hurts all of us. Because now Democrats who are really (NE) Republicans have taken over the DP, to the detriment of the middle class and hence, the entire country. It is not good. We definitely need a left challenger, at a minimum.

        I'm still waiting to hear a good reason those bleeping bleepers in the Senate cut food stamps. Why??? And why should I vote for people like that???? What's my motivation? Avoiding more accidental wars? That's nice for people in other countries, and yes, I suppose it's the "right thing to do." But what's in it for me? harrumph!!!!

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