Polarization/Fragmentation

One of the topics I’ve discussed over the last several years is how both the media and the internet have in essence fragmented U.S. society. There’s a news channel for everyone, and if that’s not enough for the far right and far left, there’s the “twitterverse.”

For whatever reason, the remaining Republicans, that is, the hard-core Republicans who believe that either Trump can do no wrong or that even Trump is better than any Democrat, seem less fragmented than the Democrats, as is clearly demonstrated by the increasingly bitter Democratic presidential primary.

On the far left is Elizabeth Warren, with plans for everything, but, as an economist who’s worked in government and the private sector, I can’t make the numbers work, despite her insistence that those plans are financially doable. Ditto for Bernie. Combined, they seem to have the most support.

Then you’ve got the moderates, with Joe Biden still having the most support, although that support seems squishy to me, despite his victory in South Carolina. Those moderates are at least trying to push changes that might be marginally financially feasible, but, guess what, not that many Democrats seem that thrilled with “moderation” (although Republicans, and even some Democrats, would find their proposals as unpalatable as those of Warren and Sanders). The fact that Mayor Pete and Amy Klobuchar have dropped out strongly suggests that there aren’t that many moderates among the younger Democrats.

Then there are the billionaires, and somehow, I don’t see either of them igniting a wave of warm support, as witness the fact that Steyer has ended his campaign.

But that’s not the biggest problem. The greatest difficulty is that the far left is trashing those with more “moderate” policies as being uncaring and ignoring the “needs” of the people, while the “moderates” keep asking how the country can pay for the proposed extravagance of the ultra-liberal policies. And even Warren and Sanders are bickering.

Yet this increasingly bitter fight over the nomination ignores basic reality. The next Congress won’t pass any ultra-liberal financially costly legislation, because even if the Democrats flip the Senate and hold the house, they’ll only have a one or two vote margin in the Senate.

In the meantime, the bloodbath is providing Trump with all the talking points and tweets he’ll need for whoever the Democrats nominate, especially since, given the past success in Republican gerrymandering and vote suppression, the Democrats will likely need close to a five percent advantage in the popular vote in order to get a very tenuous control over both the presidency and the legislative branch.

And they’re going to get it through ideological “purity” tests and trashing each other?

But then… let’s see what tomorrow’s “Super Tuesday” brings.

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