A Word to Democrats About Democratic Principles

Now that you Democrats have got back from Thanksgiving and have finished telling your #MAGA uncle he is a racist-sexist-homophobe, I would like a word before you chaps plunge into full-on impeachment in the House.

The most important political experience in my life was 30 years ago when my Greek friend explained it all to me. The conversation happened about the time that the Greek colonels had decided to return Greece to democracy.

What was needed, my friend said, was for the center-right to win the next election, and for the left to concede the election. Then what was needed was for the left to win the next election, and for the center-right to surrender political power and leave office.

Let us call this sophisticated philosophy “alternation in office.”

I think that alternation in office is the basic principle of peaceful politics. When the other guys win, you and your leaders gracefully concede, say we are all Americans, and energize your followers with “wait until next time.” Otherwise, each side will be arming up to take power by force, or dialing up their LTC interagency pals. And that is not good.

And so, since that time, I voted for Clinton after three GOP terms; for G.W. Bush after two Democratic terms; for Obama after two GOP terms; and for Trump after two Democratic terms. Hey! It means I have voted for a lot of winners! I believe that the one important thing in politics is that the Outs get their turn to be Ins, and don’t start plotting revolution.

Now, Sean Trende, the political analyst, wrote a while back that it is unusual for a party in the U.S. to win more than two presidential elections in a row. Typically, the voters decide after two terms that it is “time for a change.” What a good thing that is! Who knew the voters were so wise?

But obviously our Democratic friends do not understand that. Perhaps it is because they have never read about it in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, etc. Of course, this blindness is understandable in our elected officials. As Joseph Schumpeter wrote, the democratic politician’s expertise is “dealing in votes” and not thinking deep thoughts about separation of powers and alternation in office. Right Nancy?

Thus it was that Hillary Clinton, Democrat, failed to concede the normal change election of 2016. Thus it was that Al Gore, Democrat, failed to concede the normal change election of 2000. Thus it was that nobody had the chops to tell the deep state to knock it off and wait for Nixon to leave office; or wait for the ageing Reagan to leave office without Iran-Contra-ing him.

I do not say these people are evil; I say that they are fools and knaves. But just imagine if there was a political columnist with half a brain at the New York Times, and he wrote an “Alternation in Office” piece every four years saying that, even though Republicans were all far-right racist-sexist-homophobes, still, all evolved educated people -- the kind that read the New York Times -- knew the importance of conceding elections, especially when their party had just finished up two terms in power. Or imagine that political-science professors at the university educated good little girls about alternation in office, so that when they ended up writing conventional wisdom at the NYT they would be writing about alternation in office instead of diversity and safe spaces.

If you want to understand why our Democratic friends could be so wrong, a good place to start is Curtis Yarvin (lately Mencius Moldbug) and his five-part effusion on “The Clear Pill” over at American Mind. He argues that our liberal gentry -- bless its heart -- is just responding to the seductive “anthems” composed by the ruling class “that appeal to the liberal gentry’s natural ambition, honor, and vanity.”

What can compare to the ambition of “fundamentally transforming” America from its shameful past of slavery and oppression? And what honor can compare to the knightly quest for the Holy Grail that will save the planet from climate change? Or the vanity of driving around in a hybrid Prius?

We need some liberal notable to write that there is nothing more honorable than conceding elections, so that all the Times-reading liberal gentry would start teaching their #MAGA uncles that the culture of alternation in office was what distinguished the gentry from the commoners.

Somewhere, somehow, some liberal Sacrificial Hero might be ready to teach the left about alternation in office. But I think it more likely it will take a string of Republican presidents before a new Clinton will appear as a New Democrat.

Abandon your impeachment folly, Democrats, before it is too late.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.

Now that you Democrats have got back from Thanksgiving and have finished telling your #MAGA uncle he is a racist-sexist-homophobe, I would like a word before you chaps plunge into full-on impeachment in the House.

The most important political experience in my life was 30 years ago when my Greek friend explained it all to me. The conversation happened about the time that the Greek colonels had decided to return Greece to democracy.

What was needed, my friend said, was for the center-right to win the next election, and for the left to concede the election. Then what was needed was for the left to win the next election, and for the center-right to surrender political power and leave office.

Let us call this sophisticated philosophy “alternation in office.”

I think that alternation in office is the basic principle of peaceful politics. When the other guys win, you and your leaders gracefully concede, say we are all Americans, and energize your followers with “wait until next time.” Otherwise, each side will be arming up to take power by force, or dialing up their LTC interagency pals. And that is not good.

And so, since that time, I voted for Clinton after three GOP terms; for G.W. Bush after two Democratic terms; for Obama after two GOP terms; and for Trump after two Democratic terms. Hey! It means I have voted for a lot of winners! I believe that the one important thing in politics is that the Outs get their turn to be Ins, and don’t start plotting revolution.

Now, Sean Trende, the political analyst, wrote a while back that it is unusual for a party in the U.S. to win more than two presidential elections in a row. Typically, the voters decide after two terms that it is “time for a change.” What a good thing that is! Who knew the voters were so wise?

But obviously our Democratic friends do not understand that. Perhaps it is because they have never read about it in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, etc. Of course, this blindness is understandable in our elected officials. As Joseph Schumpeter wrote, the democratic politician’s expertise is “dealing in votes” and not thinking deep thoughts about separation of powers and alternation in office. Right Nancy?

Thus it was that Hillary Clinton, Democrat, failed to concede the normal change election of 2016. Thus it was that Al Gore, Democrat, failed to concede the normal change election of 2000. Thus it was that nobody had the chops to tell the deep state to knock it off and wait for Nixon to leave office; or wait for the ageing Reagan to leave office without Iran-Contra-ing him.

I do not say these people are evil; I say that they are fools and knaves. But just imagine if there was a political columnist with half a brain at the New York Times, and he wrote an “Alternation in Office” piece every four years saying that, even though Republicans were all far-right racist-sexist-homophobes, still, all evolved educated people -- the kind that read the New York Times -- knew the importance of conceding elections, especially when their party had just finished up two terms in power. Or imagine that political-science professors at the university educated good little girls about alternation in office, so that when they ended up writing conventional wisdom at the NYT they would be writing about alternation in office instead of diversity and safe spaces.

If you want to understand why our Democratic friends could be so wrong, a good place to start is Curtis Yarvin (lately Mencius Moldbug) and his five-part effusion on “The Clear Pill” over at American Mind. He argues that our liberal gentry -- bless its heart -- is just responding to the seductive “anthems” composed by the ruling class “that appeal to the liberal gentry’s natural ambition, honor, and vanity.”

What can compare to the ambition of “fundamentally transforming” America from its shameful past of slavery and oppression? And what honor can compare to the knightly quest for the Holy Grail that will save the planet from climate change? Or the vanity of driving around in a hybrid Prius?

We need some liberal notable to write that there is nothing more honorable than conceding elections, so that all the Times-reading liberal gentry would start teaching their #MAGA uncles that the culture of alternation in office was what distinguished the gentry from the commoners.

Somewhere, somehow, some liberal Sacrificial Hero might be ready to teach the left about alternation in office. But I think it more likely it will take a string of Republican presidents before a new Clinton will appear as a New Democrat.

Abandon your impeachment folly, Democrats, before it is too late.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also get his American Manifesto and his Road to the Middle Class.