Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Coming Political Realignment

You have got to give Donald Trump credit. He destroyed the two reigning dynasties in American politics; the Bushes and the Clintons. He is now in the process of destroying the hollowed out shells of the Democratic and Republican parties. By the end of his term there could very well be two Democratic parties. A social democratic one headed by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren based on hostility to capitalism, an expanded welfare state and identity politics. The last of which can be viewed as fundamentally anti-American in the sense that it rejects our national motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” which means “out of many one”.  This faction is open to unskilled immigration, anti-trade and isolationist with respect to foreign policy.

I would characterize establishment wing of the Democratic Party, formerly headed by the Clintons as Left Hamiltonians. The favor big government but are friendly to finance, Hollywood and Silicon Valley. They favor open trade, an internationalist foreign policy, high skilled immigration, the regulatory state and thoroughly believe in the educational meritocracy that by and large runs the country. To them Trump is the ultimate outsider. My question is will they remain in what will be a very left wing Democratic Party with its hostility to the elites that they are?

On the Republican side we now have a very populist Jacksonian party that is hostile to nontraditional lifestyle choices, trade, immigration and foreign entanglements. It supports the existing entitlement programs and is voice of dispossessed white people who now believe that they are a minority group and are voting as such. They too are hostile to E Pluribus Unum. It was these voters that elected Donald Trump. To be sure there racism is present, but the grievances are real as they are looked down upon by the elites of both parties. On economic issues they are closer to the social democratic wing of the Democratic Party than the establishment Republicans, a fact highlighted by Donald Trump during the campaign.

I would characterize the establishment wing of the Republican Party, now a shell of its former self, as Right Hamiltonians as typified by House Speaker Paul Ryan. They favor big government where it can help big business, low taxes, open trade, high skilled immigration, and an internationalist foreign policy. They have more in common with the Left Hamiltonians in the Democratic Party than they do with the Jacksonians that are now running their party. The basis of a new party can be formed here similar to the way the Northern Whigs and the anti-slavery Democrats merged to form the Republican Party in 1854.

There is also a Jeffersonian wing in the Republican Party. They are called libertarians who favor a small government, an isolationist foreign policy and are wide open to the life style choices people make. It isn’t clear they have a home in the newly constituted Jacksonian Republican Party.

So fasten your seat belts, we are in for a wild ride over the next four years!

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