Earlier this week, I mapped the locations of factions that are forming within today’s GOP. But the Republicans (with the notable exception of Donald Trump) have been reactive agents in the nation’s long-running conflict. It is the Democrats who typically take the initiative. Hence, they call themselves “progressives.”
The circle’s left side exhibits a different dynamic than the divisions on the right. Democratic leadership has constructed a uniform block of national and state politicians, capable of acting in unison. This group agitates for increases in centralized power. The surface presentation of these Beltway Believers is one of diversity. When viewed spatially, however, they occupy a specific location on the partisan spectrum. It’s characterized by uniformity.
It’s surprising how often the Democrat Party is conflated with liberal values …… as if they were one and the same. The same occurs on the right. But political parties must be analyzed separately from their brand.
The values of liberalism are more broad than the worldview of the party now purporting to represent them. And in recent years, many liberal members of America’s thinking class have begun to break away from the centralized factions of that tradition, using phrases like “lack of ideological diversity” or “diminished protection of free speech.” To get a general sense of some of these figures, read the Harper’s Letter to the Editor.
So, the Party has moved higher on the circle’s left side, while other self-described liberals are now entrenched within the low quadrant. Perhaps some occasionally vote with leadership, but a chasm has opened.
Another group of liberals also resides in the lower left quadrant, largely unacknowledged. Movements like permaculture, new urbanism, functional medicine, and local sourcing exhibit great energy and grassroots growth. But they’ve been forced to operate at the margins of political power.
Rather than embrace the intellectual ferment provided by low circle liberals, the party treats this quadrant as an unnecessary distraction to its top-down priorities. Instead, Democrat elites have crafted strong alliances with other centralized organizations, like major media, the tech monopolies, and agencies of the deep state.
Here again, unacknowledged allies aid this group. For example, centralizing Republicans frequently cooperate with DNC initiatives. And the Federal Reserve, while posing as “non-partisan,” enables party policies with its easy money approach.
This leaves many occupants of the circle’s left side with a difficult choice. Those who would normally sit at the liberal pole are often drawn to centralized policies because no other political representation is available. A move to lower positions would leave them with no power.
What impact does this have on the nation’s future? As the media continues to insist on a left-right interpretation of the political spectrum, the true battle is steadily morphing into a top-versus-bottom conflict. This situation has been correctly perceived by occupants of the lower quadrants, but those members still haven’t formed meaningful alliances.
The fate of the republic might hinge on whether liberals and conservatives of the lower quadrants can begin to generate political leverage where none currently exists.