We’ve heard much these last few years about polarized politics: Bush Derangement Syndrome, anti-Clinton Malaise, Reagan Froth, the Carter Jitters, etc. I’m suspicious that this is an entirely new trend. But more and more, our civil discourse dies in favor of a drive to win. Peter Neumann points to an article about the terrible consequences in The Nation.
And everyone who reads this has heard of Arrow’s paradox. One interpretation of Arrow’s work is that good elections can’t be about winning. Elections are about consensus—we all agree that whoever wins this semiformal game will govern the country. Primary elections are even more so. I wonder how to shift from our winning-focused system to one that does favor candidates and strategists who focus on persuading the whole group.