Friday, January 22, 2016

The Popular Two Lane Theory is Wrong and Hurting Rubio

On Sunday the NFL’s AFC and NFC champions will be decided pitting two teams in each conference against each other. And yet all season, I don’t recall hearing a single comment about there being two lanes to the championship, aided no doubt by the actual existence of four divisions in each conference.

But in politics where just like football the prize inevitably comes to down to two opponents there is no comparative objective marker to guide thought and so we get the two lanes framework. This concept is both ubiquitous and I believe wrong. At the end of October I had the following lanes which I still think is reasonably accurate:

Establishment/Old Guard: Bush, Kasich, Pataki

Young Guns/Reformers: Christie, Fiorina, Jindal, Perry, Rubio, Walker

Social Conservatives/Populists: Huckabee, Santorum

Purists/Reform Radicals: Cruz, Paul

Outsider/Outsiders: Carson, Trump

And as I pointed out at the time, it doesn’t follow from no one emerging from a particular lane that it didn’t exist.

Why care? Because as someone once pointed out, ideas have consequences. In our current race the idea of two lanes has I believe hurt Rubio. The same pundits who point to his being a tea party backed senator who is not very different from Cruz have consigned him to the prison of the ‘establishment lane’.

Rubio isn’t a, my way or nothing, conservative like Cruz, but he is no ‘establishment’ candidate either. That is being lost sight of because the over-simplified two lane concept is needlessly concealing important distinctions. $20M in negative ads directed at him is hurting Rubio. So is the two lane theory of nomination races.

No comments:

Post a Comment