America’s de la Boetiean Watershed

Tags

, , , ,

Protesters toppling a statue of Shah Mohammad Reza in Iran in 1978.

As memory serves, I’ve mentioned French philosopher Etienne de la Boetie a time or two in this forum.

His observations about how the fortunes of government, any government, no matter how democratic or authoritarian, ultimately rest on the sentiments of its subjects, invariably remind me of the tumultuous events culminating in the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza during Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The ways that tbe Shah’s besieged caretaker government under Shapour Baktiar desperately clung to power following the Shah’s hasty departure, issuing edict after edict, proclamation after proclamation, in the forlorn hope of reining in revolutionary discontent would have resounded with de la Boetie. He even coined a succinct phrase, which has been employed by paleo-libertarian writers time and again to describe those rare inflection points in history when a large segment of a society’s population simply has had enough, writing off governmental authority as utterly debased, illegitimate and unentitled to obedience, despite the potentially deadly consequences this behavior often invites. I have racked my brain for years and still can’t recall the phrase, though it brilliantly conveyed the essence of this historical inflection point, which invariably portends a abrupt, irrevocable break with the old order.

As de la Boetie would have anticipated, Bakhtiar’s efforts amounted to nothing, as millions of rank-and-file Iranians, obstinately ignoring all of them, pushed ahead with insurrection. Iran had reached an inflection point of popular discontent, one that bore close parallels to the descriptions of popular disillusionment that de la Boetie supplied in his own writings.

I was a high school student way back in 1979, too intellectually unsophisticated at the time to grasp the full implications of what was unfolding in Iran. But I possessed at least enough insight to discern that some sort of line had been crossed. And I also suspected that it marked not only a significant historical departure for ordinary Iranians but also a monumental shift in the geopolitical balance – namely, the ways the United States subsequently ordered its affairs in this tumultuous region.

Granted, most Americans of the time held no sympathy for radical Islam and knew that what followed would impose significant hardship for the Iranian people. But based on all the facts that we were able to garner at that time through broadcast and print media – this, after all, was almost a full generation before the advent of digital media – many of us knew that longstanding American support for the hated Pahlavi regime was a significant driving factor behind this uprising.

Empires, especially global ones, require client states, and the Shah’s regime served American interests in a variety of ways, despite their running counter to the aspirations of millions of ordinary Iranians, especially those in rural locales, far removed from the material prosperity unfolding in Iranian cities.

To be sure, “dark forces,” notably the Soviet Union, may have been working behind the scenes to exacerbate the these social, cultural and political cleavages, but I, for one, still believed that the raging anger of the Iranians was rooted in genuine grievance. Yet, who could ever had imagined that this conflagration ultimately would lead months later to the storming of the American Embassy in Teheran?

By that time I had graduated high school and enrolled in college to earn a political science degree. I can still recall almost verbatim how one professor described the embassy occupation as an event of profound geopolitical significance, one that likely would be remembered many years later as one of the watershed events of the post-war of the 20th century. He was right: Iran’s Islamic Revolution marked a significant reformulation  of American strategy in the Middle East, one that would be followed by an immense expenditure of American blood and wealth.

The Pahlavi regime’s collapse not only foreshadowed the erosion of American influence in that region but also of the decline of the comparatively short-lived American Empire, which had been hastily improvised little more than a quarter century earlier to fill the breach left by a beleaguered British Empire in the aftermath of World War II.

Americans were in store for a long and arduous journey, though one punctuated by the assurances of U.S. governing elites that all setbacks were only temporary and that the expenditure of American blood, wealth and geopolitical capital to contain and ultimately to reverse the viral eruption of Islamic radicalism ultimately would tip the scales, drawing us finally toward a new flourishing of the American-fostered liberal-democratic imperium, in which democracy and secularism finally would would take root and thrive in previous inhospitable Mideastern soil.

We know better now – at least, growing numbers of us do. And we also perceive  how this vast expenditure of blood and treasure in this region of the world has sapped American strength not only abroad but also at home, embodied in the decaying infrastructure and boarded store fronts as well as in the social pathology and breakdown evident on so may small cities and towns across the vast American heartland. Tens of millions also perceive how our  elites, increasingly exposed, cornered and threatened as a result of the wind they sowed decades ago, have turned to the same desperate tactics to which previous ruling classes have resorted in the face of imperial decline and rising levels of discontent.

