Left and Right Are No Longer Useful Political Markers

Traditionally, the left-right bifurcation of American politics is understood in reference to the federalist system. Conservatism upholds the sovereignty of individual’s judgments. Government it views as inherently limiting. To the limited degree government is a net positive, it is solely in its role as arbiter of disputes where one individual charges another’s actions have violated his rights. In all cases, organs of state and local governments as the superior means by which to rectify political…

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The Politics of Doom: Rhetorical Bluster or Electorally Transformative?

Contemporary politics is less a formal party system, organized around substantively different sets of beliefs, and more an emergent schism between doomsday prophets who can agree that America is in decline and freedom is fast slipping away, but lay the blame for impending cataclysm at the feet of their rivals. Political identity is subsumed by end-time beliefs; the operative variable is whether one believes the president or his detractors are the agents responsible. The prophets…

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American Party Culture, Part 4: The Struggle for Popularity

Messages of political unity have a particular magnetism. For certain, campaign rhetoric that appeals to the ability of a nation to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds if people put differences aside and pull together for the common good is like lodestone for would-be politicians. “Come together” messaging might seem incongruous in the framework of inherently divisive elections, where competitors speak of hope and unity in one breath then deride the motives of their opponent in the…

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