Much has been written about the dysfunction in Washington D.C. Pundits have been wringing their hands for years over the rise of bitter partisan politics and the resulting gridlock. The impact of this--what I have termed profound political disunity--extends beyond the narrow confines of domestic politics, a reality reflected in Foreign Affairs new survey of our winter of political discontent, Dysfunction Junction .
But all these discussions of our dysfunctional politics ignore the larger truth, which is the entire model of the Status Quo is broken. Even if reformers succeeded in ridding the political system of cronyism and favors-for-campaign-contributions--two essentially impossible reforms, given the legalistic cover provided for cronyism and bought and paid for representatives, the basic model of "how the world works" that dominates the world-view of leaders across the political spectrum would remain broken.
There are only three alternatives:
1. The current gridlock continues, and the policies in place grind on with minor tweaks.
2. The Democrats win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reforms.
3. The Republicans win a sweeping victory and are able to unilaterally impose their reform