Our rulers and their media enablers characterize the occupation of the U.S. Capitol in January essentially Qanon conspiracy fearmongering run amuck. Millions of us aren’t buying it. We even suspect that decades from now, this event very well may be recalled as an turning point, perhaps even as the harbinger of a de la Boetiean-style watershed event in America not that far removed from what transpired in Iran more than two generations ago. Indeed, for tens of millions of us, this event only served to shine a light on the perfervid anger of millions of rank-and-file Americans, not only over the rot that has set into many, if not most, of this country’s political and cultural institutions but also over the ways that our governing class and their enablers (e.g., academia, media and Silicon Valley) have contributed immensely to it.

Exasperated Elites

Tags

, , ,

Borrowed for purposes of illustration from the Dishcast with Andrew Sullivan

I have been intrigued  with the recent  behavior of Andrew Sullivan, one of the most innovative and gifted political commentators of the age.

Note in this column Michael Anton’s description of how exasperated Sullivan, an ardent NeverTrumper and self-described conservative (albeit of the wet Tory variety), became during a podcast interview in the face of interviewee Anton’s refusal to acknowledge the validity of 2020 election outcome. Sullivan would abide none of this and, over the course of the interview, kept dragging Anton back to the topic.

Personally, I think that Sullivan’s exasperation with this topic possibly provides a fascinating glimpse into the soul of the American political cognoscenti, especially those in the thinning ranks of thr centrist camp, of which Sullivan is the most conspicuous and talented member.

Anton is only one of several commentators who have pointed out the fractiousness with which Sullivan and other political commentators have treated those who have summoned the temerity to question the validity of the election outcome. But then, why wouldn’t they?

For at least the past century and a half, most Americans have regarded their country as one of humanity’s singular achievements, one built significantly, if not entirely, on the basis of ideals rather than from the Old World ingredients of language, culture and ethnicity. And this narrative typically has also encompassed the argument that this singularity has been sustained – backstopped – by governing institutions, notably an electoral system that, at least until the last few election cycles, has set a benchmark not only for every other Western constitutional democracy but also for nations that aspire to lofty standards of governance.

Singularity has comprised much of the adhesive that has held this country together for at least the past century, especially following the tidal wave of immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe in the late 19th century,  which threatened to dilute the moorings that previously had connected the country to its strong Anglo-Saxon cultural and political legacies. 

In the face of this rapid demographic transformation, American intellectuals began improvising an updated national  identity that over time was expressed as propositional nationhood.  It is grounded on the premise, foreshadowed in the Gettysburg Address, that America derives its identity from the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence and that these are sustained by a rigid adherence to the rule of law.  Many liberals and a few conservatives would contend that this improvisation has worked reasonably well, at least, until recently. 

Yet, cultural and political upheavals since the 2016 Trump election upset have drawn growing numbers of Americans on both ends of the political spectrum to question whether or not these idealistic foundations have frayed to the point of threadbareness.

While it’s impossible to discern an individual’s motives, I suspect that Sullivan is one among several in the elite punditry who harbor serious misgivings about what is unfolding in America. After all, Sullivan, a Briton by birth, is a naturalized American who has affirmed more than once in his  columns and blogs how the idealistic underpinnings of American national identity ultimately inspired him to acquire citizenship. 

Yet, I wonder if this enthusiasm has been beset recently with the same gnawing doubts that have gripped other Americans. Sullivan is no naif by any stretch of the imagination. He has demonstrated time and again in his commentary not only vast erudition but also a highly nuanced understanding of vitually every prevailing political trend.

Over the course of his wide reading, he’s undoubtedly encountered Czech playwright and later Czecholovakian President Vaclav Havel’s seminal essay “The Power of the Powerless,” wherein Havel likens the embattled Czecholoslovakian Communist regime and its underpinning ideology to a hermetically sealed package prone to rapid spoilage at the mere prick of the seal.

A time or two I’ve wondered if Sullivan, pondering the parlous state of American unity, has been reminded of this seminal essay and noted parallels with present-day America.

I readily confess that I have.

Sullivan undoubtedly understands that a nation such as the United States founded on and sustained largely by abstract ideals survives as a functioning constitutional democracy only so long the majority of its citizens evince faith in these ideals.

What if the spoilage described by Havel ultimately is setting into American idealism? Likewise, what happens if  Americans, growing numbers of them, no longer express confidence in these ideals? What if they come to the point of openly expressing doubts that these ideas still comprise an  adequate basis for America unity?

