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Lib-owning before governing

Adam Serwer, The Atlantic: “Ideally in a democracy, when politicians govern poorly, the voters punish them for it. Real life is obviously more complicated, and politicians who fail at their duties aren’t held accountable for all sorts of reasons. But in the contemporary Republican Party, governance has taken a back seat to waging the culture war. Whether you are a competent public official who serves your constituents well matters less than your ability to illustrate your contempt for the rival party’s constituency in word and deed. Democrats have their own symbolic politics they use to win the allegiance of their constituents while avoiding or failing at their actual duties – witness New York Governor Andrew Cuomo playing tough guy with Trump but failing to protect elderly New Yorkers in nursing homes from COVID-19, or the San Francisco school board’s obsession with renaming schools rather than focusing on reopening them safely.”

“But these dynamics are not equivalent – Democrats need a broader ideological coalition to prevail, so they cannot as readily engage in elaborate gestures of contempt for conservatives the way Republicans do toward liberals. California’s Democratic senators and state officials did not take to social media to mock Texans as they froze – Governor Gavin Newsom urged his followers on Twitter to donate and ‘lend a hand to folks in Texas.’ The elevation of this symbolic politics over competence has had a devastating effect on actual governance in Texas, a state that has been under Republican control since the 1990s. If politicians can win and exercise power simply through expressions of contempt for others, then they have no need to govern well, as the tenure of Texas Governor Greg Abbott makes abundantly clear. Filing expensive lawsuits that kick people off Medicaid in order to stick it to Barack Obama, signing laws defending Chik-fil-A, allowing state-funded adoption agencies to refuse services to same-sex couples – this is the stuff that gets you on Fox News, not attending to prosaic duties such as making sure your state’s utilities will function properly under emergency conditions.”

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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