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“SCANDALIZATION” IN AMERICAN POLITICS (PART ONE)

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"SCANDALIZATION"  IN  AMERICAN  POLITICS  (PART ONE)

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DIMENSIONS OF POLITICS                                 DIMENSIONS OF POSTS

Sectors: All                                                            Importance: *****

Level: National                                                      Scope: USA only

Period: Short run                                                  Process: Power politics

MAIN TOPIC:  EXECUTIVE                                    Treatment: Commentary

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OVERVIEW

HISTORY  1

1730s-1930s:  Remote parallels  1.1

1930s-1980s:  Postwar paradigms   1.2

1990s-2010s:  Immediate precursors   1.3

DYNAMICS  2

Dramatic story   2.1

Driving forces   2.2

Temporal tactics   2.3

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OVERVIEW

During his first term, Obama succeeded in deflecting Republican attempts to turn minor policy mishaps into major political scandals. At the beginning of his second term, suddenly three policy mishaps came to light, providing Republicans with new opportunities to define problems as scandals. The main political question Democrats now face is whether Republicans will succeed at persuading the public that these three mishaps are not just three small, independent, and different policy problems that happened to arise at the same time, but instead constitute one big scandal that manifests the defects of Obama’s often lofty style of governance in particular and the dangers of Big Government liberalism in general. There is some plausibility to both the “unrelated incidents” and “systemic problem” narratives. In the runup to the 2014 elections, Republicans will try to make power scandals the main focus of politics, Democrats will try to return the focus to policymaking. 

These new developments show much about how politics in Washington work these days. Journalistic commentary on these rapidly unfolding events has been particularly astute. Accordingly this Blog will devote some attention to these developments. This Overview briefly introduces the notion of “scandalization” as a strategy of power struggle in current American politics, then briefly introduces the three policy mishaps that Republicans are currently trying to “scandalize.” The first half of the Post then sketches some HISTORY of the role of scandals in American politics. The second half then sketches the general DYNAMICS of recent attempts at scandalization. A later Post will go more deeply into the details of the three current problems. (In the meantime, see particularly the mid-May commentaries in theNew York Times and the Washington Post – and on Politico, National Journal, and The Hill – particularly around 14-15-16 May.)

Scandalization

Suddenly in mid-May the Obama administration entered a critical new phase: The phase in which political opponents attempt to move beyond particular POLICY CONFLICTS over the details of particular issues to a general POWER STRUGGLE over the general trustworthiness of the incumbent president. Regardless of whether this current attempt succeeds or not, the attempt itself constitutes a major development in current American politics (short run), including not only currentv attempts by the Obama administration to pass new policies through congress, but also the contests for power in the 2014 and 2016 elections. Moreover, such attempts to create scandals have become a recurring event in American politics in recent decades, raising the question whether they are a distinctive feature of America’s current political “regime” of mature Populist Technocracy (mid run). So, quite apart from Obama’s particular current situation, it is very much worth asking why, in the context of overall American Political Development (long run), “scandalization” has become increasingly important. At stake not only are current political prospects of the two main parties, but also such fundamental long run matters as respect for election outcomes and governance processes, and even respect for basic institutions and the system itself. 

SCANDALIZATION is a political strategy that pulls together struggles over particular policies into one overall political story intended to weaken a president’s POWER, and therefore his ability to advance his POLICY agenda. Something bad happens (or can be made to appear to have happened) that opponents blame on administration mistakes or misconduct. Opponents allege that the administration is “covering up” the original misdeed. Opponents then blame the president himself and try to hold him accountable. Regardless of whether or not there actually is much truth to the allegations, such political theater distracts attention from practical policy-making and prevents the president from achieving concrete policy results. More generally, such political drama weakens the president and his political allies: within the political elite, in the eyes of the mass public, and in the view of foreign powers. Most general, scandalization weakens representative democracy itself:  “voters are increasingly alienated, the government's effectiveness is weakened, and the democratic process is threatened.” (The quote is from the pioneering political science analysis of the shift of American politics from electoral competition toward “institutional combat,” the latter conspicuously involving what I am calling “scandalization.” See Benjamin Ginsberg and Martin Shefter 2002. Politics by other means: The declining importance of elections in America, 3rd edition. New York NY: Norton, 272 pages. Original edition 1990.)

