Tom Friedman Rides Again

Tom Friedman

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember seeing all that much of Tom Friedman recently. Maybe that’s due to his record of eccentricity and error. (With possibly unintended humor, his Wickipedia article says, “He has been criticized for his staunch advocacy of the Iraq War and unregulated trade, his early support of Saudi Royal Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as his use of graphs that lack properly defined terms.” One wonders whether his past also include such transgressions as advocating the annihilation of Transylvania and appearing in public with his left shoelace untied.)

All that said, I commend to your attention yesterday’s op-end, titled Is America Becoming a Four-Party State? Fractures are growing among both Democrats and Republicans. Typically, it’s well written, contains much insight, but is a little bit fuzzy and confused.

In Friedman’s reasonably apt terminology, the emerging four parties are limited-government-grow-the-pie Republicans; hoard-the-pie, pull-up-the-drawbridge Republicans; grow-the-pie Democrats; and redivide-the-pie Democrats.

I am not sure whether Friedman is predicting that each of these four parties will run a presidential candidate in 2020, though he might be read that way.

I am not sure whether he is advocating that “grow-the-pie” Republicans and Democrats ought to work together to defeat the “two extremes,” though perhaps he could be read that way, too. If so, his thinking is roughly in line with my prediction of many months ago that we may be turning into a three-party system. (Though my views on an emerging three-party system were intended to be objective, not normative.)

In any event, I think the Friedman piece is worth your while.

Aardvark’s Animadversion

There are many who fear that the “grow-the-pie Democrats” and the “redivide-the-pie Democrats” will be at each other’s throats in 2020, leading to another rightwing victory. There are many who fervently hope for such a development.

Possibly, that might happen if, one way or another, Trump exits the scene before the 2020 election. Because that would change the calculus of risk and opportunity dramatically—for all parts of the political spectrum.

But mark my words. If Trump is still around, the Democrats are going to want to win, win, win. They will cast their primary votes with their heads, not their hearts. And they will go out of their way to avoid another corrosive internal fight.