To be sure, Sullivan’s exasperation with Anton may simply have been a means of reinforcing his standing as an Establishment commentator standing at the temperate center of American elite discourse. And who can blame him? Sullivan has no incentive to run afoul of elite media,, despite that fact that it’s increasingly evincing proto-totalitarian traits. After all, where could a gay man with an Oxbridge/Ivy League educational pedigree possibly go?

Still, I doubt that I’m the only one who has closely followed Sullivan’s career and noted his recent behavior.  He’s too smart and perceptive to ignore the specter that is  haunting America: the increasingly evident doubt among millions of Americans of the efficacy of this nation’s ideals and as well as the institutions charged with sustaining national unity.

Maybe this accounts for Sullivan recent exasperated podcast exchange with a defiant Michael Anton.

An Increasingly Reluctant Panel of Last Resort

Tags

, , , , , ,

The U.S. Supreme Court Chamber

There has been a lot of chatter lately within conservative and libertarian circles about the increasing dysfunction that has set into our judicial branch, which, however ill-advisedly, now regards itself as the Union’s defender of last resort.

Lots to unpack here but I’ll return to something that I have argued before in this forum – something that was driven home to me years ago reading British constitutional scholar James Bryce’s appraisal of the American constitutional system in his classic tome The American Commonwealth, first published in 1888. Even way back then, Bryce had perceived how dysfunctional and unwieldy the federal legislative branch had become in the face of the nation’s rapid demographic and geographic expansion.

By the late 19th century it was impossible for the House of Representatives to function as a bona fide legislative assembly. Virtually all of its vital daily work was conducted via committee with all of the backroom Machiavelianism this entailed. Meanwhile, the Senate had grown far beyond its ability to function as a comparatively small, elite advisory council to the executive branch, as conceived by the constitutional framers.

By the late 19th century the judicial branch, embodied in most American minds then and now as the Supreme Court, one that was given comparatively short shrift by the Constitution by its framers, was poised for its ascent to the commanding heights of American politics and culture.

Its earliest custodians, notably Chief Justice John Marshall, had, like all elites in virtually all political systems throughout history, engineered the first tenuous steps toward an accretion of power beginning with Marbury v. Madison.  But even Marshall, careful to avoid overreach and the backlash that inevitably would follow from the majority Jeffersonian camp, stepped away from one especially contentious constitutional issue of the day, conceding, however reluctantly, that the recently enacted Bill of Rights applied only the the federal government, not to the states.

The most libertarian- and constitutionalist-minded of early American statesman expressed qualms about enacting an explicit statement of rights, fearing that it ultimately would be construed by Congress or the courts as affecting state as well as federal authority.

These fears rather predictably proved prescient, following the post-Civil War passage of three constitutional amendments – the 13th, 14th and 15th – that set the Supreme Court firmly on the path toward the enunciation of the Incorporation Doctrine, which effectively worked to erode the states’ sovereignty, reducing them to de facto provinces.

Equally significant, though, is how the Supreme Court has employed the Incorporation Doctrine with many subsequent expansionist rulings in a manner that essentially has transformed it into a de facto supreme governing council – effectively, the American Union’s final arbiter.

What many observers surprisingly overlook, no doubt, intentionally in the vast majority of instances, is that the court employs enhanced powers partly to compensate for the dysfunction of the legislative branch, which the Framers regarded as the well-spring of federal policy, not to mention, the branch charged with safeguarding the balance between state sovereignty and that which had been delegated – conditionally, it should be stressed – by the states to the federal government.

The behavior and public pronouncements of the current Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and and his immediate predecessors seem to reflect this fact.  The case could be made that the court has been aware for decades of the role it has served, however unconstitutional, in shoring up the deep dysfunctionality of the legislative branch, one whose efficacy has been badly eroded within the past century and a half but especially in the years after World War II when the United States emerged as a global empire..

Yet, increasingly, the Court finds itself hemmed in, if not trapped, by the demographic and cultural changes overtaking the country, many of which are of its making. One recent example: It’s decision following the 2020 election not to hear the case lawsuit challenging late changes to Pennsylvania’s election process.

Despite a thunderous dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas, two justices previously regarded as being in the tank for the right, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Comey Barrett, voted with the majority. And why should we find that at all surprising? Given the way the Mainstream Media organs characterized Thomas’ opinion as dissent bordering on sedition, it’s easy to discern why a court that they regard a majority conservative one has gotten into the habit of carefully hedging its bets.

