Reform Election, And We Mean It This Time!

I’ve lost track of how many reform/change/throw-the-bastards-out (RCT) elections this last one makes. It would be one thing if this were just anti-incumbent rhetoric (what else can a rookie promise but someone new?) but the promise is usually much more grandiose. Part of this is just the American preference that political rhetoric have an inflated style, but there is also what seems to be a perpetual desire to change “business as usual” In RCT. What does this amount to? Three recurrent themes are limiting government overreach and limiting the influence of corporations and special interest lobbies. But “government overreach” exists relative to (a difficult and always unspoken) set of opinions about what justice demands, dependence of government on large moneyed interests is structural to any national, vote-based system, and there is nothing to being a “special interest” beyond being an interest we are not aligned with. The cries of RCT probably can’t be satisfied since what they hate is either a protest of injustice whose basis is unspoken and unexamined, a structural feature of the very system that voting demands or the literal special pleading of complaints about “special interests”. All this makes for good television, but one wonders how long human beings will be convinced that it will really be different this time.

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