Go to previous post:
Back in business.

Go to Electrolite's front page.

Go to next post:
You can’t fight a war against lunchmeat without breaking eggs.

Our Admirable Sponsors

January 19, 2004

Why we are in truly deep shit. “America as a One-Party State.” Read it and don’t weep. Don’t mourn, organize. [01:33 AM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Why:

Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 02:36 AM:

One of my hobbyhorses is redistricting, precisely because of what has happened to House seats as discussed in there. 25 contested seats out of 435. It's hardly what Ben and Tom and John had in mind.

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 06:03 AM:

And those of us who find ourselves imperial subjects and providers of barbarian auxiliaries, but not citizens, what are we meant to do?

Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 08:28 AM:

Make it clear to our rulers that it's not in their political interests to be Imperial client-states?

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 09:03 AM:

Remember what happened to Neil Kinnock?

Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 10:20 AM:

Apparently not. All I can come up with is that rather silly attempt by the Tories to suggest that he wasn't Man Enough to use our "independant" nuclear deterrant. What have I missed?

Rick Heller ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 10:49 AM:

I'm a centrist in principle, but I would suggest to liberal Democrats that perhaps they ought to become centrists pragmatically, in order to gain enough swing voters to form a majority. Then, they can undo the rules they don't like, and move back to the left.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 11:03 AM:

That's a highly respectable argument, but on the other hand:

(1) That's not how the hard right gained control of the country.

(2) The Democratic Party has been trying this approach for most of two decades, at the end of which they find themselves out of power in all branches of the federal government.

I'm extremely inclined to political pragmatism, but I also recognize that one definition of insanity is "finding something that doesn't work, and then doing it a lot."

the talking dog ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 11:10 AM:

You know, Singapore is a one-party state, and its nice and clean.

People are taking to the streets by the thousands in IRAQ to demand their right to vote (the AMerican occupiers seem to want to control the outcome with "regional caucuses", instead of direct representative elections).

And yet, we, a far richer, far more important country, where our elections matter a great deal more to the whole world and frankly to our individual lives, can barely even get a majority to even register to vote, and only a bare majority of THAT group to even bother to vote.

9-11 has taught us nothing. At least I can take solace knowing that Court Street and Union Street and 4th and 4th Avenues will likely be tidier in a one-party state.

C Scavella Burrell ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 11:52 AM:

One thing that struck me recently is the incredulousness with which many people -- pro-Republican or otherwise -- react when poll-tinkering (current incarnation, Diebold) is discussed. Even an ATM, which is not deciding the fate of a country, has an auditable paper trail that could easily be made anonymous; this seems a no-brainer to me. Jim Crow is not that long ago. I'm sure there are still quite a few men in power who were in power then. That might be something worth reminding people about when they say that sort of thing isn't happening here.

But can a song about, say, the spirit of Joe Hill cut through the background noise in a country where we're bombarded with the latest "news" about Britney? I'm hoping the internet as alternative rallying point is having a much greater effect that anyone can yet see (Dean web-supporters as example). My inbox may be flooded with spam all day and night until email is nigh useless, but as yet no one controls what those of us privileged to have an internet connection can access. Sometimes I'm not sure that will matter a bit if the votes are not tallied properly. That alone iwould be enough to send me wobbling at the edge of giving up (Canada looks clean and friendly), if I didn't keep reminding myself that people refused to give up on political change thirty-five, forty years ago....

Greg Greene ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 12:01 PM:

Big Dawg:

9-11 has taught us nothing. At least I can take solace knowing that Court Street and Union Street and 4th and 4th Avenues will likely be tidier in a one-party state.
Sure about that? If you pinned me down on it, I'd have to say that 9-11 taught us that the Republicans don't give a s--- about New York. You'll be able to eat dinner off the streets of Plano, though.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 12:31 PM:

"You'll be able to eat dinner off the streets of Plano, though."

The streets might be clean, but after the Safe Foods Act of 2005 which makes health and safety inspections voluntary and makes dissing the cattle industry a capital offense, the actual dinner might be dodgy.