SCOTUS, to employ one of the  Orwellian Newspeak-style terms that characterizes so much of cultural and political discourse now days, is walking an increasingly thin rope. It carries on what it undoubtedly regards as a lofty and valiant struggle to safeguard not only a dysfunctional legislative branch but an increasingly divided, if not fraying, American Union. Yet, as a marginally conservative court, regarded as illegitimate by many, if not most, of our Mandarin class entirely for that reason, it imposes limits on the manner in which which it weighs in on the most pressing issues of the day.

This amounts to one of the most remarkable ironies in U.S. political history: The judicial branch that, at least for the last century, has regarded itself as the panel of last resort and that has played a major role in the sweeping changes within American society, now feels constrained and even threatened by this transformation – so threatened that is now limiting its judicial activism.

This raises a troubling question: Who mans the rudder of state, certainly during an extreme national crisis? If the legislative and judicial branches have been rendered either too dysfunctional or too threatened to step in during a major upheaval, who will?

It serves as another reminder to me and many other red heartlanders of the precarious times in which we live.

Closing the Ring on Nipple Ring

Tags

, , ,

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Glad to know that they’re finally closing in on New York’s bloviating cad-in-chief: Governor Nipple Ring.

Even so, this late-served comeuppance only serves to expose CNN for what it is: late America’s version of agit-prop, actually not that much different from the media apparatus that served the ruling class of the late Soviet Union. And, yes, I know all about Fox News – Yada, Yada, Yada – but there’s one big difference.

Fox lacks the backing of the culturally hegemonic segments of American society – academia, Silicon Valley, and Big Entertainment, to name a few. It may be the voice of Con, Inc. – Big (K-Street) Conservatism – but it still lacks the cultural clout of what I’ve come to call #AmericanPravda.

Avoiding an Irish or Balkan Scenario

Tags

, , ,

“As the nation reckons with its racist history, legislation calling for the removal of Confederate commemorative works from national parkland is likely to be reconsidered this year,” solemnly writes Kim O’Connell of the National Parks Traveler.

She adds that “one might be forgiven for believing that the South won, based on a reading of the monuments alone.”

In that case, I’ll never set foot on a federal park again. I’ll even go a step further by expressing my fervent hope that young Southern men and women withdraw their support of the American imperial enterprise, opting not to serve in any of the branches of the American military – yes, refusing to support the geopolitical interests of a government that resembles less a constitutional republic, more a tyranny with each passing day and, like many earlier empires, sustaining its power by pitting one cultural segment of society against another.

What is conveniently ignored by writers such as O’Connell in the midst of this proto-totalitarian woke struggle is that national unity and the ultimate construction of what amounts to a global American empire was secured through the construction of thousands of such monuments in town squares, cemeteries and, yes, national parks in every corner of the vanquished Confederacy.

It ultimately was achieved only  because the Northern conquerors concluded, however half-heartedly, that post-war unity was achievable only through an acknowledgement of the bravery and sacrifices of the Confederate fighting man.

Without this acknowledgment, the South very well could have ended up as the American version of Ireland or even the Balkans, a soft, vulnerable underbelly of an aspiring empire. And given where we are heading with all of this neo-Puritanical cleansing, we may end up with something resembling Northern Ireland during the troubles or, even worse, the past Yugoslavian Balkans.

A Baptist Church Returns to Its Reformed Roots

Tags

, , , , ,

John Calvin (1509-64), French theologian and reformer

Speaking as an amateur historian of frontier religious history, I find this development quite fascinating but not all that surprising: Baptists, in this case, presumably Southern Baptists, have returned to their pre-Frontier roots, namely, Reformed Christianity.
A couple of things stand out in the material that a new Reformed Baptist Church in Alexander City, Alabama, has posted to their Web site, notably, an allusion to Communion as a sacrament rather than an ordinance.

This represents a significant departure from the historic frontier Baptist and earlier Radical Protestant emphasis on Communion simply as a memorial of Christ’s atoning grace. Also, the comments are quite interesting, especially among those who discern this as a Baptist embrace of Protestantism.

There has always been a strongly held view among many Baptists, historically regarded as the Landmark tradition, that they represent the restoration of the New Testament Church – another interesting Baptist distinctive, though also shared among other movements, one that also dates back to pioneer settlement of the American Back Country. Many egalitarian-minded frontiersmen regarded settlement as an opportunity to abandon creeds and confessions and to set everything right by returning to the pristine attributes of the First Century Church.

However, earlier, pre-frontier Baptists had hewed to many of the teachings of Reformed Christianity, which is not surprising, considering that this was the regnant form of Protestantism not only in Britain but also the American colonies in the 17th and 18th century.

