Political fracture points and power vacuums.
A political fracture point is a sudden and radical change in the political landscape. In classical times, it would be the collapse of an empire, such as the Roman Empire. In the last century, World War I resulted in the outright destruction of several, such as the German Empire, and ultimately fatal damage to others, such as the British Empire.
When they happen, they’re usually quick, mostly unanticipated by political experts of the time and inevitably leave a power vacuum, which always gets filled fairly soon. Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. In the case of empires, they’re usually absorbed by a newer, more vibrant one or they just fragment back into the original nations, which were subjugated in the building of the empire.
The modern-day equivalent of an empire, is a sphere of influence. In more recent times, the implosion of the USSR was essentially the collapse of a sphere of influence. It has contracted back to what was traditionally Russia and the client states have mostly regained their nationhood.
Interestingly, the collapse of the USSR moved geopolitics back to an era the world hasn’t seen in two millenia, when just the Romans ruled it. We’re back to a single superpower in the world situation and even though that change happened over twenty years ago, a lot of people still haven’t adjusted to that simple reality. It’s more prudent to get on with these new Romans, because as a few countries such as France and Germany have already learnt, you don’t want to get on their bad side.
Since I’m on the subject of America, I have to say that I’m sick to death of what passes for political analysis when it comes to America. Because I’m known to take an interest in politics, I occasionally get cornered at social events by people anxious to share their pet theory about what’s actually going on in the world. I recently sat at a dinner table and was on the receiving end of a long, wrong and brainless analysis of why America was somehow at the root of all the evils that bedevil the world. At the end of it, I said I wanted to make sure I understood what they were saying, so I repeated it all back accurately, simply substituting for America and Americans, the words Africa and Negros.
After a few sharp intakes of breath and a heated discussion, it all calmed down enough for me to state the obvious conclusion. It was somehow grossly offensive to say some things about Africa and Negros but it was perfectly okay to say exactly the same things about America and Americans. I could just as easily have used Israel and Jews or Spain and Spaniards. Bigotry always has the same tune; it’s just the lyrics that vary and knee-jerk Anti-Americanism, masquerading as politics, is still just simple bigotry. If you’re going to do political analysis, then damn well do political analysis; not something which is actually fashionable but thinly disguised racism.
These fractures still occur in modern democracies, but in the context of political parties, so they’re not quite as gory, though I think they might happen less frequently if they were. The prospect of losing your head, rather than just your seat, might serve as a good reality check with certain types of politician. A governing party, which has been in power for a number of administrations, suddenly and catastrophically, loses the backing of the electorate and is well trounced or even nearly annihilated in a national election.
The particular reasons why this happens vary but the net effect of those reasons is always the same. The party loses touch with the portion of the electorate they’re supposed to speak for and that always results in a loss of trust, which is reflected at the ballot box. It has degenerated into an inward looking creature with a bunker mentality, which only listens to itself and its own fervent supporters. It’s in a world of its own and has detached itself from its traditional support.
The problem can be compounded by the mainstream media (MSM), who may be avid supporters of the party’s particular policies and end up being just as blinkered in their perception, and therefore in their reporting. This collective delusion comes to a nasty screeching halt when Joe or Jolene Public gets into the privacy of a polling booth and expresses what they really think on the ballot paper. The political chattering classes are genuinely shocked when the result comes out. Truman versus Dewey in the presidential election of 1948, is a classic example; some papers actually headlined, in advance of the results, Dewey winning. In Europe, John Major’s win over Neil Kinnock in the general election of 1992 was equally unexpected, but only if you’d believed what you’d read and heard in the MSM.
The only people in the party who tend to see the looming election disaster, are the low-level elected representatives of the party, but just the ones who actually keep in touch with the electorate. When you see people like that announcing in advance that they won’t be standing at the next election, the writing is on the wall.
These electoral disasters happen to mainstream parties on both the left and right-wing sides of the political divide. If the party has not been totally destroyed, then a long period, usually ten to fifteen years, of rebuilding trust with the electorate begins. If a party will not, or cannot, begin that process, then the traditional elements still within it, will eventually break off to form a new party, closer to its traditional principles. Sometimes the new party grows to replace the old but usually it’s reabsorbed back into a mainstream party after a few years.
The point to note about these situations, is that the party winning big actually had to do nothing, because it was actually the other party losing the election, through its own alienation of its support base. The winning party can get away with promising very little and still get elected. They can run anybody they like as well, they’ll still win. They actually have to simply do nothing, except avoid making any big blunders, to win. Obama running against Bush Jnr, is the most recent example of this on the political stage.
There are two problems with this situation and the first is more traditional. Where a governing party has a massive majority in the legislature, it can pretty much do as it damn well pleases, and make no mistake, it usually does in the end.
If it’s of the left, it’ll progressively tax and spend, and through a creeping process of petty regulation, strive to rigidly control the life of the ordinary person. It is the nature of the beast. The combination of excessive taxation and over regulation, tend to slowly strangle economic prosperity, which is never a good thing for the ordinary person.
Where the party is of the right, the emphasis gradually moves too much to the benefit of business and capitalism, and while that in general is good for the economy, its excesses are usually at the expense of the ruthless exploitation of the working person, because that’s the nature of that particular beast.
When one party, of either political persuasion, has a huge governing majority, then in the long run, it’s never good for democracy, the economy or the people. Power, as the saying goes, corrupts; all it ever needs is enough time.
The second problem is more subtle. Because the incoming party have not had to fight for an election victory, they’ve not had to make any substantial commitments to the electorate, who are just focused on simply voting the other party out of office, without actually taking a hard look at its replacement. In the presidential election of 2008, the American voter fell hard for an Obama administration, without ever asking, never mind trying, to get it to commit to anything substantial. They paid the price. Despite what the MSM in America and abroad would have you believe, he was deeply unpopular all across America within a year. By default, they’d ended up with a very traditional Chicago-style administration, that said a lot but actually delivered nothing of consequence.
There are two national elections on the near horizon, which in my assessment, will result in one party taking government with a substantial majority. The first is this year’s presidential election in America, where, barring some sort of miracle for the Democratic party, the Republicans are expected to sweep to power. They did very well last year in the mid-terms, taking over the House, and I’d expect them to do even better this year. From the climate alarmism viewpoint, clipping the wings of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who’ve been engaged in some clumsy unilateral de-carbonisation of America, has already been well signalled but that’s not enough. The new administration must cancel the obscene amounts of funding committed to green projects and initiatives and eliminate indirect subsidies of so-called green industries, which have signally failed to deliver new jobs. The savings made must be redirected into investment to create real jobs.
The second election is next year’s general election in Australia. The Labor party there has just been gutted in Queensland’s state election and again, barring a political miracle, most watchers now expect it to have a near-death experience in next year’s election. The incoming Liberal party, which despite the name, represents the right-wing in Australian politics, must be made to commit to cancelling the carbon tax, which was imposed by the current administration, despite them having promised to do no such thing. Again, there is an obscene amount of money committed to green projects, which can be usefully redeployed into investment to create jobs.
Voters in both America and Australia, must force these undertakings out of their respective incoming parties well before election day or they’ll be in danger of voting in another Obama, but with a landslide majority. If you don’t make them work for a victory, then they’ll ignore you once they gain power.
If they won’t make those concrete undertakings in advance, don’t vote for them.
Related articles by Pointman: