The State of Our Union

The State of Our Union, by Walter Russell Mead.

The state of our union can be summed up pretty easily: Democratic policy ideas don’t work, and the Republican Party is melting down.

Under the leftist party in the US, the Democrats, corruption and bureaucracy flourish:

From New York state, where Democratic power brokers are beginning to be herded into prison, where so many of them belong, to Chicago, where a civil war between Democrat-run public unions and the Democratic mayor rages even as the city’s finances fall apart, to the collapsing cities of Detroit and Flint, and on out to the high-speed rail boondoggle in California, the country is covered in the ruins of decades of “progressive” governance. Take Obamacare itself, a “reform” that is already making health care more bureaucratic and less affordable.

The more “Democratic” an institution is these days, on the whole the less well it is working. What institution in the United States has been under Democratic control longer and more thoroughly than the failing public school systems of major cities? Or their police departments?

While the Republican Party seem unable to decide what to do or even manage itself:

Yet against the backdrop of failing Democratic policies and institutions, the collapse of the Republican Party into political and intellectual incoherence is all the more striking. The Democrats, for all their inability to achieve their stated end of social progress through their chosen means of good governance, are clearly more competent at the essential business of party management than their GOP rivals. The failures of Democratic governance are so apparent, and the public unhappiness with the cronyism and inequality of interest group liberalism so deep, that organizing an effective opposition should be a fairly easy task—but even that basic objective has eluded the contemporary GOP.

Mead argues that these are all

symptoms of an underlying deficit of social and intellectual vision. Our society has grown too big, too complex and too diverse for the ideas and institutions on which it runs. This is partly a religious and cultural problem.

The current presidential candidates:

… Trump and Sanders are reactionary. They stand for a rejection of the present in the name of an imaginary alternative: a blue socialist utopia in Sanders’ case, a braying ethnic and nationalist triumphalism in Trump’s. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, is the status quo candidate: she aims to keep the ship on as steady a course as possible while water continues to pour through the hull breach. None of them have a platform or represent a movement that can solve the problems that perplex and frighten us.