For Now, a Sigh of Relief

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

The following quote, taken from election commentary in the Wall Street Journal, sums up the good news and the bad news regarding yesterday's election results, culturally speaking:

The 2014 midterm campaigns were defined by voters' long-simmering frustration with the ability of elected officials in Washington to move the country forward. The economy was the top voter concern, with an overwhelming majority describing economic conditions as poor or "not so good.'' Health care was second on the list.

By better than a two-to-one margin, more voters polled said the next generation would have a worse life than today's. Two-thirds said the U.S. had gone off track--more widespread negativity than in either the 2010 or 2012 elections. On Tuesday, many voters said they cast ballots more in opposition to one candidate than support for the other. [bold added]
The good news is that people still think their lives can and should be better, and think this can be achieved by better elected officials. The bad news -- and nothing will really change unless this does -- is that too many people see government as having an active role in bettering their lives, essentially by central planning. Until significant numbers of voters realize that central planning, by its very nature, constitutes the government doing the opposite of its proper job and thus getting in the way of prosperity, they will keep electing central planners, such as the President and Mitch "Repeal and Replace" McConnell.

-- CAV

P.S. I have already noted the political good news these election results might represent.


Steve D said...

I rather expected this result. There is a huge cyclical component to elections (as there is to history) - similar in effect to a business cycle but in fact set in motion by the interaction of human psychology and economics (actually the business cycle which attends the political cycle). Therefore, because it has multiple proximate causes, the political cycle can never be perfectly regular and it will always impossible to predict its ups and downs with accuracy.
In other words it was a quasi-inevitable that the Republicans win big this time (their turn) and this was because people were fed up with the Democrats and the economy – they wanted change; any change. But 2, 4, 6 or 12 years from now the political winds will turn back to the left harder than ever. It is always possible but not likely we can change this.
The pendulum swings back and forth and this time we are at the ‘forth’. However, the overall trend has been towards statism throughout pretty much the entire history of the US. To visualize, imagine a wave slowly descending, the crest occasionally appearing to reverse course and excite the base but when you step back and observe, the centuries-long trend becomes obvious.

Gus Van Horn said...

I think it's less unlikely than it seems. Examples from American history of change of similar magnitude that I think of at times like this include abolition and the end of Jim Crow.

Steve D said...

I am not so sure. The British Empire had already abolished slavery and the cultural trend and psychology of the Western World was moving that way. The end of Jim Crow of course was simply another step in the same direction.

In this case, it’s not just the US but the world and the first step will be to reverse this worldwide trend (aka downward spiral)

We need to think very carefully about the psychology which leads to altruism and collectivism and therefore the leftward movement in politics. We know that it’s wrong, destructive and irrational; the question is how to convince people to shake it loose.

Gus Van Horn said...

Valid points.