The lost center
by Doc Searls Saturday, February 1, 2020

Listening to SCAN on the radio this last week, especially on the AM band—and then watching and listening to much of the Impeachment trial on TV and radio—it became clear to me that the Republican and Democratic parties are like divorced parents fighting over children who are also taking sides. Typically of people who don't get along, they make broad and demeaning assumptions about each other, full of characterization and dismissiveness. Whether they are right or wrong about each other are beside this simple point: they are locked in a conflict that will only be resolved, unhappily, when one or the other wins.

The Republicans will win this round. I think they'll win in November as well, with Trump crowing all the way about putting down "the coup."  But they'll lose in the longer run, because the demographics and the economy won't keep working for them, and Trump's celebrity will wear out. Some Democrat will be elected president in 2024, with a tide of other Democrats winning both houses of Congress. But it won't be pretty in the meantime. Trump will pack the Supreme Court while remaining a dishonest egomaniac whose corrupt history will catch up with him one way or another—while the Democratic party will split between young and old, socialist and traditionalist. Its center will not hold.

The center in the country as a whole is already gone, lost in the divorce. (I did a TEDx talk about that center, here.) I suspect the new center in Democratic politics will be a socialist one, because the giant problems—global warming, pandemics, economic disasters, rotten infrastructure—will be ones government will seem to be in the best position to solve.

I'm not saying any of what I just said is true, by the way. It's just what I'm thinking on a Saturday evening in February 2020.