Monday, October 13, 2008

Daniel Larison on the Obama era

A variety of predictions, but I think Larison doesn't adequately consider the impact of (a) independent events beyond the control of the political class, and (b) realignment of partisan coalitions.

As an example of (a), obviously 9/11 was an event that had a tremendous political impact so that one might say that the most influential figure in American politics in the 21st century to date has been Mohammed Atta.

As an example of (b) one might cite the profound southward and westward shift of the Republican Party's center of gravity in the 1990s. This was a trend that had first developed in the 1964 election and slowly built, but it was in the '90s that the South and West established their dominance within the GOP coalition.

Events will beyond Obama's control will have an impact in the next four years, and it is quite possible that some socio-economic segments now firmly Democratic will shift to the GOP and vice-versa. So Larison's forecast of "ritual flagellation from mainstream conservatives, who will be decrying the alleged role of xenophobia and nativism in the ‘08 election" is premature, at least. The clear task of the GOP will be to organize opposition. Much will depend on how Obama and the Democratic Congress pursue their agenda.

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