Photo credit: capitalistpreservation.blogspot.com
What is a Cartel Party?
A recent article by Peter Oborne from the UK Telegraph is titled “Europe is slowly strangling the life out of national democracy,” with the subtitle “Decisions affecting the lives of voters are being taken by bureaucrats and unelected 'experts'.” But substitute “The U.S. Government” for “Europe” and his report will sound painfully familiar [emphasis added].
A 20-page article in an obscure academic journal. . . written by the political scientists Richard Katz and Peter Mair, and called “The Emergence of a Cartel Party” . . . immediately explained almost everything that had perplexed me as a lobby correspondent: the unhealthy similarity between supposedly rival parties; the corruption and graft that has become endemic in modern politics; the emergence of a political elite filled with scorn and hostility towards ordinary voters. [The late Peter Mair’s book] Ruling the Void: The Hollowing of Western Democracy, . . . is every bit as brilliant as the earlier essay.
The opening paragraph is bold, powerful, and sets out the thesis beautifully: “The age of party democracy has passed. Although the parties themselves remain, they have become so disconnected from the wider society, and pursue a form of competition that is so lacking in meaning.
. . . Political leaders no longer represent ordinary people, but are becoming, in effect, emissaries from central government.
. . . On virtually everything that matters, from the economy to immigration, decisions are made elsewhere. . . . This means that decisions which viscerally affect the lives of voters are now taken by anonymous, unaccountable bureaucrats rather than politicians responsible to their voters.
Progressive members in both parties in Congress fit the description of the Cartel party, to repeat:
The Emergence of a Cartel Party . . . explain[s] . . . the unhealthy similarity between supposedly rival parties; the corruption and graft that has become endemic in modern politics; the emergence of a political elite filled with scorn and hostility towards ordinary voters.