The Monday Morning Teaser

One of the oddities of this election cycle has been that no one seems happy. Not conservatives, not liberals, not the mainstream, not the fringe — nobody. This week’s featured post “Why so frustrated, America?” will look at this anomalous situation and offer this frame for it: Divided government plus extreme polarization means that both parties want their own kind of change, and neither can achieve it. As a result, on a long list of issues the country is stuck with a status quo that no one likes or is willing to defend.

Immigration is a paradigm of this dysfunction: You may want to give them papers or you may want to throw them out, but literally no one — well, except for sweatshop owners and document forgers — thinks it’s a good idea for 11 million people to live here indefinitely with no legal status. Yet that situation continues with no end in sight. Neither Trump’s deportation force nor Clinton’s path to citizenship are likely to pass Congress anytime soon, so we all cheer for our candidates without really believing their plans will come to fruition.

If you look around, you can see that pattern everywhere: What we’re currently doing is obviously wrong, but neither party has enough power to change it alone, and they’re not capable of working together. So we lurch from one government-shutdown deadline to the next, leave the Supreme Court in a 4-4 deadlock, and watch the bankruptcy clock on Medicare keep ticking.

All that raises obvious questions: How did the American Republic survive this long? What’s different about this era? Can we do anything about it?

I don’t promise a complete answer, but I’ll at least try to frame the questions better. That post should be out between 10 and 11 EDT.

In the weekly summary, I’ll thank God that the debates are finally over, and endorse Ezra Klein’s analysis of Clinton’s winning strategy. Friday’s internet outage looks more like a harbinger of things to come than a temporary annoyance. The Mosul offensive is on. The debates yielded some funny videos. And we’ll close with a look at the most beautiful bookstores in the world.

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  • Roger Green  On October 24, 2016 at 8:56 am

    It’s an odd year. Trump doesn’t neatly fit in the liberal-conservative paradigm. (His views can be elusive.)

  • jh  On October 26, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Once upon a time, we didn’t have the internet or cable news… everybody used the same sources to get their news. we also knew our neighbors. We were far more insular. The majority of us didn’t have to deal with foreigners. the majority of us didn’t have to deal with real competition from minority groups because we had our affirmative action via handicapping the blacks, the women and everybody else. we didn’t have one political party that pandered to the religious right and allowed for a “god is with us and everybody who disagrees is for Satan” authoritarian rule. We didn’t have a political party that was so desperate for political power that it catered to every bit of nonsense running from Obama is going to invade Texas to Hillary ordered the Benghazi hit to Obama isn’t an American. We didn’t have a political party that opportunistically inflamed the racist infection in our society by using dog whistles of welfare queens in cadillacs.

    Let’s face it – our democrats are center moderate republicans of yesterday. We don’t really have a liberal side because the conservatives have moved too far right to the point that now, they are comprised of alt-right and fringe right movements that would be an anathema to the moderate center republican.

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