June 16, 2006

Re: Alec's misinterpretations

Alec misconstrues a few of my points:"First, the ones Brooks does talk about: Hammond mentions how Brooks doesn't acknowledge huge issues like immigration, Social Security, or the Religious Right, except if you actually read the column, Brooks does mention these issues." I understand Alec's insistence on "actually" reading the column and I wish he would apply that same rigor to "actually" reading my post. I wrote that Brooks talks about immigration, but doesn't talk about the immigrants themselves (i.e. he acknowledges the issue, but he doesn't identify the driving force behind the issue: namely, the population explosion). It is this demographic fact that should be examined, not how elites see the issue.Second, "Do I think parties will completely realign? Probably not anytime soon. But unlike Hammond, I'm willing to concede that it has happened in the past and probably will happen in the future (and I don't have to take a class on this subject to know that)."Of course, parties will realign. I never refused to concede that. They have realigned in the past (1850s, 1930s, and 1970s to name the only few). But Alec has yet to make a compelling case why those were the result of elite ideologies, let alone why the next realignment will be motivated not by electoral fortune or geography, but by the opinions of a powerful minority.Alec gives Brooks too much credit and provides no response to the critiques I levied. First, he doesn't answer my question as to why Brooks decided to omit any shred of statistical or even anecdotal evidence for his empirical argument. Second, he neglects, as Brooks did, to acknowledge the social movements that shape the political context: the explosion of latino immigrants and the rise of the Religious Right. Brooks is too busy mentioning political leaders, leaders who will be gone in the next decade, to examine the larger social context. Finally, Alec does correctly point to the fact that the parties have incoherent positions on key issues as well as genuine solutions to pressing problems, and that eventually, those issues and those problems will be brought to bear on their electoral fortunes. Yet, nowhere does Brooks or Brandon get from there (point A) to the assertion that there will be a partisan realignment (point Z). In other words, if we concede that both parties are either schizophrenic or incompetent on certain issues, why would it necessarily follow that there will be a seachange of partisan loyalties in this country?Respectfully, but still very much flummoxed,Andrew