Best piece on the tea party movement I have seen.
It is not a libertarian movement, though there are some in it and some trying to co-opt it.
A political science point as well: it is amazing how much richer and deeper an analysis it can be when it drops the ridiculous notion of a one-dimensional left-right political spectrum.
Hat tip: reader Don, who says the same on Facebook.
Who was my favorite student this term?
6 years ago
The evidence that post-civil rights US politics is 1-dimensional is really really strong. Look into DWNOMINATE or IDEAL, you can derive 1-dimensional "ideology" measures that explain 98% of roll-call votes and does a good job with individual opinion as well.
Issue space is multi-dimensional, but that doesn't really matter. Both parties converge and move together in issue space pretty quickly(Democrats often cut taxes and deregulate, Republicans often increase spending, etc), they mainly fight with each other on distribution issues and tribal identification, which will usually be 1-D.
Thanks to Daniel for this thoughtful and informative comments.
I certainly concede the one-dimensional point when it comes to much of what congress does, and don't think it is very surprising given that our system is designed to force two parties as an outcome.
The point of my remark in the original post was that going beyond the one-dimensional can be useful in analyzing broader trends in the wider population.
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