Daily Archives: 12 May 2016

The Pros and Cons of Being in a Political Party

Donald Trump Give Nothing to His Political PartyPolitical scientists Boris Heersink and Jeffery Jenkins wrote what I think is an incredibly insightful article over at The Monkey Cage, GOP Voters Picked Trump. Party Leaders Aren’t Falling in Line. Here’s Why That’s Surprising. The basis of the article is what politicians gain by joining a political party and what they give up.

They note that there has been a great deal of research done on what being in a political party provides. The biggest thing is that parties help individual politicians win — elections as well as battles over law making. They also note that relatively little research has been done on what they give up in joining a political party. That may be because it’s kind of obvious: they give up their independence.

Give a Little and Get a Little

Now I understand, none of this is shocking. Everyone has been a member of a group. And you know that you give a little and you get a little. This is, by the way, why I’m against the Bernie or Bust movement. While it’s true that Hillary isn’t my perfect candidate, neither is Bernie. If I wanted perfection, I would write in myself for every elected office in every election ever.

The problem that Heersink and Jenkins highlight is that Donald Trump hasn’t given anything to the party. He is entirely himself without making any compromises to the party. Thus, why should the party offer him all the good things that come with being in the party when he hasn’t and likely won’t reciprocate. I’m very much with John Dean: Donald Trump is a classic authoritarian leader. He’s also a narcissist. It’s all about him. I’m sure that a 1% chance of his becoming president more than offsets a 99% chance that he will destroy the political party he is nominally attached to.

Cruz Is Even More Disloyal to His Political Party

Ted Cruz Give Nothing to His Political PartyBut what goes unmentioned in the article is Ted Cruz. And I think he is an even better example of this. That’s because Trump has used the Republican presidential nomination for his own purposes, but he hasn’t really used the party otherwise. He might have been able to do this well as an independent. Ted Cruz on the other hand, has used the Republican Party to win at the state level and then at the national level. But he has been the very definition of disloyal. He’s been one of the Democrats’ most potent weapons since he entered the Senate.

The conclusion of the Heersink and Jenkins article is that by Republican elites not going along with what their voters clearly want, “The result could be a complete fracturing of the party.” But I think that the fracture appeared a long time ago when candidates like Ted Cruz started getting elected. If you look at the primary so far, over 70% of all Republican votes have been for Cruz or Trump — candidates who take and do not give to the party. The base doesn’t care about the party. The base has been trained by the party itself to think that the base should get everything it wants and should never have to compromise about anything.

And I can’t blame them. Since at least Bill Clinton, the Republicans have not argued that the Democrats, as a political party, are wrong about policy, but that they are foreign interlopers bent on destroying the nation. The Republican Party is already fractured. The question is whether it will be destroyed.

The New Look of Frankly Curious

Frank MoraesI know what you’re all thinking, “I don’t like this new website look!” But trust me, you’ll get used to it. This is hardly the first time that the website has changed. And every time it changes, people don’t like it at first and then they can’t even remember what it was like before.

But there are a number of good things about this new design. The first, and most obvious, is the new header. I always liked the Lego Don Quixote, but it did have it’s problems. The biggest is that the windmill was there. And as a lover of Don Quixote, it’s a bit embarrassing to have the cliche up — especially given that it happens early in the first book. What’s more, there was no Sancho Panza, and he is as important to the book as Don Quixote.

A smaller problem was that more and more I thought it made the website look like something aimed at 7-year-olds. Now given that in many ways, I still am a 7-year-old, there is something to be said for that. But I am more serious most of the time. The 7-year-old is more the spice — not the meat. And the artwork by Andrea English is great.

The most notable thing about this new theme is the slider thingy that currently scrolls through the six most recent articles. I like that quite a lot. Eventually it may drive me crazy. But I like it now. And the cool thing about it is that I can change it so that it shows random articles. I’m thinking of doing something like Random Mondays or something. I haven’t tried it out so I don’t know how well it will work. But with 7,000+ articles to choose from, it should be interesting.

A Brief History of the Website’s Look

Anyway, I thought I would share with you the way that the website used to look. All the designs were done by Andrea. The first one was the most brilliant. It was based on René Magritte’s self-portrait, Clairvoyance. It combines many of my other interests like the Indian Rope Trick, Christopher Marlowe, puppets, Madame Tutli-Putli. There’s other stuff.

Frankly Curious Website 2010

To be honest, I could have lived with that header forever. The problem with it is that it is so high. I don’t like to hide the content. So after two years, we changed it. Andrea came up with the following design. But it did not last long.

Frankly Curious Website 2012

I get the idea of it: the different interests that the website is supposed to reflect. But that head still just creeps me out. But you can see that the sidebar has become more sophisticated. So this design only stuck around for a year, then we got what you all are very familiar with:

Frankly Curious Website 2013

That was three years ago! And it hadn’t changed much. When we moved from the Nucleus CMS to WordPress, the designed opened up. But otherwise, it was pretty much the same. And what we have now is structurally very similar. The changes are really all cosmetic.

The only thing I wonder about is whether it isn’t all just too much blue. I’m curious what you all think. Feel free to complain. I doubt I’ll change anything, but it might make you feel better!