History has demonstrated time and again that many movements, political and religious alike, have returned to facets of their original roots. Baptists, who have generally followed a divergent path over the last 200 year following settlement of the American frontier, may prove no exception;

It’s interesting to consider the factors that have contributed to this. So-called New Testament Christianity, which gained traction during American frontier settlement, offered the advantage of lean messaging, at least, the case could be made that it did. Moreover, these teachings were exceptionally well-suited to a relatively unlettered, itinerate and rather culturally unrooted people people who had become both intellectually and the temperamentally untethered from the creeds and confessionals that had prevailed in Europe and along the American coast.

Yet, this lean messaging, popular and arguably practical within a frontier setting, seemed to many increasingly threadbare in late 20th century America in the face of rising levels of education and affluence and within a nation struggling with the demands of post-modernism as wells as the complexities of a post-industrial, technological society. In fact, in 1977 a group of disaffected evangelical intellectuals, convinced that evangelical Christianity had become untethered from much of the substance, notably the creeds, confessions and liturgies that had sustained the faith for two millennia, issued the Chicago Call, admonishing their fellow churchmen to return to the ancient teachings of the faith.

However, this effort largely fell on deaf ears, leaving many of these disaffected intellectuals to embark on the path to Rome, Constantinople, Lambeth and, in some cases, Geneva.

Now, as Christianity and particularly the evangelical faith seem more imperiled than ever, especially in the face of a rapidly permutating left that seems increasingly intent to subdue Christianity, at least, the conservative expressions of it, as a formative force in American life, many evangelicals likely will become more receptive than ever to the admonishments such as the Chicago Call.

There possibly, if not likely, will be stronger inclinations than ever among evangelical Christians to return to what growing numbers within the ranks perceive as more enduring foundations.

Flummoxed by Secessionism

Tags

, , , , , , ,

President Ronald Reagan at his inauguration in January, 1981. Shortly thereafter he made an impassioned call for returning to federalism but faced opposition even from GOP governors.

To repeat a phrase that I have employed several times in this forum, the American Empire simply is too big to succeed.

Indeed it is the reason why an awareness of the increasing likelihood of secession is becoming the proverbial elephant in the living room, certainly among the growing numbers of us ordinary Americans in the red heartland who perceive what our malignant ruling class ultimately has in store for us.

Yet, I have been intrigued by how mainstream conservative commentators, recently Podcaster Dan Bonjino, have been absolutely flummoxed by this emerging  phenomenon. It undoubtedly is as readily evident to them that secessionist sentiment is spreading, yet they hold steadfastly to the same hidebound argument that a return to federal principles will resolve all of this.

Notions of American exceptionalism inevitably will die hard, but then, conservatism in America is deeply rooted in this mindset. And given that so much of what passes for conservatism on this side of the Atlantic is rooted in propositional nationhood, this really isn’t all that surprising.

Interestingly, conservatives seem to have forgotten that previous attempts to restore old-time federalism have proven futile. Incoming President Reagan, way back in 1981, undertook a concerted effort to return to bona federalism, offering to return welfare policy back to the states. Virtually all the governors balked, stressing that  their states lacked the revenue base to support a safety net that dates all the way back to the New Deal and that people, blue and red alike, expect as matter of course.

That is why I am convinced that the political dynamics in this country ultimately will necessitate a secessionist movement that ultimately takes on regionalist rather than state unilateral action, as the late diplomat and political thinker George F. Kennan portended in his own writings.

We will likely see states banding into regional compacts, forming what could be described as incipient federations. These conflicts ultimately will prove essential to preserving some facet of the social safety net to which virtually every American has grown accustomed over the past century.

Whatever the case, to borrow a line from the late Betty Davis, “Fasten your seat belts – it’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

Propositional Nationhood as Intellectual Snake Oil

Tags

, , , ,

I had a conversation a few years ago with a young, very bright and exceedingly well-educated woman who was from an Afrikaans background. She had all the hallmarks of Afrikaaner ancestry, including a Dutch surname. When I asked about her heritage, she became rather indignant and dismissive, assuring me that she was not. I find this sort of thing very sad and troubling.

Indeed, the older I get the more evident it becomes to me that one simply cannot abandon one’s identity and instead should embrace it. I will always be proud to be a small-town Southerner and count it as a far, far greater influence on my life and outlook than any other influence, including being American.

