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How The Temperature Of US Politics Came Down

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How The Temperature Of US Politics Came Down

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How The Temperature Of US Politics Came Down
How The Temperature Of US Politics Came Down

Is the United States learning to live with isolation? I do not recommend this idea with great certainty. I will be sad if the pandemic starts again. But last November's midterm elections were more or less a failure. The repeal of federal abortion rights, an attack on American liberties, did not lead to civil unrest. The street protests of 2020 did not make noise from the outside world.

A bit of grace, yes, but not what you might have expected a while ago. Identify them. History is not only about what doesn't happen, but also about what doesn't happen.

Even if we stick to reality, there are reflections of darkness. Take some of the applause for Joe Biden's State of the Union speech among Republicans this month. or bipartisan legislation from the last Congress. It is difficult to point out these points without incurring accusations of negligence. So, disclaimer: No, red and blue America don't say "Ah, come here, you" to each other and dance hand-in-hand around the maypole. The poll continues. Only this division – sometimes violent – could afford the United States.

Many factors contribute to the transformation of an acute illness into a chronic illness. One of them is Biden himself. White, old, non-Ivy League and, for his hometown of Scranton, non-metropolitan, he has been too good for conservatives not to have been a Democratic president since Jimmy Carter. It also addresses the big government campaign that Donald Trump has referred to in the abstract without enacting legislation.

Infrastructure frenzy, industrial subsidies: This is a politically divisive issue that both chauvinist Republicans and statist Democrats find hard to argue with. Right-wingers like Barack Obama and Bill Clinton can't hunt the "other" Biden. He is a confused opponent. Republicans are increasingly turning in on themselves, which is worse for the party than for the Republicans.

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At 80, Biden may just be a passing bum. China is more tolerant. The United States now has a compelling foreign rival that it has not had since the fall of the Soviet Union. Yes, Republicans have accused Biden of taking too long to land Chinese balloons on American soil . But such tactical battles are normal. But the reality is that the biggest issues of this century, other than climate change, face the same thing on both sides. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, is not a tribal representative on China. A partisan thrives on low stakes. Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich, cable news sharp turn: It all started because the United States had nothing to stop in the 1990s.

So we have personal factors (Biden) and structural (China). How accurate and journalistic it is. But controlling these is not enough.

In the late 1960s, the United States was devastated by a civil recession. There were political assassinations and riots from which some cities never recovered. Although the army is the only mandatory institution today – red and blue voters – soldiers returning from Vietnam are far from international goodwill. Imagine that Lyndon Johnson, as a stubborn seeker and usurper of democratic politics, resigned from his high office without a fight.

There was no break. And it's not for lack of trigger events: Watergate or the OPEC oil crisis can do it. Instead, in 1984, 49 states voted the same way (for Ronald Reagan). Great moderation began in economics and politics.

The chaos of the 1960s is difficult to pin down to a single policy. Defining any leadership function is difficult. Scholars are indifferent to what is happening. You can read and see a lot about conflict – about fire in the past – not about putting it out, but about conflict. Did the largest generation of baby boomers last into their thirties?

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The crisis somehow flared up. or divided into lighter forms. 1968 was the end of something, not the beginning. America's challenge is to ensure that the siege of the Capitol in 2021 is conducted in the same way.

The standard of civilization of a country is if a citizen cannot think about politics day after day. Wherever you live, ask yourself how much American politics comes to mind these days. More than indifference, more than bridges and an upgraded electric grid, more than "Made in America," Biden may be the crowning glory of the year.

janan.ganesh@ft.com

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