Lessons from Political Scrapbooking

What are the major conclusions after reading and writing about American political and economic democracy through four elections?

After the 2016 election, I started reading and writing about American politics and economics, to clarify my own thinking about what happened, and to explain in to my adult children. That project soon got completely out of hand! After the 2018, 2020, and imminent 2022 elections, perhaps it's time to summarize my conclusions and move on to more productive pursuits.

The Main Challenge - Minority Rule

Challenges: tools for protecting and enhancing minority political power

Responses: tools for protecting and enhancing equal political opportunity

Challenges: tools for protecting and enhancing minority economic power

Responses: tools for protecting and enhancing equal economic opportunity

Equal economic opportunity does not mean guaranteed equal economic outcome. But it does mean outcome more closely related to talent and effort than to heredity.

Last Resort Response: Regional Federalism

If the beneficiaries and enablers of minority rule are as tenacious as their Confederate ancestors - whether descended by the flesh or by the spirit - they will never voluntarily weaken their grip on minority rule. In that case it might be necessary to agree to Regional Federalism, where America remains one nation but undergoes a voluntary regional trial separation between red and blue. Each region makes most of its own rules. This can be accomplished without any Constitutional changes with regional interstate compacts. Red states and blue states will stop trying to impose their values and taxes on each other - and will no longer depend on each other for economic assistance and disaster relief. The Federal government will pretty much shrink to the Defense and State Departments, with corresponding reduction or elimination of Federal income and payroll taxes.

The red states will probably repeal their income taxes on the megadonor class, and sell off their public lands and resources instead - until they run out. It should take about a generation to find out if this libertarian paradise is what the red state voters really wanted - or just what Musk and Thiel and Koch and Mercer told them they wanted. After all, only 27 percent of registered voters identify as liberal.

So wouldn't they be glad to give up the things that the blue state voters enjoy?

But nobody should expect to get any of those things under minority rule.

"Democrats exist because the country belongs to all of us, not just the 1 percent. With this guiding principle in mind, everything else becomes easier - picking fights that focus the media spotlight on a game that's rigged in favor of the rich; calling the bluff of right-wing populists who can't stomach a capital-gains-tax hike; corralling activists in support of the needs of working people; and, ultimately, putting power back in the hands of ordinary Americans."

"There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that, if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous, their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them."

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