Three alleged scandals

Concretely, the current attempt at “scandalization” involves the following three mishaps.

BENGHAZI was the earliest alleged scandal, involving the 11 September 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Libya that killed four American diplomats. Here the underlying policy question ought to be whether the Obama administration had provided the consulate with adequate security. Instead scandalization has focused on whether the administration deliberately misreported what happened. Evidently what the White House did was to try to mediate between the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency, which preferred different accounts ofthe attack. It may turn out that, regardless of how dramatically Republicans (mis)characterize these events, “Benghazi” in itself will not develop into a major scandal. The issue has been around since last Fall and still has not caught fire. Even so, Benghazi remains an important element in the current Republican effort at scandalization, since allegedly it provides an additional specific example of a general presidential malfeasance.

The alleged  JOD/AP scandal is the second component of current scandalization, this component added only recently. The Department of Justice was investigating which government official leaked government secrets about a government anti-terrorist effort in Yemen, leaks that revealed the identity of an American double-agent. Investigating this, the Department secretly obtained probably too-extensive records of telephone conversations by reporters of the Associated Press, perhaps violating their constitutional right to a free press. On the one hand, this incident touches on a basic American value: freedom of the press and the freedom of reporters not to be spied on by the government without real reason and proper procedures. On the other hand, in the end, most Americans probably will accept that the government was simply trying to protect Americans against terrorists. Thus this scandal too may eventually go away. Nevertheless, meanwhile it raises legitimate issues, even in the minds of many Democrats  – and certainly in the minds of reporters!  

The IRS/TP alleged scandal is the third component, also a new one. Current law permits groups raising funds for “social welfare” purposes to apply to the Internal Revenue Service for tax exempt status, which allows such groups to not report the names of the persons who contribute money to them. However, in order to grant such status, the IRS must decide that the funds will not be used for political purposes. In some cases that is difficult to determine. Recently this difficulty has been aggravated by the large number of what are actually “political action committees” applying for tax-exempt status, not for tax advantages, but in order to conceal their donors. Overwhelmed by a rising number of such applications, the unit of the IRS that processes such applications used the label “Tea Party” as a shortcut to identify groups likely to be politically active. Unfortunately, most of the groups applying for that status were conservative, so most of the groups investigated were conservative. That has led conservative groups to charge that the liberal Obama administration was using the IRS to combat them.

History and dynamics

The first half of this Post sketches the HISTORY of scandalization in American politics, to put the current attempt into perspective. A main theme is that, although scandalization has always been a strategy, two elements make scandalization particularly central to current American politics. First, the post-1930  “regime” of Populist Technocracy involves much MEDIATION, meaning that the mass media are central and that struggle to control of the “narrative” presented by the mass media is a central element of politics. Second, post-1990 POLARIZATION has intensified partisan struggle and fragmented the media itself. The centrality of the media in Populist Technocracy makes it particularly unfortunate for the Obama administration that one of the current scandals involves possible administration infringement of the constitutional rights of news reporters. 

The second half of the Post notes some of the main DYNAMICS of scandalization that current commentary identifies. The main dynamic is a Dramatic Story that ties particular policy mishaps to some general failure of presidential leadership or political philosophy. To succeed, opposition attempts at scandalization require several Driving Forces: above all, administration actions that are deliberately partisan and potentially unconstitutional. Here it is unfortunate for Obama that both the IRS and the JOD are particularly sensitive agencies. Misuse of them would be unconstitutional and would be greeted by widespread outrage. Finally, to the degree that scandalization succeeds, it has Political Consequences: negative and positive, short and long term. In the short run, scandalization may weaken governance and destroy administrations. In the long run, scandalization CAN result in positive reforms that make the system work better.     

