One of the worst things about American politics over the past 30 years has been asymmetric polarization, where the GOP has moved far and fast to the right whereas the Democratic Party has stayed where it ever was, absent its southern conservative wing.
- It will not happen. The old Will Rogers joke will continue to hold: “I’m not a member of any organized political party; I’m a Democrat.”
- It will happen, but it’s a good thing! We need a Democratic Party stripped of its Liebermans and its Manchins and all those other squishes; the only way to fight fire is with fire.
Today Matt Yglesias made a brief for argument number (2). (To be fair, he did not say whether it would be a good thing or not.) He is arguing that younger voters want a more ideologically coherent Democratic Party. At some point, someone without the downsides of Bernie Sanders (like, say, Senator Elizabeth Warren) will give it to them.
Given the structure of the American constitution, I am torn. I can easily imagine how two ideologically coherent parties could wreck the country, even if they both had the best intentions. On the other hand, as a middle-aged guy from Brooklyn, I completely understand the logic of an eye for an eye; time to stop getting rolled and (more importantly) time to stop letting the conservative side shift the Overton Window.
At the end of the day, though, having close Republican friends and relatives, my instinct is that it is a bad thing for the Democrats to imitate the GOP. If you want to become a national consensus party (like Canada’s Liberals) then mushy is what you want.
But I do not think that will happen. I think we are headed towards two ideologically homogenous parties, and I do not think that will be a good thing for the country. Why am I wrong?