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A less dismal assessment of the future of American politics

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posted on Mar, 26 2010 @ 04:03 PM
The aim of this thread is describe my assessment of the political situation in the US, and what recent events lead me to believe about the future. I think we're in for change, but I'm not writing this to entertain any of the doomsday/end of America/economic collapse/police state/world war III ideas. I'm sure many of you have your reasons for believing that stuff, but I'm also sure that such beliefs have an embarrassingly poor track record and as a result have very little appeal to me.

My prediction is that one of two things will happen. I'm going to start by describing two premises, which are observations that I believe are accurate, and then I'm going to argue for why those premises justify my conclusion.

1) The federal government is moving farther and farther away from strict adherence to the constitution. You can probably look back very far in time and find evidence of this, but I'm interested in the blatant tactics of the current and most recent administrations to abuse loopholes and use tricky legal language to accomplish objectives which are just so clearly unconstitutional. Bush took a big step to expand executive powers and distance the presidency from the balancing elements of the constitution(through the supreme court) and the congress with the war. Also, extraordinary rendition to allow torture, secret courts without reasonable presentation of evidence, classifying people as enemy combatants in order to circumvent due process, letting the CIA run their own prisons, aspects of the patriot act, ect . . . all of these things really fly in the face of the spirit of the law. They were accomplished through dirty quasi-legal tricks of language and abuse of loopholes, all in the name of the very divicive notion of the "the war on terror." Whether or not you agree with the specific policies, you must admit that they are on very uncertain ground in terms of constitutionality.

The recent passage of healthcare reform has crystalized this power of the president and an agreeable congress to use "dirty legal tricks" in order to buck the system and accomplish what they want. All justified under the divicive notion of entitlement and right to healthcare. We've now crossed a pretty important line in that it seems like the president and a small majority of congress acting together can literally do anything, despite the constitution. Again, whether or not you agree with HCR, the tricks involved in getting it passed should at least make you wonder how much allegence TPTB have to established system of doing business.

The thrust of this premis is that based on this president and the last one, it seems clear that if an action is taken in the name of some idea which is fundamental to the ideals of a party in general( i.e. the war on terror, healthcare entitlement), then that action will be tolerated despite its constitutionality or lack thereof.

2) The republicans are in a pretty decent position for the next elections, and they're talking about repealing healthcare reform. This is a pretty simple idea. If they are able to accomplish this, then the situation will be that the extreme action taken by the party in power now will be undone, and replaced with extreme action in the other direction by the party which comes into power next.

There doesn't seem to be any reason to think that this behavior will not define American politics from now on. I think it is very likely that the way the future will play out is that we will just swing back and forth from one extreme to the other - depending on which party is power - in a way that is completely unbound by the constitution. We will have one set of laws when the Dems are in power. Then, when the GOP takes power, they will repeal the dems laws and replace them with their own. In this way America will be two very different places from when one party is in power to when the other is. This flip flopping of sets of laws will continue.

I think the result of this will be one of two things: either the states will become much more assertive about governing themselves, or a third major political party will become significant. I think there's a good chance that the states will get fed up with this implement-repeal-replace-repeal-reimplement cycle and just ignore it. The states will run themselves in a moderate way which the federal government has proven it is incapable of doing. Or maybe the states will polarize as well, but then at least people will be able to decide if they want to live in a red state or blue state and be more or less free of federal interference.

If the states don't assert themselves in this way, I think it's likely that we will see a third political party rise to power. Someone will say, "I promise to stop all this repealing and replacing nonsense, and I'm just going to take what I think are the best ideas from each side and implement those, and I'm going to take action to strengthen the balance of power and the constitution, and to prohibit this repeal-replace cycle." I think this state of affairs that we are getting ourselves into right now is quite likely to make some compromising middle party very powerful.


I think the big question is whether or not this cycle of (implementation of highly contested partisan policy) -> (change of party in power) -> (repeal of previous partisan policy) -> (implementation of own partisan policy) -> (change of party in power) can or will continue without something changing in a major way. Will it?

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