Space Tycoon wrote:
The Swollen Goiter of God wrote:Trump's presence on the political scene has done plenty of damage. Maybe some of it will be good damage. Maybe it'll help dismantle the Republican party somewhat.
It absolutely will. The lapsed conspiracist in me wonders if that wasn't the point all along.
I think the dismantling may already be happening, to some degree, on the state level. I don't know how it is outside of St. Louis and Missouri, but I've noticed a lot of the people running are leaning heavily on Trumpian anti-"career politician" platforms. Every single time I've looked into a candidate attacking an opponent for being a "career politician," the attacker has been a Republican with little-to-no experience running against either an incumbent Democrat or a Democrat with some (though sometimes very little) experience.
Maybe "dismantling" isn't exactly right. Maybe it's more of a "swap out." Republicans on the state level--again, in my particular state--appear to be getting a lot of traction simply by declaring themselves proudly unexperienced. (The Democrats tend to respond to this by saying that X position shouldn't be considered an "entry level position." In most cases, they're probably right to say this.) They're replacing experienced candidates with un-experienced and extremist candidates, but it's still keeping the Republicans going.
I suppose there were shades of this, already, back in 2008 with Palin and her talk of being a "rogue." And then, of course, there was the Tea Party. It seemed like the Republicans were moving away from that a bit with people like Ryan and Rubio, but Trump's success seems to have redirected the shift back in the earlier direction.
The amount of traction Trump got as a first-timer and the amount of traction Sanders got with the party switch probably crystalized for a lot of people how much easier being a part of the machine makes things. Declaring yourself Democrat or Republican does a lot of your work for you. I guess you vaguely need to reflect the professed party's platforms when you run, but it also appears you can go somewhat afield without a number of the party's adherents noticing or caring all that much.
I suppose the Republicans need to strike while the iron is hot when it comes tothe anti-"career politician" fad. It's not a sustainable model. If you continue replacing the people in the system with new people, the new people become a part of the system and have a more difficult time claiming not to be a part of the system. And if you just keep swapping out and keep swapping out to prevent this from happening, the people who might otherwise have felt called to the position will cease to look at it as a viable career choice. (The biggest problem is probably the most obvious: nobody ever gets any real experience, so nobody really ever knows what the fuck is going on.)
Despite what I say above about the difficulty of claiming not to be a part of the system once you're in the system, the anti-"career politician" tack is so popular at the moment (on the right, at least) that it's even being taken, somewhat astonishingly, by Roy Blunt, an incumbent senator for the Republican party who is up for reelection against Jason Kander. Ads approved by Blunt, who has been in politics since 1980, have referred to Kander, who has been in politics since 2009, as "just another career politician." Kander was born in 1981. Blunt has been in politics since before Kander's birth. It's just fucking bizarre.
I've come to the conclusion that "just another career politician" is being used as barely disguised code for "Democrat." The same thing is being done in the governor race with Eric Greitens, the Republican candidate, and Chis Koster. In this case, it's more apt, since Greitens is somewhat young, has been in the military since 2001, and is just now getting into politics. (Side note: Kander enlisted after 9/11 and stayed in until 2011, so there are two fairly young guys--one a Republican and one a Democrat--running for pretty big positions in Missouri politics.) Even here, though, it's a little misleading, since Koster has only really been in politics since 2004. He was a prosecuting attorney before that. He was forty when he held his first public office.
Speaking of Koster, he's also openly proposing a fiscally conservative approach with his financial plan. His campaign ads even mentions his fiscal conservatism by name.
It seems like the left in Missouri continues to shift center-right, and it seems like the right keeps shifting more toward the extreme right. (There was a big shift to the right following 9/11, but I don't see the current shift as part of an uninterrupted shift. The current shift is related to the earlier shift, probably, or it's a modified version of the earlier shift that was put on hold thanks to the mismanagement of the Bush administration.)
Of course, I don't mean to suggest that "career politician" necessarily equals "good." There's a mix of good and bad, as is true of most things. Hands tend to get dirtier and dirtier the longer they man the shovel. Unless they're the hands of Jimmy Carter. That guy's hands have stayed remarkably clean. Maybe even suspiciously clean
. (Only kidding. I think they're genuinely impressively clean.)
It occurs to me that the names "Kander" and "Koster" look a bit alike. It wouldn't surprise me if Blunt and Greitens were hoping that right-leaning voters would just sort of think of Kander and Koster as an indefinite mass of liberalism and be unable to distinguish the supposedly bad things one did from the supposedly bad things the other did. ("Now was Kander the guy who voted for Obamacare, or was it the other guy? Which one was the one who was pro-Union? Fuck it. I'm just voting against both of 'em.")
"Indefinite mass of liberalism" does sort of describe another tactic in the attack adds against various Democrats. Sometimes, the voice on the radio will take on a derisive tone and say simply that X candidate is a Democrat. Sometimes, that's more or less all there is to the ad. The ad may also connect the candidate by name to "career politicians," or the ad may claim that the candidate is "just like" Clinton and/or Obama, but a lot of the time, they just sneer and call the person a Democrat.