Readers not interested in the past role of scandalization in American politics may wish to skip the section on HISTORY and go directly to the section on DYNAMICS.

HISTORY   1

We should begin by noting that current resort to scandalization does not represent some deplorable decline from an original golden age of partisan civility among the American Founders. They too had scandals. However, the point is not that political leaders have always had foibles. For political analysis, a compendium of scandals in American political history that focuses largely on personal foibles is not very useful. (See Michael Farquhar 2003 A treasury of great American scandals: Tantalizing true tales of historic misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and others who let freedom swing. New York NY: Penguin Books, 336 pages.)

Nor is the point simply that political opponents have always tried to use leaders’ foibles against them, another obvious truism. Instead, political analysis of scandalization should start from its specific function in the specific political regime within which it occurs. Accordingly we begin with a review of the possibly different roles of scandalization in America’s successively different political regimes:  Elite Republic, Mass Democracy, and Populist Technocracy. (On these regimes, please see the previous three Posts: 130504, 130511, and 130518.)

1730-1930:  Remote parallels   1.1

Both the early Elite Republic (1790s) and the early transition from Elite Republic to Mass Democracy (1820s) involved epic scandalization, arguably because the rules of struggle between rival parties were still emerging.

In the early Republic, the Founders themselves ended up deeply distrusting each other over divergent interpretations of the regime they had established and over corrosive suspicions of treacherous conspiracies with foreign powers. The 1800 election was one of the most bitterly fought in American history, a sort of bookend counterpart of deep distrust to the 2000 election. The transition from Elite Republic to Mass Democracy was exactly that: the displacement of ostensibly genteel forms of politicking by no-holds-barred barroom brawls between egalitarian frontiersmen. And women: the opponents of Andrew Jackson “scandalized” his relationship with his wife. (Also: “Andrew Jackson accused John Quincy Adams of aspiring to kingship; Adams's followers in turn called Jackson a murderer.” From the blurb for Farqhuar 2003.) 

The dynamics of “normative” politics during the next hundred years deserves more thorough analysis than this Post can undertake. Probably it would be wrong to suggest that things simply settled down. After all, at midcentury political opponents similarly savaged even Abraham Lincoln and his wife. But perhaps that was because he was such a towering figure. Also, that occurred during a mid-century interlude of politics of high principle, over abolition and union. Arguably most of the rest of the 1800s were so awash in the petty corruption of the new mass party politics that “scandalization” became difficult: outrage at specific incidents might well be greeted with a shrug of indifference: what else is new?

“Good government” Progressivism was an effort to reassert some moral standards. Concurrently, American politics was recurrently wracked by movements to extirpate one or another moral evil. But as Keller 2007 argues, by the 1920s things had settled back down to relatively amoral partyist “normalcy.” Mass Democracy was based on mass parties, which distributed “spoils,” so normalcy meant endemic corruption. As a Roosevelt daughter acidly remarked during the famous political scandals of the 1920s (Teapot Dome), scandal-ridden president Warren Harding was not an evil man, he was “just a slob.” Really effective scandalization requires not just stupidity and cupidity (economic violations), but also deep moral turpitude (identity violations) and ideally also a touch of high treason (security violations).

1930s-1980s:  Postwar paradigms  1.2

The construction of the new regime of Populist Technocracy raised the stakes and feasibility of scandalization. All governance was now supposed to be “in the public interest.” The mass media, which thrive on scandal, became increasingly central. Candidacies relied less and less on party organization and more and more on the personal qualities of candidates. During the Depression, collective confrontation with economic challenge and the depolarization of party politics may have damped scandalization. (MAY have: One should review what opponents said about Franklin Roosevelt and HIS wife.) In the early post-war period, arguably the external threats of the Cold War discouraged all-out resort to scandal as a weapon of domestic partisan warfare. (McCarthyism was a right-populist attempt to “scandalize” politics, but as much against eastern-elitist centrist Republicans as against leftist Democrats.) As Populist Technocracy became increasingly prosperous internally and increasingly secure externally, the latitude for scandalization increased.

