Not in Chicago

In my opinion Jonathan Chait’s New Yorker column in which he plants his flag on “the only problem in American politics is Republicans” demonstrates one thing positively:

Political scientist Lee Drutman argues in a Vox essay that American politics is descending into what he calls “doom-loop partisanship.” Drutman notes that Americans have been “retreating into our separate tribal epistemologies, each with their own increasingly incompatible set of facts and first premises,” each heavily racialized, in which “[t]here’s no possibility for rational debate or middle-ground compromise. Just two sorted teams, with no overlap, no cross-cutting identities, and with everyone’s personal sense of status constantly on the line.”

Drutman attributes this to winner-take-all elections, the expanding power of the presidency, and the growing influence of money in politics. I think, despite all the very real design flaws in American politics, the problems he describe stem mainly from the pathologies of the Republican Party.

It is that he doesn’t live in Chicago. As an exercise I would recommend that he take he take a cold, hard, green eyeshades look at Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois, and explain how their problems were created by Republicans.

I have a different viewpoint. I think that one of our major political parties, largely run by whites, is determined to keep blacks in a permanent state of poverty and subordination. That party is the Democratic Party. And yes, the Republican Party has made common cause with racists and white supremacists to its lasting shame. That does not exonerate the Democrats.

I’m a Democrat. Here in Chicago, County County, Illinois Republicans have no bearing on daily life and that has been the case for generations. My interest is in healing the Democratic Party which is in dire need of it. I don’t want it just to be the party of Big Government. I want it to be the party of Good Government. We have a long way to go. The first step is being honest. The second is being frank.

6 comments… add one
  • gray shambler

    “I think that one of our major political parties, largely run by whites, is determined to keep blacks in a permanent state of poverty and subordination. That party is the Democratic Party. ”

    You really believe that? You are of like mind with Rush Limbaugh, who would use exactly the same phrase, followed by,

    “A permanent captive voter block”

    In this day of the open mike, you’d think a heartfelt racist politician would get caught. More likely they just know which side the bread is buttered on.

  • They’re not racists, exactly. They’re paternalists.

    Again, look at Chicago. I don’t believe that Rahm Emanuel is a racist (I think that Karen Lewis does). I just think that he’s adopting policies that will make it difficult for blacks to remain in Chicago. I think his vision for Chicago is tinged with New York and Washington—a good place for the top 1% of income earners, not so good for anybody else.

    Bad as the Democrats’ record on race is, the Republicans are actually worse. American politics is really in a sorry state. Pretending that everything is hunky dory because Republicans are bad is just wrong. Maybe that’s what it looks like in New York and California but it isn’t what things look like here.

  • gray shambler

    Paternalists because they believe blacks need that or because it gets them elected, and how is that not racism, to see blacks as always needing help from a paternalistic Gov.?

  • CStanley

    How is that not racism, to see blacks as always needing help from a paternalistic Gov.?

    I agree here,..it’s the “soft bigotry of low expectations.”

  • Guarneri

    ” I think that one of our major political parties, largely run by whites, is determined to keep blacks in a permanent state of poverty and subordination. That party is the Democratic Party. And yes, the Republican Party has made common cause with racists and white supremacists to its lasting shame. That does not exonerate the Democrats.”

    What a strange collection of words.

  • mike shupp

    Hmmm … y’know, way back when, when I first heard much talk about Barak Obama as a presidential candidate and people had problems figuring out what sort of politician he might be, I used to chortle to myself, because I thought knew exactly what sort of political figure Barak Obama would be — He was a Big City Midwestern Democrat. And now it’s going on ten years later, and I still think of Obama as a Big City Midwestern Democrat, representative of all the good and bad things that such figures tend to be.

    Hmmm. I was a Small Town Midwestern Republican then. I’ve become a bit more tolerant over time.

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