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Sat Oct 31, 2020, 12:41 PM

Why the 2020s Could Be as Dangerous as the 1850s - Brownstein, the Atlantic

Last edited Sat Oct 31, 2020, 01:14 PM - Edit history (1)

(snip)

With Biden embracing America’s evolution and Trump appealing unrestrainedly to the white voters most fearful of it, the 2020 campaign marks a new peak in the most powerful trend shaping politics in this century. Over the past two decades, and especially since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, voters have re-sorted among the parties and thus reconfigured the central fault line between them. Today Republicans and Democrats are divided less by class or region than by attitudes toward the propulsive demographic, cultural, and economic shifts remaking 21st-century America. On one side, Republicans now mobilize what I’ve called a “coalition of restoration”; on the other, Democrats assemble a “coalition of transformation.”

Republicans have grown more reliant on support from mostly white and Christian constituencies and the exurban, small-town, and rural communities that have been the least touched, and most unnerved, by cultural and economic transitions: growing diversity in race, religion, and sexual orientation; evolving roles for women; and the move from an industrial economy to one grounded in the Information Age. Democrats have become the party of the people and places most immersed in, and welcoming of, those shifts: people of color, Millennials and members of Generation Z, secular adults who don’t identify with any religious tradition, and college-educated white professionals, all of them clustered in the nation’s largest metropolitan centers.

(snip)

In the same way that Trump has isolated the GOP from the growing groups in American society driving demographic change, he is exiling the Republican Party from the places at the cutting edge of economic change. The Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution calculated that although Clinton in 2016 won fewer than one-sixth of U.S. counties, her counties accounted for nearly two-thirds of total GDP. “What we’ve seen is an increased sorting in which the Democratic vote has aligned around a future-oriented, higher-tech information economy, anchored by diverse urban places with dense collections of workers,” Mark Muro, the MPP’s policy director, told me. “Meanwhile, the Republican vote has sorted to essentially become a bastion of holdover traditionalist economic activities”—led by manufacturing, energy extraction, and agriculture—“and smaller, rural, less dense places.”

(snip)

But almost all of the Republicans I’ve spoken with agree that trading small towns for big suburbs is an unsustainable strategy. With relatively few exceptions, the areas where Trump is strongest are stagnant or decreasing in population, while jobs, innovation, and people are concentrating inside of the metropolitan centers that are poised to repudiate him in massive numbers. “The Republican base has migrated from the country club to the country, and that’s just not where the people are,” says Tom Davis, a former Republican representative from northern Virginia who once chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee. “There is no question [that] long term, it is a losing proposition.”

(snip)

These same flammable ingredients were present in the 1850s, when a rising majority found it impossible to impose its agenda because of all the structural obstacles laid down by the retreating minority. As the decade proceeded, it became more and more clear that the newly formed Republican Party, dedicated to barring the spread of slavery to the territories, constituted an emerging national majority. It was centered on the northern states, which by 1860 would represent 60 percent of America’s population, including 70 percent of its white population. In their writings and speeches, southerners were acutely conscious of their status as a national minority. Yet for decades they successfully maneuvered to block restrictions on slavery through their powerful position in the Senate and their influence over pro-slavery Democratic presidents. That allowed them not only to suppress most legislative threats, but also to establish a friendly majority on the Supreme Court. In the 1857 Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court, with seven of its nine justices appointed by earlier pro-South Democratic presidents, declared that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories. As the Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz recently told me, “what Dred Scott did, in effect, was to declare the platform of the Republican Party unconstitutional.”

Whether Abraham Lincoln could have maneuvered around those obstacles we’ll never know, because the South seceded before anyone could find out. Even if Democrats consistently win elections through the 2020s, red states aren’t likely to follow the example of the pre–Civil War South and quit the union. But Republican behavior in recent years suggests that they share the antebellum South’s determination to control the nation’s direction as a minority. That determination is evident in the extraordinary steps Republicans have taken to shift the Supreme Court, including denying a vote on Obama nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 and then rushing a vote on Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett this month, after more than 60 million Americans had already voted. It’s evident in the flood of laws that Republican states have passed over the past decade making it more difficult to vote. And it’s evident in the fervent efforts from the party to restrict access to mail-in voting this year. In many ways, recent history has suggested that Republicans believe they have a better chance of maintaining power by suppressing the diverse new generations entering the electorate than by courting them.

More..

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/10/biden-2020-trump-election/616912/


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Reply Why the 2020s Could Be as Dangerous as the 1850s - Brownstein, the Atlantic (Original post)
question everything Oct 2020 OP
KPN Oct 2020 #1
question everything Oct 2020 #2
KPN Oct 2020 #4
BeyondGeography Oct 2020 #3
pfitz59 Oct 2020 #5
BadGimp Oct 2020 #6

Response to question everything (Original post)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 01:05 PM

1. Excellent article. The Atlantic is a fine magazine.

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Response to KPN (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 01:12 PM

2. It is really long. I had hard time selecting the most relevant paragraphs.

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Response to question everything (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 02:05 PM

4. Funny -- while reading it I thought, wow, QE did a

great job of picking out key paragraphs!

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 01:18 PM

3. Essential reading

“I’ve often said that modern American politics can be reduced to a single question: How long can Paducah tell Seattle what to do?”

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 04:10 PM

5. Dying gasps of a dying party.

The GOP is shrinking into a self-deluded ball of insecurity and paranoia. With guns. It must hurt to be 'left behind'...

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Response to question everything (Original post)

Sat Oct 31, 2020, 05:04 PM

6. read the last sentence first...

" In many ways, recent history has suggested that Republicans believe they have a better chance of maintaining power by suppressing the diverse new generations entering the electorate than by courting them."

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