Since then, which parties have been able to use “scandalization” against which presidents has been affected by which party has usually held the presidency. In the postwar period there have been more Republican presidents than Democrat presidents so, in those terms, a greater probability of Republican scandals.  However, the likelihood of scandal is even more affected by which presidents have succeeded at reelection to a second term. Under Populist Technocracy, American government became a big complicated bureaucracy that, soon or later, is bound to make stupid mistakes. The longer a president remains in power, the more likely that such mistakes will occur “on his watch.” About the same number of Republican and Democratic presidents have achieved a second term (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama). All second term presidents have had scandals.

The paradigmatic postwar example of scandalization was a Democratic attack on real Republican presidential misdeeds: The 1973  “Watergate” scandal in which  Republican president NIXON spied on his Democratic opponents, covered up his involvement and, as a result, eventually had to resign the presidency. (Recalling that, subsequent attempts at scandalization have often been labeled “gates.”) This was the first such resignation  in American history, which may have as much to do with the new nature of Populist Technocracy as with the gravity of Nixon’s unconstitutional behavior. Nixon made up a list of hist political enemies and tried to use the IRS against them, with the collusion of his Justice Department. Resulting reforms made the IRS and Justice more independent and forbad the president to interfere in them. Those reforms made it more difficult for the president to follow developments in those agencies and, when problems emerge, made it improper for the president to intervene to manage them. Those reforms make it more difficult to combat current scandalization, but also largely absolve president Obama of blame for whatever happened, both in the alleged scandals and in subsequent investigations of them.

The next major postwar example of scandalization was also Republican: “Iran-contra.”  Strongly anti-communist Republican president REAGAN used funds from secret weapons sales to Iran to fund warfare against leftist “contra” guerillas in Central America. That circumvented a Democratic congressional ban on such funding. Again the offense was real and constitutionally fundamental.

(For a jaundiced view of scandalization at the time, see a contemporaneous book by the journalist wife of one of Nixon’s lawyers:  Suzanne Garment 1991 Scandal: The culture of mistrust in American politics. New York NY: Crown, 375 pages. She deplores “the post-Watergate political culture's obsession with personal scandal and of the paralyzing effect of this tendency on government.” She “views the media, zealous investigative groups, and political opposition groups” as operating together as a ``scandal machine'' that deters capable citizens from serving in government, creates cynicism and a ``culture of mistrust,'' and consumes considerable expense and energy.” Relatively minor matters become “the subject of scandal only because of increased exposure, enhanced ethical standards, and changed rules.” The scandal culture has made it ``easy to make a highly visible scandal out of even the most grotesque charges.'' Americans should regard behavior as scandalous only when it genuinely constitutes “an abuse of the public trust.'')

1990s-2010s:  Immediate precursors   1.3

After that, the next major postwar effort at scandalization was Republican attack on the first Democratic president in a long time to win a second term, Bill CLINTON. During his first term, Republicans tried determinedly to scandalize Whitewater, some property dealings by the Clintons. That effort at scandalization largely failed,, perhaps because the stakes were merely material and relatively minor. Meanwhile, again without much success, Republicans also tried to scandalize Clinton’s past sexual improprieties (personified in Paula Jones). During Clinton’s second term, Republicans finally succeeded in thoroughly scandalizing his minor sexual dalliance while literally “in office” (with Monika Lewinsky). The political agenda became dominated by “special prosecutors” and their latest allegations.

Nevertheless, ultimately, scandalization as a political strategy may still have failed. Clinton remained in office and even accomplished much policy legislation (even in collaboration with his ostensible Republican congressional arch-enemy, Newt Gingrich). Part of the explanation for Clinton’s political survival may be that scandalization started even before his first term so, from the beginning, Clinton dedicated part of his White House legal office to making quick and effective responses to any hints of new scandals, thereby achieving good coordination between legal and political strategy.       

