It Began With the Need for Change
James Morone’s “The Democratic Wish” describes an unceasing cycle that gradually bloats the American Democracy one era after another. It begins with two parties unwilling to budge on issues, progresses to the citizens of the Democracy demanding an adjustment or transformation of current politics, and ends with a newly established system that inevitably becomes like the old one it was supposed to replace; only it’s bigger and more useless each time. And so the system repeats itself, term after term, generation after generation, cycle after cycle.
The election of 1824 isn’t of particular interest to most citizens. Frankly, no election is. Republicans argue that they haven’t had a candidate they truly loved since Reagan, and Democrats are singing the same tune with Bill Clinton’s first run for office. Nonetheless, only those who find elation in the political process are the ones who can name particular candidates to particular elections. For instance, I could not find a single person who genuinely knew who Gerald Ford ran against for his presidency that wasn’t heavily involved in politics. For those who know the answer to the question, have a good laugh with me, but don’t spoil its comedic value. An unfair question, I know, but it does prove my point; people don’t care about previous elections as much as they should, especially ones that happened 192 years ago.
Yet, Morone’s message predicts the outcome of this year’s election based on a previous one. In 1824, Andrew Jackson, a fairly uneducated, crazy-haired candidate for the presidency ran against John Quincy Adams, a man whose family was drenched in politics for the past thirty-plus years. Why? Because Jackson felt the system was corrupt. He couldn’t stand the centralized bank nor the system it ran under. And when he lost the election, he claimed it was rigged. In a way, it was. The election is nicknamed the “stolen election” because he received more popular votes than electoral votes. He got his revenge four years later in 1828 when he obliterated President Adams, but once he got into office, many missed the corrupt establishment more than Jackson’s deranged view of a new America, an America where the Native American population would almost become extinct. At the very least, you could say Jackson was a mixed bag of freedom and tyranny, and Adams was a complete and utter repeat of his father’s. Popularity was not his strong suit.
And so the cycle repeated throughout the generations. Government becoming stagnant, people demanding change, electing a president they deemed fit to expel the stagnation, but ultimately creating an equally stagnant system as the previous one. There are rare exceptions to the rule, but they are exactly that; exceptions.
It Ended With the Same System
Fast Forward to the 2016 election cycle. A wealthy nominee, fairly uneducated about the political system, with a brute mouth who deems him a person of the people is running against the educated politician who has been deemed the core of the current political system. Establishment versus outsiders, the system versus the people, but in reality, Goliath versus Goliath. Both Clinton and Trump speak to the political system. Both are different means to the same end. Morone’s system repeats itself time and time again. With Trump, we are lead down a path that many deem profound in its best like, extreme in its worse. The system will be radicalized, agencies will brought down, walls will be built up, and a new, ‘better’ system will rise out of the corruption the political sphere is drenched in as of now. With Clinton, they established system will be just that; established. Minor tweaks will be made, but the country will be lead down the same path of stagnation that it is on right now.
Can It Change?
Absolutely. But it won’t. What will change is the economy. GDP Historically correlates with Presidency Ratings. It’s slightly complicated to correlate without a graph that combines the data, but when the economy is doing poorly, the president is as well, no matter how hard they try. Some things cannot be tailored in the political process, as recessions are a natural part of the economy. Objectively, the longer you put off of a natural recession, the harder it hits. The Great Depression is a key example of a recession that should have happened a decade prior, right after the First World War. Not-so-ironically, this is also a fairly cyclical process. The economy booms, favorability ratings are high in the Executive and Judicial branch, the economy troughs, people demand change. This gives insight as to why the political system also remains cyclical in accordance to Morone’s “The Democratic Wish”.
If you want change, you’d have to create and implement a completely different form of government, one that doesn’t correlate around the financial situation of people. Political scientists haven’t created one that works pragmatically and in theory. The closest we came to a form of a system that breaks Morone’s cycle is communism, and we saw that depraved experiment. It only seems logical and fit, that I leave on this note. The cycle repeats, but is this such a bad thing? As long as there is no expansion on the stagnation, what is to fear? It’s gotten America this far, and we’re still (arguably) the greatest country in the world. Perhaps the cycle deserves much more praise than it currently gets, which is none at all.