Sunday, April 19, 2015

After Wisconsin, Walker looking to Divide U.S. and World with "Unitary Executive" Powers.

History is filled with stories of great leaders who came at just the right time to wreak havoc and destruction for their countries and the world. Are we in such a time?

Wisconsin went from blue, to purple, to deep throbbing red in a very short time under Scott Walker. Throw in a abiding rubber stamp from an overwhelmingly republican legislature, and you've got the makings of "bold" leader who can, not surprisingly, get things done. For republicans, the failure of individual policies isn't as important as having their great party leader in power.

What I'm saying is this; Walker's style of politics is coming at the right time for him and our ideologically divided nation. The mood of partisan politics is everywhere, especially in D.C.. So it's not odd to think this authoritarian and dictatorial little coward may just have a chance at becoming president after all.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank offered up the research that explains what is happening:
The ultimate Unitary Executive!!?
It has long been agreed that race is the deepest divide in American society. But that is no longer true, say Shanto Iyengar and Sean Westwood, the academics who led the study. Using a variety of social science methods (for example, having study participants review résumés of people that make both their race and party affiliation clear), they document that “the level of partisan animus in the American public exceeds racial hostility.”

Americans now discriminate more on the basis of party than on race, gender or any of the other divides we typically think of — and that discrimination extends beyond politics into personal relationships and non-political behaviors. Americans increasingly live in neighborhoods with like-minded partisans, marry fellow partisans and disapprove of their children marrying mates from the other party, and they are more likely to choose partners based on partisanship than physical or personality attributes.

“Unlike race,  there are no corresponding pressures to temper disapproval of political opponents,” they conclude. “If anything, the rhetoric and actions of political leaders demonstrate that hostility directed at the opposition is acceptable, even appropriate. Partisans therefore feel free to express animus and engage in discriminatory behavior toward opposing partisans.” The vast majority of self-described independents actually lean toward one party or the other, and they are often even more partisan in their views than those who identify themselves with a party.

Also of note is that the partisan polarization occurs even though Americans aren't all that split on policies or ideology. Their partisanship is more tribal than anything — the result of an ill-informed electorate. Westwood said, “However, most people understand their side is good and the opposing side is bad, so it’s much easier for them to form these emotional opinions of political parties.”

This leads to a grim conclusion: The problem with politics isn't Washington but the electorate. 

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