Polarization Nation Watch

Mick Zano

I want all eleven members of the Zano Nation to pull out your pens, your Microsoft Word programs, and your inhalant-ready-markers (IRMs). There’s going to be a test. We are now officially a divided country and for those coming late to the party, fear not, I already have a solution. Gin! But we must garnish this batch of fermented junipery goodness with the pimento-filled olives of Freedom! Shaken not slurred. Yes, the Discordian Zanofesto has arrived, just in time for Christmas.

First, let us delegate the appropriate blame for our divided country:

“Republicans have moved further away from the center than Democrats. The graph below shows a histogram of the House and Senate distributions in the current 113th Congress…There is a clear hump on the right that is comprised of mostly new members of Congress like Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY).”

congressional Polarization Histogram
Quote and graph from Voteview blog.

The real reason republicans are to blame for our polarization involves the last three thousand news cycles. And, yes, the Congress that proved far lazier than any do-nothing-congress in history just won the midterms, seriously. This is the alternate universe in which we must all now reside. I admit the mainstream media is sliding down to Fox levels. I can’t even watch MSNBC anymore as they shift further ideologyward. They are a reaction to Fox News, but simply the wrong kind. I predicted, long ago, creating a Fox-left would be an abysmal failure. The likes of MSNBC doesn’t somehow vindicate the right, it just means the left is starting to catch up on the suck-o-meter.

Congressional Polarization

I’ve already posted this graph. It suggests republicans have been shifting further and further batshitward since the Rutherford B. Hayes Administration:

Historical Slogan Flashback (1887): a kettle in every kitchen.

Why this ongoing rightward drift? Where’s the positive reinforcement that tells people, “yeah we want more of that magic”? In part, it’s certainly the fear of becoming a browner nation, here, but that’s not the whole picture. Are there any graphable advantages to conservative policies?

“I’m not a graphamatician, but bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.”

—John Q. Republican

Republicans are good at taking trends that they’re responsible for, like the growing disparity of wealth, and flipping the script and re-designate the blame. “It got only worse under Obama!” Riiiight. The stimulus went mostly to the rich, but it did narrowly avoid utter disaster. And at least Dems try to create policies that address our nation’s problems. The GOP hides these problems under endless layers of crapola. Or sometimes conservatives simply focus on one element of our economy, taken out of context. It’s a sad but effective approach. I think I do understand their dilemma. I wouldn’t want to remember things accurately if I were them either, but, to be clear, this nation will not survive a republican resurgence. Hell, we may not survive under a Dem—as I’ve said all along, our entire financial system is on borrowed time post Bush. More Zano hyperbole?

economic Recovery

 “Much more than a series of descending lines can really convey. If it’s right, it means that the Great Recession has made us permanently poorer. That the economy will never get back to its pre-crisis trend. Instead, it will stay stuck in a “new normal” of slow growth that feels like a slump—forever.”

—Larry Summers

The new norm is something I have been talking about for over a decade. So a Cliff may well be the new Norm. Sorry, that’s a Cheers’ joke. The GOP will say they have the answers, but history says otherwise. I still maintain general elections will elude these whacko-doodles. In the end this extremism will ultimately hurt them, in fact, I’m counting on it.

“The more the party is rewarded for extremism, the more extremist the party will be. GOP primary voters didn’t nominate pragmatic centrists to run in Senate races this year; they nominated very conservative candidates who are arguably to the right of the median in the current Republican Senate conference.”

Steve Benen

Any shift toward republican moderation in recent elections has been greatly exaggerated. There is a faction of our society becoming radicalized, here, and this is a trend that will likely continue in this polarized environment. Sure it hasn’t reached ethnic cleansing levels but liberals and conservatives prefer to associate with and live near their fellow partisans.

“They would be unhappy if their children married someone with a different political viewpoint. The result isn’t just polarized politics, but a divided society where liberals and conservatives increasingly keep apart.”

Nate Cohn, NYT

There are some who still believe most people remain in some moderate middlesylvania:

“We can argue about the size of the political center in the United States since the answer depends on various ways of measuring it, but whichever measure one chooses, the conclusion is the same: the country as a whole is no more polarized than it was a generation ago.”

Morris Fiorina

Two words, Morris, D-Nial. Sure there’s still a disenfranchised middle, but how long will that last? It’s time to choose sides, in fact, it’s long overdue. I am optimistic that eventually even republicans will not be able to successfully bend reality to their will. Their truth is already twisted into a pretzel that would make Plastic Man wince. Eventually society will demand to see the man behind the curtain, aka, Ted Cruz jerking off to Atlas Buggered.

I want to remind folks, I’m not against basic conservative causes and values. I grew up in a conservative household. I just want a healthy republican party that’s still linked to reality. We have nothing of the sort today, which is not good for our country. Andrew Sullivan championed this cause long ago with his book The Conservative Soul.  He gave up on this premise and is essentially a liberal now. It’s really hard to see where the GOP has helped. In many ways Reagan was a terrible president. He birthed a lot of the stuff that’s blowing up in our faces today, but, yes, I agree he was their best. Their best just sucks real bad.

Can republicans regain their ability to reason? Will things settle down? I gave up on that premise, long ago. If they could absorb things they would understand how voting against their own self-interests is just that.  They could point to a whole host of liberal policies that helped them at one time or another: from bankruptcy laws, to food stamps, to expanded healthcare, to protection for the mentally ill, to wage equality. But I maintain it’s very difficult to find a conservative policy that has ever helped anyone except the Mr. Burnses of the world. Their policies are all designed to keep the super-rich, super richier. I know that’s sounds like all-or-none thinking, but is there an example I’m missing? There must be one, right? Hit the contact button and let me know what I’ve missed.

Is every republican governor or legislator useless and dangerous? No. But their underlying ideology is disturbing and their next generation of candidates seem even less insightful. So I am creating a new Transcosmetic Party to counter the Dem supermajority to come, which is all part of my Zanofesto! Okay, I haven’t really written it yet, but I do have a good start:

Pee The Weople…

Fine, I’ll work on that.

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Mick Zano

Mick Zano

Mick Zano is the Head Comedy Writer and co-founder of The Daily Discord. He is the Captain of team Search Truth Quest and is currently part of the Witness Protection Program. He is being strongly advised to stop talking any further about this, right now, and would like to add that he is in no way affiliated with the Gambinonali crime family.