Morone’s The Democratic Wish presented a sophisticated but rather pessimistic view of American government. Basically Morone says that American politics is a never-ending cycle of four steps: a stalemate of liberalism, a popular response provoked by the people, new political institutions being created to accommodate the popular response, and a reassertion of the political stalemate. He argues that this cycle is driven by a combination of dread of government and yearning for political action which creates continually larger and less efficient governments, and that this cycle doesn’t look as if it will be stopped; at the end of his book he calls for Americans to break free from this cycle.
I find Morone’s description of American politics to be pretty accurate. As he says, “once the reforms are in place, the image of a united republican volk evaporates into the reality of classes and interests scrapping for partisan advantage” (Morone 12). However, he also goes on to say that “the institutions designed (and won) in the name of the people remain. Like all political organizations they have biases; they alter the old political alignments and break the stalemate imposed by the dread of government” (Morone 12). This is how political change occurs in the United States It is not perfect and it usually doesn’t achieve the intended results. But it happens. Some problems are solved and lead to new problems cropping up. That’s the eternal cycle of American politics and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Progress may often take far longer than we desire, but it usually happens in the end; for example, it took a hundred years to make the leap from abolition of slavery to comprehensive civil rights reform. It is shameful that it took so long, but slow progress was being made the whole time. It reminds me of Martin Luther King’s quote: “The arc of morality is long, but it bends toward justice.”