October 26, 2016

"Was the switch to direct public nomination a net benefit or drawback? The answer to that question is subjective. But one effect is not in doubt: Institutionalists have less power than ever before to protect loyalists who play well with other politicians, or who take a tough congressional vote for the team, or who dare to cross single-issue voters and interests; and they have little capacity to fend off insurgents who owe nothing to anybody. Walled safely inside their gerrymandered districts, incumbents are insulated from general-election challenges that might pull them toward the political center, but they are perpetually vulnerable to primary challenges from extremists who pull them toward the fringes. Everyone worries about being the next Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader who, in a shocking upset, lost to an unknown Tea Partier in his 2014 primary. Legislators are scared of voting for anything that might increase the odds of a primary challenge, which is one reason it is so hard to raise the debt limit or pass a budget."
. Sometimes it's tough to respect some of the early Founder's fears about "King Mob" without sounding like an elitist jerk, but for a guy with some "Extremist Moderate" impulses like me, it's tough to like such local politics.
This is a pretty good summary of the narrator Robert P. Jones' book "The End of White Christian America" that I recently read.

I think it's easy for lefties to demonize "White Christian America" in the same way the right tends to over-idealize it. There are some very good qualities to it, and as a nation we need to find a moral center, one that doesn't presume a skin color or belief in a particular supernatural explanation for the universe and to back its sense of morality.
Continuing today's theme of trying to understand American politics, and even with empathy to the "other side": What a liberal sociologist learned from spending five years in Trump's America

These Louisianans are so convinced that government is the problem - their environment gets racked and ruined but government environmental regulation must be worse. Many rely on governmental assistance, but for them government is still the problem.
Completing today's links: I forgot to post Cracked's How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind (or as the title seems to originally have been, 6 Reasons for Trumps Rise that no one talks about.) It is one of the most sympathetic views of the Trump supporting red states, and what they've go through, that I've seen.