Infrastructural Party Power at the End of Empire
Edit: "overseas" in place of "oversees" -- and a couple of instances of "it's" where it should say "its." Otherwise, really insightful piece, Gabe. Would love to see it published. Your use of Mann to explain the dynamics of different versions of state power is helpful. I couldn't help but recall James Scott's argument that all such efforts are fool's errands, that even when states have the despot and the infrastructure figured out, they still founder on the waves of local complexities they seek to control. Or at least they can, sometimes. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how the GOP navigates those complexities. Changing demographics are a big one, but of course there are others.
edit: cache when you want cachet…
I find myself in violent agreement with this. Thanks for bringing this into more clear focus.
Done believing that there is an interaction between material forces and charismatic individuals who express and channel those forces at certain select inflection points make one a liberal? I don't think so.
Sharing as widely as I can, Thank you for this distillation at this time, much appreciated GR. Arohanui from Aotearoa
Well, at the risk of starting a fracas, I'll put Sanders and Nader in the mix as public figures with strong personas and no infrastructure. Were Sanders to be elected as POTUS, he has no caucus to call on …"Hey, write a bill that does X so I can sign it." He may find common cause with a caucus, as he does now. But is he forwarding the interests of the party or himself?
As for Nader, 2000 would have been a great to build a local->state party infrastructure that by now would have seen 10 congressional cycles, 3 complete Senate cycles, 4 presidential campaigns, and all the statehouse/state legs and city/county seats. I'm not saying I blame him for 2000, not when the Brooks Bros Riot is right there. But it would have been something to turn that energy into a viable alternative that would have gotten some local traction and perhaps groomed candidates for higher office who weren't wholly-owned sublets of ALEC. The Communist Party of the USA used to select the candidates for the W State Dems (47 states and the Soviet of Washington was no joke).
The chief problem this country faces is a lack of diversity in candidates, due to the high cost of elections in large part, with the power of incumbency a big driver. So starting small and local, putting every seat in play in every election, is where someone like Nader or Sanders could have used their influence.
2 currents -
globalism vs nationalism
And Christianity vs liberal humanism
I’d argue Trump exploited these 2 trends in addition to many of the typical Republican positions (guns, low taxes, oil)