Polarization Without Parties
THE SOURCE: “The American Political Parties Are Breaking Down” by Walter Russell Mead, in Via Meadia (blog), Oct. 31, 2011.
Partisanship may have reached scorching levels, but even partisans don't have much use for actual political parties these days, argues Walter Russell Mead, a professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College. The parties “are increasingly being reduced to flags of convenience,” he writes. At a time when the United States faces serious long-term challenges, American politics is becoming “less coherent and more subject to rapid mood swings.” Politicians are more likely to buck the party line, making it harder to reach agreement and get legislation passed.
Republicans particularly are choosing to meet, strategize, and raise money outside of the party apparatus, the Republican National Committee. (The Democratic National Committee has retained its primacy, as President Barack Obama’s success as a fundraiser keeps its coffers full.) American Crossroads, a political action committee founded by former Republican presidential adviser Karl Rove, plans to spend $240 million during the 2012 election season, according to The New York Times.
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