Patterns of Political History: Every Action Creates Reaction

Politics is like physics, in that waves or movements spark equal and opposite counter-movements. Or as the philosopher Hagel observed of history, ideas or thesis spark antithesis and eventually synthesis.

Revolutions create counter-revolutions and, in democratic societies, evolution.

1. The Obama “Revolution” of 2008-10 created the Tea Party and Trump Counter-revolutions of 2010-16. While they didn’t win the presidency in 2012, they won congressional elections in 2010 and 2014 because Obama supporters didn’t vote in large enough numbers in the off-year elections.

2. In 2017 and 2018, we saw a reaction against the Tea Party and Trump, and the emergence of feminist “me too” movement; the “Never Again” anti-school shooting movement; and a strengthening of the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

3. In 2018, reaction against Trump may result in Dems taking back the US House and possibly the Senate. If they do, they will block the Republican agenda and may initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump.

4. Will impeachment result in a backlash against the Dems like the Clinton impeachment did against Republicans? Clinton maintained his political popularity despite impeachment. Trump has never been a popular president, never winning majority approval. The popularity of impeachment depends on how compelling a legal argument can be made against Trump.

Will Republicans split over Trump, immigration, free/fair trade, taxes/spending/deficits and other issues?

There may be a hunger among the public for leaders who apply principles consistently without regard to political partisanship.


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