As a matter of fact, I have reached a point in life where I really don’t give a tinker’s dam that some people, notably the people who purport to be our elites, regard Southern identity as some sort of historical focus of evil against which all that is lofty and sublime should be defined, including the conceptual rope of sand known as “propositional (American) nationhood.” Concepts such as this only work to perpetuate the notion there is such a thing as individualism bereft of ethnic and cultural influences.

The further I get along in life, the more this notion strikes me as just another form of intellectual snake oil.

What Follows the American Empire?

Tags

, , , ,

It is intriguing and, quite frankly,  heartening, that observers on both ends of the political spectrum perceive that the American Empire is in headlong decline and that something new invariably must  follow, whether this occurs years or a few decades from now.

For me, this decline became increasingly evident more than a decade ago when California governors, beginning with moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, began characterizing the Golden state as a nation within a nation, possessing all the accoutrements of nationhood, including one of the world’s ten largest economies.

Now such affirmations almost seem routine. Legislators in the nation’s second largest state, Texas, are even considering putting a secession initiative on the state ballot – an effort that has earned the endorsement of the Lone Star State’s prominent GOP leaders and that even has piqued the interest of GOP leaders in other states.

Granted, formal secession from the American Empire is decried by elites, particularly when these calls eminate from red states. But the rhetorical cat is out of the bag. Growing numbers of pundits on both ends of the political spectrum no longer are overlooking the obvious: the American Empire is in terminal decline, much like its erstwhile Soviet nemesis some three decades ago.

As this article in The Nation attests, the telltale signs of decline and collapse are readily perceptible. Yes, there’s the inevitable leftist pablum through which the reader must wade to encounter some truly interesting nuggets, notably mention of the challenges of constructing a new civilization from the imperial rubble.

As many of us on the right and even a few on left see it, there is only one basis on which this civilizational reconstruction can occur: It must begin with smaller political entities rather than the oversized, lumbering, bureaucrarized white elephant we’re contending with now.

The Democrats: America’s Aspiring Vanguard Party

Tags

, , , ,

In the 2020 election, Donald Trump won 83 percent of the nation’s counties – small wonder people speak of the red American heartland- but those counties only accounted for 30 percent of the national GDP

This is a remarkable development considering that Republicans as recently as 2016 have been historically derided as the “fat cat” corporate party, though their power was limited, as they faced rather intractable opposition in the academy, public education, ths media, Silivon Valley, and the arts and entertainment sectors.

We now inhabit a country in which a single party, the Democrats, wield something approaching cultural and political hegemony, which, aside from academia, traditional and digital media and Big Entertainment, includes deepening support from the national security apparatus as well as the corporate sector.

As this column by American Consequence’s Shane Devine points out, Wall Street contributed more than $74 million directly to Biden’s campaign. Trump, by contrast, received $18 million, even less than the paltry $20 million he received in 2016.

The massive corporate support for the Democrats evident in the last two election cycles likely portends a major U.S. political realignment. As this column stresses,

Of Wall Street’s total 2020 contributions, not only to campaigns but to all political organizations, including “dark money” groups, 62% went to Democrats and 38% went to Republicans. Comparatively, in 2016, they gave 50% to Republicans and 49% to Democrats. In 2012, they gave 69% to Republicans and 31% to Democrats. The Chamber of Commerce, which has long been the top-spending lobbying client, endorsed 30 Democratic House candidates in the 2020 election.

In the face of these sweeping changes, the Republican Party increasingly is signaling its aspiration to function as a worker-nationalist party, appealing not only to aggrieved, increasingly economically marginalized white heartland voters but also the growing cultural demographic of Hispanic blue-collar workers.

Yet, one is led to wonder how far such an increasingly marginalized party will get in the future, especially one now so isolated from main sources of cultural power as well as the political power that actually counts in this post-constitutional landscape: adequate levels of support within the federal bureaucratic sector.

Meanwhile, the Democrats, the ascendant party, confident in their increasing cultural clout, will undoubtedly follow through with their plans for a transformation of the federal judiciary. Among other things, this will pave the way for Democratic aspirations for through-going electoral “reform,” ultimately enabling them to erode Republican dominance in the red heartland.

In time, the Democrats will be emboldened to leverage their immense political and cultural clout to undertake a thorough-going cultural transformation to their liking – something that they already feel confident boasting about. Securing statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., they will virtually assure their control of the Senate for generations.

Small wonder why the Democrats are increasingly behaving like a vanguard party, not all that different from the ones in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe that functioned as cultural and political monoliths but that also kept tame opposition around for domestic and international consumption.