Archive for the ‘current events’ Category
trump symposium ii: the organizational basis of today’s crazy politics – a guest post by josh pacewicz
This guest post on Trump’s run for president is written by Josh Pacewicz, a political sociologist at Brown University.
In case you haven’t noticed, this has been a crazy election cycle. On both the Democratic and Republican side, a candidate who is more extreme than the typical serious presidential contender went all the way to the convention. Trump, who espouses some positions that are not recognizably Republican, is arguably even more the anomaly than Sanders. But both fared well, which suggests that the contours of America’s 20th Century party system are strained, if not cracked. How did this happen?
2016 makes sense only in the historical context of the gradual polarization of American political parties, or the tendency of politicians from the two parties to vote differently on every issue. Party polarization is distinct from other trends like a rightward drift among both Republicans and Democrats and is visible in, for instance, analyses of congressional voting, which show no Republican with a voting record left of any Democrat. A political status quo based in complete disagreement is a necessary precondition of this election, because only then do political observers expect politicians to treat their opponents as unredeemable out-there radicals, a state of affairs that creates opportunities for candidates who truly are outside the political mainstream. Because partisan polarization is a decades-long trend, explanations of 2016 that focus on factors like the recession or racial resentment over Obama’s presidency seem incomplete. Since the 1980s, party polarization has increased in good economic times and bad, during periods of war and peace, and under Democratic and Republican administrations.
Tim Gill is a CIPR fellow at Tulane University. His research addresses political sociology and globalization. This guest post addresses the candidacy of Donald Trump.
In May, I taught my final course at the University of Georgia as I finished up my dissertation: a three-week long seminar on political sociology. Before the course, I was certain that Trump would be the most sought after topic of discussion by the students, regardless of what topic we broached. The Great Depression and issues of tariffs? Trump. The civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter? Trump. And, finally, how performances matter within US politics? Well, of course, Trump.
I admit. When I teach political sociology and use books and articles concerning US politics, my head tends to wander back to Venezuela, where I do most of my research. This didn’t happen though nearly as monolithically this summer. Along with the students, my thoughts also redirected themselves towards Trump, his recurrently outlandish policy positions, and bigoted comments. After each new comment, we would think this surely would be the end of the campaign. As we found out, it wasn’t. And it somehow hasn’t been, even as the absurdities have persisted.
Right now, we are going into the nominating conventions, which means that vice presidential picks make the headlines. Perhaps the most interesting question is whether Clinton II will pick Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. I honestly have no idea if that will happen, but it does help to remember a few things about VP picks.
It is very rare for a VP to help a presidential candidate pick up votes. That is why the mantra is “do no harm.” Aside from that, VP picks tend to come in a few flavors:
- Runners up: Just go with another candidate who did well in the primary in order to encourage cooperation within the party. Kerry/Edwards and Reagan/Bush I are good examples of this.
- Ideological balance: Pick people who pull in a part of the party that doesn’t like you. Classic case: Bush I/Quayle. One might argue that McCain/Palin fits this pattern. Perhaps Trump/Pence is another example.
- Loyalists & personal comfort: Pick a person who is a lot like you or from your personal network. The classic case is Clinton I/Gore. Obama/Biden is probably a case of going with people who make you comfortable.
Then, there are wild cards. Probably the best case is Gore, who chose Joe Lieberman, a guy was supposed to help Gore distance himself from Clinton I. The question is which strategy Clinton II will choose. My guess is that, like Clinton I, she will reward loyalists, which makes it hard, but definitely not impossible, for Warren to come out on top.
In Fortune, Brayden discusses the Brexit votes as an issues of regionalism & cosmopolitanism:
Both Brexit “leavers,” whose sheer number and fury were underestimated by pollsters, and Trump supporters are more likely to belong to a social group known as “locals.” With affinities that transcend economics and even politics, locals are best defined as having a societal view focused on their local community. They tend to be less adventurous in their travel and cultural consumption (from ethnic food to music), gain status from their community affiliations, and may be wary of outsiders, especially those who are perceived to change the homogeneity of their local community.
In contrast, “cosmopolitans” tend to have a global perspective, seeing themselves as part of an economy that crosses borders, rather than being contained by them. Their social networks extend outside their local communities. They travel more, have broader consumer tastes, and see diversity in experience and friendships as a core value. While often associated with being more highly educated, cosmopolitans are just as likely to include “starving artists” as ex-patriate executives.
While the distinctions between these groups have been known for decades to social scientists, pundits have ignored the delineation between cosmopolitans and locals when discussing Brexit and the U.S. presidential campaign. By failing to recognize these groups, their motivations, and where they see themselves in the context of the world, political analysts have underestimated the very different emotional reactions that locals and cosmopolitans have toward the Brexit campaign and Trump’s promises to crack down on immigration.
Check it out.