Cass County Michigan Democratic Party
CCDP Executive Committee
Third Tuesday of the month
at our Headquarters
The Governing Cancer of OurTime
David Brooks FEB. 26, 2016
We live in a big, diverse society. There are essentially two ways to maintain order and get things done in such a society — politics or some form of dictatorship. Either through compromise or brute force. Our founding fathers chose politics. Politics is an activity in which you recognize the simultaneous existence of different groups, interests and opinions. You try to find some way to balance or reconcile or compromise those interests, or at least a majority of them. You follow a set of rules, enshrined in a constitution or in custom, to help you reach these compromises in a way everybody considers legitimate. The downside of politics is that people never really get everything they want. It’s messy, limited and no issue is ever really settled. Politics is a muddled activity in which people have to recognize restraints and settle for less than they want. Disappointment is normal.
But that’s sort of the beauty of politics, too. It involves an endless conversation in which we learn about other people and see things from their vantage point and try to balance their needs against our own. Plus, it’s better than the alternative: rule by some authoritarian tyrant who tries to govern by clobbering everyone in his way.
As Bernard Crick wrote in his book, “In Defense of Politics,” “Politics is a way of ruling divided societies without undue violence.”
Over the past generation we have seen the rise of a group of people who are against politics. These groups — best exemplified by the Tea Party but not exclusive to the right — want to elect people who have no political experience. They want “outsiders.” They delegitimize compromise and deal making. They’re willing to trample the customs and rules that give legitimacy to legislative decision-making if it helps them gain power.
Ultimately, they don’t recognize other people. They suffer from a form of political narcissism, in which they don’t accept the legitimacy of other interests and opinions. They don’t recognize restraints. They want total victories for themselves and their doctrine.
This anti politics tendency has had a wretched effect on our democracy. It has led to a series of overlapping downward spirals: The anti politics people elect legislators who have no political skills or experience. That incompetence leads to dysfunctional government, which leads to more disgust with government, which leads to a demand for even more outsiders.
The anti politics people don’t accept that politics is a limited activity. They make soaring promises and raise ridiculous expectations. When those expectations are not met, voters grow cynical and, disgusted, turn even further in the direction of anti politics.
The anti politics people refuse compromise and so block the legislative process. The absence of accomplishment destroys public trust. The decline in trust makes deal making harder. We’re now at a point where the Senate says it won’t even hold hearings on a presidential Supreme Court nominee, in clear defiance of custom and the Constitution. We’re now at a point in which politicians live in fear if they try to compromise and legislate. We’re now at a point in which normal political conversation as broken down. People feel unheard, which makes them shout even louder, which further destroys conversation.
And in walks Donald Trump. People say that Trump is an unconventional candidate and that he represents a break from politics as usual. That’s not true. Trump is the mculmination of the trends we have been seeing for the last 30 years: the desire for outsiders; the bashing style of rhetoric that makes conversation impossible; the decline of coherent political parties; The declining importance of policy; the tendency to fight cultural battles and identity wars through political means. Trump represents the path the founders rejected. There is a hint of violence undergirding his campaign. There is always a whiff, and sometimes more than a whiff, of “I’d like to punch him in the nose!”
I printed out a Times list of the insults Trump has hurled on Twitter. The list took up 33 pages. Trump’s style is bashing and pummeling. Everyone who opposes or disagrees with him is an idiot, a moron or a loser. The implied promise of this campaign is that he will come to Washington and bully his way through.
Trump’s supporters aren’t looking for a political process to address their needs. They are looking for a superhero. As the political scientist Matthew MacWilliams found, the one trait that best predicts whether you’re a Trump supporter is how high you score on tests that measure authoritarianism. This isn’t just an American phenomenon. Politics is in retreat and authoritarianism is on the rise worldwide. The answer to Trump is politics. It’s acknowledging other people exist. It’s taking pleasure in that difference nd hammering out workable arrangements. As Harold Laski put it, “We shall make the basis of our state consent to disagreement. Therein shall we ensure its deepest harmony.”
Clark Cobb -- District 7
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Paul Clements Runs for Congress.
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IS THE ERA STILL NEEDED?
Cass County Democrats' next “Third Thursday” event will be at 6:30 pm on June 16, at party headquarters, 804 E. State Street, Cassopolis, Michigan. This month's presentation and discussion, will explore the changing status of women's rights in the United States from the writing of the Constitution to the 72-year struggle for women's suffrage and the ongoing campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Amendment states "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex". It is the opinion of many, including the late Supreme Court judge, Antonin Scalia, that the founding fathers never intended to include women in the US Constitution, and did not. First introduced in 1923, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification in 1972. The original seven-year time limit was extended by Congress; but at the deadline, the ERA had been ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The Equal Rights Amendment is still viable, and can be easily ratified. Do women still need a federal guarantee of equality?
As always, “Third Thursday” events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Events Committee Co-Chair
Cass County Democratic Party
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are...Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
--President Dwight D. Eisenhower, November 8, 1954
From the Chair
Now is the time for all who want a change in representation in the 6th District to step up and contribute to Paul’s campaign.
Hello everyone-- we all know Paul Clements ran a great race against Fred Upton in 2014, and he's running again. He's starting early and he's making news. For those of you who joined us last Saturday for our party PARTY! you heard Paul take on Fred and the conservative agenda. Paul was forceful, eloquent and right on point. He's holding Upton accountable. He's asking the question-- In almost 30 years, what has Fred Upton done for the 6th District? And the answer is a big NADA. Zero. Zilch. Amazing, but true. Fred is one of the most powerful men in the House, one of the richest; and in a position to really make a difference-- and he's done nothing for the District as a whole. You can count the bills Fred has sponsored and passed that are of any consequence on one hand.
If you intend to support Paul with a donation, do it now. Even if it's $5, do it now. Every supporter is counted, every dollar means a lot. You can donate on Paul's website www.clementsforcongress.com or send a check to 2517 Broadway Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008
Let's help put Paul in the national spotlight, let's help send Paul to Washington. He will make us proud, he will make this country proud.
Thank you, Cathy
Click here to go to Paul's video
Chair -- Cathy LaPointe
Vice Chair -- Rudy Gourdine
2nd Vice Chair -- Felomina Patton
Secretary -- Marlene Deming
Treasurer -- Francois Duchesneau
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If you're a political junkie, this is the page for you!
Cass County Democratic Party
Headquarters: 804 E. State St.
Cassopolis, MI 49031
Mailing Address: PO Box 154
Cassopolis, MI 49031
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Third Thursday Movie
"Politics or Dictatorship"
A commentary by David Brooks, conservative commentator.