The American Parliament: Our nation’s 10 political parties

Over time, we might expect a shift to take place. We know some things about the American public. For instance:

  • The backbone of the social reactionary segment of the population (specifically, SocCons and Tea Party) is aging and…
  • the huge Millennial generation rejects race-based and anti-gay politics completely.
  • The Mills are more concerned with social justice than any generation alive.
  • Immigration and demographic patterns are shifting dramatically, and within a few decades whites will no longer comprise a majority of the nation’s population. The largest gains are being made by Latinos.
  • The current trend toward concentration of wealth in a few hands will eventually reach an inflection point. Either policies will be enacted to disperse the wealth or, if history teaches us anything, broad economic distress will lead to a social explosion. Put simply, the trend of the last two generations toward concentration of wealth isn’t sustainable.

If these trends hold, we might expect, over the course of the next couple of decades, a distinct slide to the left. This adjustment would remove the NeoLiberal coalition’s right flank and could very well see the emergence of a new American coalition that looks and behaves a great deal like European Social Democracy. Since America is also overwhelmingly Christian, the leftward shift of religious institutions driven by the die-off of older SocCons and the Millennials’ concern for social justice might also spur the rise of an American analogue to Christian Democracy – an eventuality that would almost certainly be fueled by the increased impact of Latino voters, who are (for the time being, anyway) more progressive economically but driven by Catholic social mores.

Back to Reality

So many ifs, so many variables, and all of it predicated on an assumption of magic-wand proportional representation. As I said off the top, a thought experiment. Still, even if you set the governmental structure aside, the social, economic and political dynamics on which the preceding section is premised are very real. The rest of the world has seen similar coalitions and constituencies arise in both proportional and pluralist systems, and there’s no reason to believe that it couldn’t happen here.

The kicker, of course, is a lesson that European history teaches in painful detail: to wit, the road to a more productive democracy sometimes has to navigate hellish terrain, and there are those in the US who believe that it’s going to get really, really dark before dawn.

Perhaps. At a minimum, though, it never hurts to note where we are, to dream about where we want to go, and to plan meticulously for the journey.

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Cherry:

    Interesting point of view. I am going to be thinking about it.

    I like this:

    “•The Mills are more concerned with social justice than any generation alive.”

    I liked reading that. What is your evidence?

  2. Sam Smith:

    A good bit of research indicates this. Howe and Strauss talk about it in Millennials Rising, and there has been more study done on things like volunteerism rates that supports the claim.

  3. Bry:

    Is this a joke?

    Progressives are close to anarchy? The same progressives who favor more business regulations, more taxation, more government programs, more gun control, universal health care, environmental control, diet restrictions, social justice, and on and on?