Think of this as Volume 15, Number 52 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
There is a Democratic landslide in our future.
No one in the media wants to admit this, but it's baked in.
Once Americans take a decisive turn, and we've only taken six in our whole history as a nation before now, we don't reverse course.
We validate that turn, moving closer to our historic balance of rights and responsibilities, between money and power, between rich and poor, among one another.
The President put his case plainly in Osawatomie, Kansas. Republicans, meanwhile, have been forced to double-down on what got them in trouble before, with militarists, Christianists and Wall Street all thumping their chests, avoiding responsibility for Iraq, Katrina, and the Big Shitpile. Until they do that, until they take the equivalent of 12 steps to political sobriety, they can't come back to power.
What's driving all this, of course, is a gradual re-allocation of capital from Texas to California, from caveman energy to harvested energy. Many financial analysts still close their eyes to this reality, pretending that oil shale can be extracted without water, or that natural gas can be fracked without harm. It's true that these external costs are not reflected in prices, just as the wars of the last generation weren't reflected in them. But in the end that doesn't matter, because innovation keeps driving the cost of alternatives down.
The Crossover I have written about in the past, the point at which renewable energy becomes the cheap energy, is not going to be a single point in time. Add pollution and war to the cost of producing oil and we've already reached crossover. States like New Jersey will reach crossover before states like Georgia. And even after crossover, energy will retain external costs that may not always be reflected in its price, as with Brazil's destruction of its rainforest to grow sugar and build dams. But the crisis of that crossover is passing over us now, as multiple generations of solar power equipment can be expected between now and 2016, each at least twice as good as what came before, when advances in yield, costs, installation and distribution costs are combined.
Political change follows economic change. It leads to a new center, a new thesis, a new set of assumptions on which power is based. What I have called the Obama Thesis of Consensus holds that we're all in the same boat, that the rich can't get richer unless everyone else does, that science and learning hold the key to success, and that progress is defined by what the whole country is doing, not any one group.
To think otherwise is to repeal the 20th century and every lesson learned, at so much cost, during that time. There is nothing radical or socialist or fascist in the President's agenda. It's placed in context best by the old movies of Frank Capra, like his 1938 Oscar winner, the aptly named “You Can't Take It With You.” The wealthy man finds a poor man, who rejected wealth, is more wealthy than he is in all the ways that count, and that there is more to value in this life than profit.
That's the theme of most Capra movies. It's the theme of Dickens' “A Christmas Carol.” It's the theme at the heart of the New Testament. It's morality as your parents taught it to you. And if it's communism, if it's socialism, then Teddy Roosevelt was a communist, and so was Jesus Christ.
Every political thesis in American history has moved in this way, and has been validated in this way. The second election after the crisis is the one that counts. Nixonism was validated in the defeat of George McGovern, and the New Deal was only validated on the back of Alf Landon. McKinley had to beat Bryan twice, Lincoln's Union beat McClellan's peace party, and on back to the re-elections of Andrew Jackson and Thomas Jefferson.
What happened in 1804, in 1832, in 1864, in 1900 and 1936, what happened in 1972 was that a new story of America was laid out clearly before us, one that resonated with our beliefs about ourselves, one that rejected certain war-like tendencies within the body politic and endorsed a new kind of social peace instead.
That's what Osawatomie was all about. The coming election is all over but the shouting. Give the American people an honest choice, a clear choice, and they will always move forward.
What's left for the opposition then is to conform themselves to this new reality, to lean against the new thesis, to (in time) create a valid anti-thesis that can say, yes that's basically right but we need to moderate it, make it more honest, more businesslike. What's left, for Republicans, is to find their Bill Clinton, their Dwight D. Eisenhower, their Woodrow Wilson or Grover Cleveland.
How long that takes is up to them. But for now they're going down. We, the people are moving ahead.