Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Sarah Palin? Why Ted Cruz?: “Nationalists” and “Federalists"

By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill, 2/27/13

Demographics are destiny. Nothing else makes history. When the changes ahead are shipped into denial is when chaos and disaster ensue. And the potential disasters America faces today do not come from global warming, nuclear weapons, the Russians, the hippies or the red necks. They come from the economic division of America between the red states, which are rising in capital and prosperity, and the left and right coasts which are receding in economic power. Demographer Joel Kotkin well outlines the transition in a Wall Street Journal essay yesterday title, “America’s Red State Growth Corridors.” 

“In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, some political commentators have written political obituaries of the ‘red’ or conservative-leaning states, envisioning a brave new world dominated by fashionably blue bastions in the Northeast or California,” he writes. “But political fortunes are notoriously fickle, while economic trends tend to be more enduring. . . These trends point to a U.S. economic future dominated by four growth corridors that are generally less dense, more affordable, and markedly more conservative and pro-business: the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, the Third Coast (spanning the Gulf states from Texas to Florida), and the Southeastern industrial belt.”

Historically, these regions were little more than resource colonies or low-wage labor sites for richer, more technically advanced areas, says Kotkin. By promoting policies that encourage enterprise and spark economic growth, they're catching up.

The “corridor states took 11 of the top 15 spots in Chief Executive magazine's 2012 review of best state business climates. California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts were at the bottom. The states of the old Confederacy boast 10 of the top 12 places for locating new plants, according to a recent 2012 study by Site Selection magazine.”

I’m sure it will all go well, but many of these heartland states – from the Atlantic coast across Texas to the western edge of Utah – were brought into the federation by military conquest. Now the conquering states call on the supplicants for a bailout. So how’s that going to work out?

For several years I’ve been making this same claim here, citing economists like Niall Ferguson and the legendary investor Jim Rogers, saying the economic shift in the world since 2007 would bring uneven regional prospects in America. My claim is that a new Jacksonian era will result: When the common folk in the heartland rise in prosperity they will demand a more equitable economic and tax situation and a greater say in the messaging. And if America is to address and contain these critical economic issues, only a new Jacksonian figure – an indigenous folk hero loved in the heartland - can commandeer them. She, like Jackson, would be identified by the contempt she brings from the Eastern establishment’s salons and Hollywood, which still demands a say when the economic paradigm they speak for has shifted. Panic ensues. Systems degenerate. Seasoned writers become hacks. Artists become propagandists. Traditional “right” and “left” political distinctions become irrelevant. A new division occurs between “nationalists” and “federalists.”

“His passions are terrible,” said Jefferson. “I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President. He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place . . . He is a dangerous man.”

Sounds almost as if they were talking about Sarah Palin. Or Ted Cruz. The only two in the sleepy head lineup of CPAC 2013 nostalgicos who will bring the audience to its feet.

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