Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Getting the Old Time Religion

I'm seeing a lot of complaint about how much of the election cycle is given to faith and religion and who's got it and who's faking and who's a kook.

There's really not much earthly matters they can discuss intelligently. Immigration? Energy? War? The budget? I guess they can't come right out and say "It depends who controls Congress, and by what majorities"...but they might as well.

2008 is about winning the power to make whatever quid pro quo is possible for four years, and staking out a position in advance isn't the way to bargain. We didn't have to end up here as a country, but the organized parties insist it be run that way.

And looking ahead, if the value of being a "Republican" or a "Democrat" doesn't mean anything in terms of votes on legislation or policy, but just a sharing of campaign cash...then the power of the two main parties cannot be sustained, in the long term. The reason a state governor or state legislator has to be one of the two Big Parties is to tap into their national organization and campaign chest and voter pool.

But if Ron Paul can go out and raise $6 million dollars online, and fellows like Schwarzenegger can make hay of opposing the national party on almost every issue--then we'll see more state elections become nonpartisan contests. Not all, perhaps not most, but it will become increasingly possible. And that undermines the notion of a "Democrat voter" and a "Republican donor". It will make federal elections more vulnerable to independent challenges.

Should be an interesting century.

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