Far from being a return to the “normalcy” that so many in the chattering classes were anticipating, the past year since the departure of Trump from the White House has seen further decay of the political which that presidency threatened. The factors facilitating this trend are multifaceted.
The first factor, of course, was the figurehead chosen to fill the Presidency. After some squabbling among the major rivals, the Democratic Party establishment ultimately settled on a senile old guard politician who had not shown himself capable of putting two coherent sentences together when he gets off the teleprompter. Thus, he lacks initiative of his own; he is hollow inside and is filled with the contents of his environment. He operates under the directions of subordinates whose faces are rarely if ever shown to the public, the same ones that his predecessor constantly fought with. Though he acts under their direction, he necessarily does so in a clumsy manner.
Another issue is the rigidity of the political class, demanded by its ideology and sense of moral superiority. The savvy flexibility of, for example, the Clinton administration has departed from Washington. The state is now not only particular about what it will do, but how and when to do it, regardless of how that plays out according to the facts of the moment. Of course, Biden issued a flurry of executive orders upon taking office for seemingly no other purpose than undoing the policies of his predecessor, but most notable was his ham-fisted actions to open up the border. Of course, a showdown on immigration was inevitable, but to go into the fray so early and make such a mess on the border deeply harmed his political standing, and in some cases got him on the wrong side of the courts. However, he had no choice. His handlers regarded Trump’s immigration policies to be such an abomination morally that they couldn’t be let alone for one day after he left office. They couldn’t help themselves. This is their great weakness – once one sees the patterns, their behavior is entirely predictable. They simply cannot help themselves.
Ultimately, with an inability to adapt to the objective realities of the political lands comes an inability to read, and hence to influence, public opinion. We observe this in both political candidates and media outlets continuing to press forward in matters that are sinking them politically. It’s a bit of a puzzle as to whether they have really misread public opinion so badly or they just don’t care about it. The sense seems to be that their moral rightness assures their political success. The old Christian Right of the 1980’s and 1990’s could have told them how well that worked out.
It goes to show, then, that what promised to be a time of normalcy has in fact become a time of great weirdness. Statements and policies put out are not merely wrong, they make no sense if taken at face value. It shows a genuine political weakness, which is a hopeful sign where people of this mentality are concerned. Unfortunately, it also shown a widespread systemic insanity.