Riling Up The ‘Shrewd, Wild Boys’

… No one is happy with contemporary politics, but this should not fuel nostalgic fantasies of cleaner leaders or wiser voters. During the peak of American campaign excitement, in the second half of the nineteenth century, our democracy was louder, meaner and merrier than it has ever been since. …

Democrats, Republicans, Whigs, Anti-Masons, Know Nothings and Populists had different visions for government, but they played the same game. This is mostly true today, too. For all their ideological disputes, a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican share more in common with each other than they do with a blasé non-voter. [cont.]

Jon Grinspan, U. of Virginia (NYT)