In the 19990s, special prosecutors were “special” in that they were supposedly impartial experts operating largely outside normal constitutional channels without normal congressional or judicial supervision: Notionally a sort of temporary normative equivalent of the permanent monetary Federal Reserve.  Actually special prosecutors became somewhat deranged partisan witch-hunts unscrupulously appealing to populist sentiment, arguably a characteristically Populist Technocratic failing. For its own preservation, the regime had the sense to discontinue using the office of special prosecutor. That remains relevant today. An automatic reflex to the alleged Obama scandals is to call for special prosecutors to investigate them. Howeever, most sensible people are reluctant to go down that route again.

In the 2000s, during the BUSH administration, arguably Republican mobilization of the country for foreign War on Terror prevented full-blown domestic scandalization. Besides, born-again-Christian Bush provided an unlikely target for personal scandalization. That raises interesting issues. The most illegitimate presidential election in American history, the worst and most costly  blunder in the history of American foreign policy, and the worst financial scandals with the highest economic cost in modern American history – none of these proved susceptible to scandalization.  Evidently scandalization has to be as much about personal failings as about governing philosophy. The worst that Democrats could say about Bush personally was that evidently he was not too bright –  evidently not, in presidents, regarded as scandalous. Nevertheless, there remains a legacy: Republicans now insist that Democrats unfairly “scandalized” Bush, and they want revenge on Obama.            

DYNAMICS   <2>

Scandalization involves several dynamics: A DRAMATIC STORY, DRIVING FORCES, and POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES

Dramatic story  2.1

To repeat, “scandalization” is a political strategy that pulls together particular struggles – particular policy disagreements and particular assaults on a president’s character – into one overall POLITICAL DRAMA. Given the history recounted above, the acts and themes in this drama are by now familiar. Something bad happens. Opponents then construe that misfortune as the result of misconduct by someone in the current administration: Could the bad outcome have been prevented? Was it deliberate? The methods and motives of this alleged misconduct are then attributed to the president himself. The alleged misconduct is then alleged to include a “coverup” of the original misconduct. Opponents then link both the alleged mishap and alleged coverup, if not to direct  intervention by the president himself, then to the opponents’ account of defects in the president’s characteristic goals and style. Congressional opponents then launch “investigations” of these alleged misdeeds. Investigators demand unlimited amounts of testimony and evidence from alleged participants in the alleged scandals. When those unlimited demands cannot be met, opponents allege obstruction and further coverup. Opponents begin demanding that congress impeach the president (formally investigate whether he did anything wrong, possibly leading to removing him from office).

By 2013, this drama has recurred enough times in the past several decades that everyone knows the plot. The result is that as soon as the media report that opponents are trying to stage the first scene of the first act, everyone flashes forward through the whole rest of the story. The entire DRAMA unfolds in people’s imagination, from beginning to end. The media reminds everyone of possible later scenes and acts. Faster and faster “news cycles” speed up this processes of recollection. Thus it is not necessary for opponents actually to succeed in staging more than the first scene or two of the drama for “scandalization” to have much of its intended demoralizing effect. Having seen this drama several times, everyone even know many of the lines. “What did the president know and when did he know it?” “The coverup is worse than the crime.” Is the president’s (alleged) offense impeachable?

The idea of narrative itself has become a topic of commentary in the current attempt at scandalization. Some commentators note the conflicting narratives about Obama that are available to Washington politicians. Others note that Obama, often the purveyor of politically succeesful narratives about himself, may be losing control of his own narrative and of his own political fate. Still other commentators decry overuse of the idea of a grand narrative, urging politicians to return to the details of particular policies.

Driving forces   2.2

Among the driving forces of scandalization are GOVERNANCE, MEDIA, and POLITICS, particularly as institutionalized within current Populist Technocracy (please see previous Post, 130518).

