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Semiformalishmaybe

Dynamic Gnosis

In a recent interview with New York Magazine, Jeb Bush opined that changing demographics in Texas would lead it to become Democratic in a few years, worrying that the shift would make it hard for Republicans to compete in national politics.

I find this analysis broken; it ignores the dynamic that underlies our political system, and which explains why our two-party system has remained stable for so long with a roughly 50-50 chance of control of the relevant national institutions. Neither party, taken as a whole, has a committed philosophy they're pushing; they define themselves as anything mainstream to the left or the right of what they judge to be the political center, balancing their distance from center to be enough to energise their base for elections without alienating whatever centrists they can pick up. The lobbying they do once campaign season begins is influential enough that it pulls people's opinions together under a flag, and defines those opinions with soundbites (and occasional substance). If there's a shift of the center, one or both parties will realise this and redefine. So long as enough people remain either undefined enough to be up-for-grabs or in definitional ground that these redefinitions can change what party they vote for, roughly 50-50 can last forever with both parties dancing around it.

Jeb doesn't have a lot to worry about; either he doesn't understand this dynamic, or he doesn't want to talk openly about it. I imagine it's the latter; the dynamic is pretty obvious (I figured it out when I was a teenager). Sad that so many obvious things are things our political figures can't openly talk about. Sad that so many people live with their eyes closed to the obvious. A smarter/better-educated public would not accept our current status quo for discourse.

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