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 02:39 PM:

If everyone who reads weblogs voted against Bush, and everyone else voted for Bush, the guy would win in a walk.

This isn't where the battle is taking place. It's out in the pencil-and-paper newsprint-and-ink world. Write letters to the editor. Get out and talk to people. A post in a comment thread, no matter how witty or insightful, doesn't friggin' matter.

clark e myers ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 02:55 PM:

Oh come off it; there is no positive correlation between 1 party state and clean streets - see e.g the PRI and the state of pollution in the Mexico City basin or any of a variety of states in Africa. Note also that despite favorable mention by Cole Porter (subsequently amended - "you're the top you're Mussolini") creditable researchers argue that trains were no more punctual under Mussolini than otherwise. I'd expect the streets of Plano today to be receive more sunshine, be drier and so be more nearly safe to eat from. Been a long time since animals were driven down mainstreet in most American cities although the practice left a lot of dieing towns with wide streets for ample downtown parking.

Notice also that liberal bastions such as Washington state have laws on the books currently about dissing apples - dating to the Alar scare - and that Oprah Winfrey was sued for something approximating food defamation for giving/hosting/endorsing diet advice on her show.

Finally don't worry about it. See e.g. Mr. Heinlein's discussion in Double Star where Larry Smith says when one party is clearly right on an issue that party comes to dominate the political discourse but suggests not to worry that party will itself fracture. - lots of folks apparently think Republicans were correct on some issues. As Mr. Bush loses libertarian support, and I'm sure he will, new coalitions will form.

The trouble with the Democrats as a party is that they aren't - Democrat: member of no organized political party. Given the candidates I can't figure out what the Democratic party platform is let alone what it should be.

clark e myers ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 03:05 PM:

Finally, I take exception to the description of Max Baucus as "more malleable" - his personal position may be more centrist - only to be expected of a Democrat in his position (consider who else has held the same seat) - but nothing I know of him suggests that he responds to pressure any more than do some who stand to his left.

Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 04:50 PM:

Back to Neil Kinnock -- so long as resistance to having an "independent" deterrent can be portrayed as pathetic wimpishness, anyone who resists it can be --and will be -- destroyed electorally.

Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 06:22 PM:

There's more going on here than Kuttner sees, I think. We may be seeing the emergence of European-style interest parties within the Rs & Ds and the ascendance of a major one within the Rs...but I need to write an article about that at some greater length.

Meantime, I recommend the recent Toobin New Yorker article (5 Jan?) on districting, which covers some of the same ground.

adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 10:28 PM:

Patrick, I've been wondering for a long, long time why TAPPED isn't in your blogroll. It's in mine (just as you are) and, more to the point, you're in its.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 11:09 PM:

Hey! Tapped has been in my blogroll since its inception. It's currently listed under "Autonomous Collectives" -i.e., blogs written by more than one person.

Among other things, Tapped publishes smart people like Nick Confessore, Garance Franke-Ruta, and Matthew "Man-Mountain" Yglesias. It's a daily read!

But this reminds me that I should really restructure my disorganized blogroll. THE PLAIN PEOPLE OF BLOGDOM: "What, to make it easier to sort out?" THE EVIL MASTER OF ELECTROLITE MANOR: "No, to make it hard in different ways."

adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2004, 12:45 AM:

Oops! Sorry--I guess I was confusing you and Teresa.

Sam Dodsworth ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2004, 04:28 AM:


Your point, then, is that politicians need to be in tune with the voters. So... work to persuade the voters that the "special relationship" isn't a good idea, and let the politicians know they're losing popularity. Even if it doesn't work, it's better than sitting around wringing your hands.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2004, 12:58 PM:

From Greg Greene,

"Sure about that? [that NYC would be cleaner, under a GOP one-party state] If you pinned me down on it, I'd have to say that 9-11 taught us that the Republicans don't give a s--- about New York. You'll be able to eat dinner off the streets of Plano, though."

From what I've heard, you can eat dinner off of the streets of Plano, TX right now, without being disturbed. I've heard that the telecom crashed devastated that town.