America’s topsy-turvy politics
America is experiencing a political age we might call “the Great Inversion”, says Gerard Baker in The Wall Street Journal. Virtually everything, from voting trends to the parties’ main values, has flipped. The “most consequential” switch is in each party’s approach to governing. For decades, the left was more concerned with “ideological purism” than the “compromise-tainted business of actually governing”. As the satirist Will Rogers put it: “I’m not a member of any organised political party. I’m a Democrat.” The Republicans, meanwhile, favoured “pragmatism over purity”, ruling by the dictum: “Damn your principles. Stick to your party!” It’s no coincidence that Republican presidents held power for 28 of the 40 years between 1953 and 1993.