Tag: Digital Elections, Party Politics and Diplomacy

  • The normalisation of the revolving door in U.S. Politics

    From This Town, by Mark Leibovich, pg 163: Calculations vary on how many former members of Congress have joined the influence-peddling set. By the middle of 2011, at least 160 former lawmakers were working as lobbyists in Washington, according to First Street, a website that tracks lobbying trends in D.C., in April 2013. The Center […]

  • The Self-Understandings of Technocratic Elites

    From This Town, by Mark Leibovich, pg 137: Clever locals refer to the Correspondents’ Association dinner as “Nerd Prom.” This is one of those self-congratulatory Beltway terms masked as self-deprecation. “Nerd” implies that everyone would of course much rather be immersed in the deep wiring of some issue, something of weight and substance—they are “nerds,” […]

  • Declining political literacy as a vector of post-democratisation

    This is a difficult issue to know how to treat, but I think it’s an important one. Declining political literacy of the sort described here by David Shultz in American Politics In An Age of Ignorance, loc 143-157 is a unnecessary but  sufficient condition for ‘shadow mobilisations’ of the kind which are the most worrying […]

  • The Growth of Political Consultancy

    From This Town, by Mark Leibovich, pg 98-99: The biggest shift in Washington over the last forty or so years has been the arrival of Big Money and politics as an industry. The old Washington was certainly saturated with politics, but it was smaller and more disjointed. There were small and self-contained political consultancies that […]

  • How depoliticisation and political polarisation co-exist in American politics 

    From The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 231. This strikes me as a really important point: politicians are insulated from external pressures while nonetheless having their behaviour shaped all the more by internal pressures, driving a political polarisation which can seem prima facie like the intensification of politicisation rather than its diminuation: Thanks to the […]

  • A capitalism-friendly version of social mobility

    A really enticing analysis by Evgeny Morozov of the “eventual depoliticization of extremely political and contentious issues by wrapping them up in the empty, futuristic language of technology and innovation”. Silicon Valley increasingly dominates the discursive representation of our global future, with the amelioration of social problems limited to a technologically-driven intensification of consumption: Like […]

  • RoboPresident: Politics in an Algorithmic World

    This contains a really interesting idea that hadn’t occurred to me previously: bots can be seen as user-driven tactics to evade and overcome the limitations of platforms. There’s a really interesting paper about bots in the Sociological Review here.

  • The Political Socialisation of Presidents and Politicians

    Barack Obama quoted in The Deep State, by Mike Lofgren, pg 63. The demands of fundraising for US politicians are exceptional but I assume a similar process can be found elsewhere, as an elite gradually becomes one’s reference group if this was not already the case. How else to explain the belief of UK MPs […]

  • The performative pressures posed by presidency 

    From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 789: During so many days of crisis in his first two years, Obama often felt that performance pressure—having to play the part of president, in charge and confident, each day, in front of his seasoned, combative, prideful team, many of whom had, all together, recently served another […]

  • Cognitive triage in politics

    How widespread is this? From The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 585: Emanuel, with his day-to-day focus on “getting points on the board,” scrambled for quick results, trying to win each day’s news cycle. As Bob Rubin told one of his many acolytes in the White House during a phone call, “Rahm’s more inclined […]

  • Richard Rorty predicted Trumpism

    Lovely spot by Chris Hedges from a book I read many years ago which, as far as I can tell, made nearly zero impression on me at the time. This quotes from Rorty’s Achieving Our Country: Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in […]

  • Market liberalism and the foreclosure of politics

    I just came across a stunning quote by Larry Summers, economic and policy doyen of the Democratic establishment, reflecting on the rise of inequality in America. It’s from The Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, pg 363: “One of the reasons that inequality has probably gone up in our society is that people are being treated […]

  • The Republican elite are now openly declaring their contempt for the American white working class 

    Thanks to Mark Thoma for flagging up an astonishing article published in the journal of the GOP’s intellectual elite. Is this something once unspoken now being given voice? If we are concerned about Trump’s authoritarianism, should we be equally concerned about the potentially terrifying actions liable to be licensed by such naked contempt for vast […]

  • Violence as the expression of Trump’s nascent ideology

    I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been getting a little bit obsessed with Donald Trump in recent months. There’s certainly a risk of overstating the threat that he poses, such that a preoccupation with the man himself risks obscuring the systemic conditions that have facilitated his emerging status, but I’m increasingly convinced we’re witnessing what […]

  • The Accleration of Political Rhetoric

    From Confidence Men, by Ron Susskind, pg 23-24: But it was hard to know how even Lincoln’s rhetorical genius would have met the awesome challenge of modern politics: to explain hugely complex problems and offer first-step solutions in all of sixty seconds. Hillary Clinton could do it just like Lincoln split wood: steady and true, […]

  • The Skilled Demagoguery of Donald J. Trump

    This is disturbing and skilful stuff. A performance of populism quite unlike the rhetoric of it which we’re much more familiar with: “The other night in the debate,” he told thousands in Manchester, “they asked Ted Cruz a serious question: what do you think of waterboarding? Is it OK? I thought he’d say absolutely, and he didn’t. And […]

  • the inanity of post-democratic political leaders

  • the failed promise of ‘cyber politics’, the empowerment of defensive elites and the death of liberal democracy

    I’m enjoying Evelyn Ruppert’s new book, co-authored with Engin Isin. On page 7 of Being Digital Citizens they write: What is important to recognize is that although the Internet may not have changed politics radically in the fifteen years that separate these two studies, it has radically changed the meaning and function of being citizens […]

  • Cf Papers & Panels: “Internet & Politics: from Local to Global Politics”

    Call for Papers and PanelsInternet and Politics: From Local to Global Politics Section at the ECPR General Conference | 7-10.September.16 | Prague Section Chairs Andrea Calderaro (Cardiff University) Alexandra Segerberg (Stockholm University) Abstract The Section aims to explore Internet and Politics across its multiple dimensions in a global and comparative perspective. While the research area […]