* I’m excerpting way too much of this David Brooks column, but for good reason…
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 Defence 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 antipolitics tendency has had a wretched effect on our democracy. It has led to a series of overlapping downward spirals:
The antipolitics 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.
Several Illinoisans sent me that column over the weekend, and it wasn’t because of Donald Trump.
* Greg Hinz: How Trump and Rauner are alike
Actually, that headline is misleading and apparently designed as click bait. Here’s what Greg wrote…
Given such realities, it’s not hard to explain why people will turn to crisp, simple answers and tough-talking, self-financed, little-understood Type A business titans who declare they know the formula to restore past glory.
No, I’m not talking about Gov. Bruce Rauner, though some similarities definitely exist. Rather, my target is Trump, and to a lesser degree Vermont’s Bernie “I’ll make everything free” Sanders.
* For the record, I just want to make it super clear that in no way do I believe that our governor is a racist or a misogynist. I do not believe that the two men are peas in a pod. Rauner went out of his way to court African-Americans and Latinos. He did very well with suburban soccer moms, partly as a result of his eagerness to attract minority support, partly because he’s pro-choice. I’m betting that Trump won’t do nearly as well in a general election here as Rauner did.
But, despite their very real and very important differences, the comparison between the wealthy Republican men is just too easy to make for many folks and it’s starting to pick up a little bit of steam on social media as the presidential candidates begin converging on Illinois.
…Adding… It’s not just coming from Trump/Rauner critics. From Talk of the County…
Team Trump, Rauner
The people making negative comments about Donald Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner need to wake up. It’s our chance to straighten out this country and this state. Rauner is holding back because every year the Democrats have raised taxes so they can run the state any way they want. They work for us and it’s our tax money but unfortunately our state representatives are doing whatever they please.
*** UPDATE *** From the twitters…