stusegal: (VICTORY)
[personal profile] stusegal

And let me tell you why.

About 20 years ago there began what turned into an irreversible polarization between Dems and Republicans.  While there has always been diversity of thought and platforms, there was, prior, some ability to compromise.

That ability to compromise evaporated during the Clinton Presidency, and has never been regained.

So how did Obama get elected?  The Republicans did not vote for him, the Democrats did - - - and a very lot of people who traditionally do not vote were so moved by Obama that they actually got off their lazy asses and exercised that right that some of us think is so valuable.

Here in 2010 the polarization has not subsided, in fact it may have gotten worse.  Can Obama turn out the masses of people he did in ’08? - - I don’t think so.  While he still has legions of staunch supporters, there are tons of folks who never voted before, voted in ’08, and are now thoroughly disgusted and disappointed that Washington remains the same den of thieves as always . . . and I doubt that the now tarnished silver-tongued orator will move them again.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Tea Party.  Yes, they could win a few seats  -  but these are seats that would be won by Republicans otherwise, so these will have no net effect on the election.  As a matter of fact, there’s a great risk that where the Tea Party has traction, they’ll split the conservative vote, and their presence will actually be the catalyst for the Dems to pick up some seats.  (Let’s be realistic about 3rd parties.  In my lifetime they have never been anything but “spoilers”.  If you look further back, one of our most popular Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, couldn’t win re-election running as a 3rd party candidate - - and if Teddy couldn’t do it . . . .)

So who’s going to vote in this election?  I believe we will be right back to that original base of voters we had before ’08 (OK, there may be a few more) - - that original, polarized base of voters.  Roughly half Dems, half Republicans, and a few others. 

I think we’ll see the same kind of midterm election we’ve seen in the past  -  with a few seats going one way or the other.  Perhaps a few more going to the Republicans  -  but a sweep that will change the balance of power?  I don’t think so.

Date: 2010-09-27 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stephenhsegal.livejournal.com
I went to hear David Gergen give a lecture a few years ago. From his perspective as someone who'd been in the White House as an advisor to presidents from both sides of the aisle -- Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton -- he thought the polarization was a clear generational thing.

Before the '90s, the Presidents and all the Washington power players were of the World War II generation. That shared experience and sacrifice gave them the understanding that, at the end of the day, all their political disagreements notwithstanding, they were all still Americans fighting on the same side on behalf of one another.

The Clinton era, Gergen pointed out, marked the rise of the Vietnam generation to the top ranks of power -- and when you get right down to it, the culture clash of the '60s was never fully resolved, its bad feelings never entirely healed. The idea that large masses of Americans could assert their own moral compasses above the government's call to war -- at the same time that they were throwing away society's sexual mores, no less! -- was one that pushed an awful lot of conservatives and liberals from identifying their partisanship as merely political to identifying it as existential. Too many people on either side, politicians and regular citizens alike, now consider the other side to be philosophically anti-American -- and that's a really hard obstacle to get around.

Date: 2010-09-27 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stu-segal.livejournal.com
David Gergen's perspective doesn't seem to address the differences that exists among younger generations of voters - whose conservatives and liberals seem to be just as polarized as the Vietnam era voters.

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