by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonah Goldberg analyzes for National Review Online one key factor in today’s political battles.
Here’s a theory for why our politics are so confusing these days: Neither party wants to be a majority party.
From an ideological perspective, majority parties are, by nature, weird. For instance, the long-dominant FDR coalition included a strange mix of blacks and segregationists, corrupt city machines and the reformers who hated them.
Over the several decades that followed, most major policy questions were hashed out within the Democratic party. The Republicans factored in mostly as stalemate-breakers. …
… Samuel Lubell, a Polish-born political analyst, famously described this dynamic as the “sun and moon” system of political parties. In our “political solar system,” Lubell wrote in 1951, “it is within the majority party that the issues of any particular period are fought out; while the minority party shines in reflected radiance of the heat thus generated.” …
… We may be more partisan than ever, but the partisans tend to dislike their own parties — they just hate the other party more.
There are many reasons for this polarization, but one of them is that the most committed members of each party have a decidedly lunar mindset. Progressives and conservatives alike are convinced they are victims of the Powers That Be. One of the main arguments that propelled Trump to the White House and sustains his GOP support today is the feeling that the Right has lost every important battle of the past 40 years.
The Left is hooked on the same feeling. Each side defines the Powers That Be differently, though there is some overlap when it comes to animosity toward economic “elites.” …