Backstory: Decline of political parties’ power?

From Jonah Goldberg:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, who isn’t even a member of the Democratic Party, is the runaway favorite of the party’s liberal base. Donald Trump, an ideologically unmoored billionaire who has changed his party registration five times since 1987 and donated substantial sums to Democrats, has been the Republican front-runner since this summer.

When the leading Republican is arguably a more loyal Democrat than the Democratic sweetheart, it certainly seems silly to talk about either party as particularly powerful organizations. Does anyone quake in fear of Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? How about the Republican National Committee’s Reince Priebus? Ted Cruz is reviled by his fellow Republicans, and yet they haven’t been able to stop his rise. Jeb Bush is a darling of the Old Guard, and yet it hasn’t been able to prevent his fall.

Politics, the saying goes, is downstream of culture. Well, our culture has been losing faith in large institutions for a very long time.

In June, Gallup found that only three major institutions still captured the confidence of a majority of Americans. More than 70 percent said they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military. Small business and the police garnered 64 percent and 52 percent, respectively. Organized religion, the presidency, Congress, the courts, the schools, the medical system, the media and the rest were all underwater or simply in the toilet.

It’s no wonder the parties are not immune to such trends. More.

Reality check: My own view is that the global, internet-based world is making these parties’ traditional issues obsolete.

The Dems want higher minimum wages, which will result in more automation and thus job loss rather than, as historically, more business generated by higher consumption.

The GOP’s billionaire backers want open borders for cheap labour until automation puts the cheap labour on public assistance, at which point the already hard-pressed working and middle classes will have to support them.

Neither party can represent the typical voter, and the alternatives on offer, Sanders and Trump, have no meaningful answers. This situation, in a less intense form, is probably coming to a Canada near us.

See also: The Political Animal: Trump in Iowa – the forest vs. the trees

High minimum wage closes low-income friendly stores File under: The early stages of the post-employment society.