Thursday, October 26, 2017

A House Divided

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln was fighting for his state's Republican nomination for the US Senate. Some believe that Lincoln foretold the calamity that awaited America, its most bloody war ever, just three years hence.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.

America today is again a house divided against itself. It's said the rift dividing left from right is wider and deeper than it has been since Lincoln uttered those words.  The American people are being herded into rival camps and fed a diet rich in fear, anger, distrust, even paranoia. What better way to keep a population weakened and ineffective.

How divided are the American people today? That's the subject of a new, major study by Pew Research that explores America's political typology and finds not only deep divisions between the two sides but deep divisions within them.  The report, based on lengthy interviews with 5,000 subjects concludes that Americans fall into nine categories:

In effect, both sides are fractured and there are political struggles underway in each camp.

Nearly a year after Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican coalition is deeply divided on such major issues as immigration, America’s role in the world and the fundamental fairness of the U.S. economic system.

The Democratic coalition is largely united in staunch opposition to President Trump. Yet, while Trump’s election has triggered a wave of political activism within the party’s sizable liberal bloc, the liberals’ sky-high political energy is not nearly as evident among other segments in the Democratic base. And Democrats also are internally divided over U.S. global involvement, as well as some religious and social issues.

Another Pew study found that American society is becoming more polarized.  Fewer Americans now hold a mix of Liberal and Conservative views.

Overall, 32% of Americans now take a roughly equal number of conservative and liberal positions on a scale based on 10 questions asked together in seven surveys since 1994. As recently as 2015, 38% had this mix of values – and 49% did so in 1994 and 2004.

Reflecting growing partisan gaps across most of the individual questions in the scale – even those where both parties have shifted in the same direction – Republicans and Democrats are now further apart ideologically than at any point in more than two decades.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports that the Empire is about to strike back. Establishment Republicans, headed by Mitch McConnell, are going after Trump's favourite insurgent, Steve Bannon.

More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a ­super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-Ky.) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect GOP incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.

Yet the retaliatory crusade does not aim to target Trump, whose popularity remains high among Republican voters. Instead, the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) will highlight Bannon’s hard-line populism and attempt to link him to white nationalism to discredit him and the candidates he will support. It will also boost candidates with traditional GOP profiles and excoriate those tied to Bannon, with plans to spend millions and launch a heavy social media presence in some states.

May the Swamp be with you.


Anonymous said...

... the McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) will highlight Bannon’s hard-line populism and attempt to link him to white nationalism to discredit him

Bwahahaha! White nationalism will discredit Bannon and his candidates with Republican voters?! Does McConnell even know who's in his party anymore? Mitch is sure gonna save Bannon some advertising dollars.


The Mound of Sound said...

Cap, as a kid did you ever go out on an icy lake and see if you could hear it crack under your weight?

Winston Smith said...

Republicans, especially Trump, have denounced racism & 'white supremacy' (which was actually a Dem thing who invented the KKK. See 1924 'Klanbake.')

Bannon, who is an ECONOMIC nationalist, is primarying neocon globalists.

What are progressives doing? Doubling down on identity-politic nonsense and letting neolib globalists walk all over them.

It's why conservatives think they are weaklings and cuckolds.


Anonymous said...

Mound, are you suggesting that Mitch is testing the ice? Did he not hear the loud cracking sound coming from Alabama? Maybe he's got his toque down over his ears, because everyone else heard it quite clearly when that unreconstructed neo-Confederate Moore beat Mitch's darling for the GOP senate nomination.


The Mound of Sound said...

No, Cap, my point was that going out on an icy lake sharpens the awareness that most things have breaking points and I think that holds true for the disparate groups that form the Republican Party.

We saw this in the Conservative horde in the last election. Some stayed home while others voted for Trudeau because, as moderates, the could no longer vote for Harper.

Despite what our friend, Winston, believes, Trump's base is a miserable and relatively small segment of Americans. His ratings are in the tank and steadily degrading. Of course Winston also deludes himself that Trump has no white supremacist tendencies so facts don't enter his MAGA fantasies. Oh well.

Northern PoV said...

Or ....
"Nearly a year after Donald Trump was elected president, the Republican coalition is deeply" united on tax cuts and gerrymandering the future beyond repair.

If Roy loses in Alabama I will eat my proverbial hat.
These distractions sell ads and keep people believing in "democracy".

The Mound of Sound said...

Roy ain't losin' Bama, NPoV.

John B. said...

Let's keep scarfing down their anti-globalist bullshit. Further exploitation of the utility of transnational trade liberalization in providing the conditions for perpetual wage arbitrage and attacks on the regulatory structure can wait until the next time we decide it's convenient to open that drawer again. Trump will do just fine for now if he sticks to the two-for-one and continues to facilitate the tax revolt. We can return to the old feedlots any time.

MAGA my ass. The libertarians are laughing even harder this year.