Scandalization results in part from the dynamics of contemporary Technocratic GOVERNANCE.  Ostensibly a scandal is about something what happened within government. Certainly a lot of bad things happen in government that require scrutiny. On the other hand, Technocratic government is a huge enterprise in which many mistakes are bound to happen. Moreover, often what can be construed as scandalous resulted largely from the intrinsic complexity of problems and the limits on the resources available to address them. Thus, among current cases, providing security to distant outposts in dangerous places like Libya is inherently difficult. As political finance explodes into uncharted territory, IRS scrutiny is increasingly necessary but also increasingly difficult and problematic. The Department of Justice has to identify who leaked sensitive information but has to do so without infringing on press freedom.      

Scandalization results in part from the dynamics of contemporary Populist MEDIA.  Modern political scandals are in part a drama that modern media have made possible and saleable. Intensive modern communication has created the environment of spectacle in which politics currently occurs. Intrusive reporting has almost obliterated the boundary between public and private, defining formerly private misbehaviors as public scandals. Mass media has helped propel a shift from a politics organized by strong parties based on clear ideologies toward a politics centered on the character and trustworthiness of individual candidates and leaders. As noted, it is particularly unfortunate for the Obama administration that one of the current cases involves possible government threats to the integrity of the media, so central to the dynamics of scandalization. (On the role of the media in scandalization and on scandalization has a highly “mediated” process, see  John B. Thompson 2000Political scandal: Power and visibility in the media age.Cambridge UK: Polity Press, 336 pages.)

The construction and destruction of trust in individual politicians has become central to contemporary POLITICS. So Republican attempts to scandalize Obama now combine attacks on both philosophy (big government) and personality (Obama as an aloof intellectual contemptuous of dumb opponents). There is enough truth to both attacks that Republicans have much to work with. Even Democrats are disaffected: During his first term, Obama did not much “schmoose” with congressional Republican opponents, but neither did he schmoose with congressional Democratic supporters. One might wonder how Republicans can accuse Obama of both dictatorial tendencies and administrative neglect. But even Democrats are confused: Sometimes Obama pushes his use of executive power to the limit, sometimes he adopts a completely hands-off attitude. Obama’s supporters claim there is a clear rationale for which approach he adopts, based on his interpretation of his constitutional responsibilities. Nevertheless even some sympathetic observers cannot discern a clear rationale. Opponents are certain that there is none, and claim that Obama acts out of some combination of political opportunism and administrative incompetence.

Temporal tactics   2.3

Political scandals have both short-run and long-run consequences. In the short run, scandalization can paralyze policymaking, ruin political careers, and destroy administrations. Usually the effect on policymaking is negative, reducing attention to policy and preventing agreement on policy. Sometimes, however, scandalization can actually help policy-making, by diverting public attention to scandal while policy-making goes on in private. In the long run, scandals have resulted in new legislation, such as the creation of special prosecutors, reform of campaign finance, and strengthening the independence of administration from politics. In any case, scandalization has altered how the media investigates and reports on politicians' behavior, as well as the public's perception of elected officials. (See Nancy E. Marion 2010 The politics of disgrace: The role of political scandal in American politics. Durham NC: Carolina Academic Press, 348 pages.)

Scandalization is mainly a short run phenomenon, a strategy of currently on-going power struggle. Accordingly, within the short run, it is useful to distinguish several time horizons and accompanying tactics. (On short run crisis management, see Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani, and Bill Guttentag 2012Masters of disaster: The ten commandments of damage control. New York NY:  Palgrave Macmillan, 256 pages.)

The very shortest concerns the speed with which the White House defends itself against accusations of scandal, particularly by taking corrective actions. Such issues of speed are a main topic both in treatises on how to defend oneself against scandalization and in media commentary on current scandalization. Obama seems to have followed one mainstream line of advice: it is important to respond as quickly as possible, but it is even more important to make sure that one’s response is based on a correct version of what actually happened. 

Evidently following the advice of his White House lawyer, Obama waited to respond until after certain independent official reports had been released, so that he could not be accused of trying to influence the conclusions of those reports. Some of his supporters thought he should have followed more political advice and responded more quickly and strongly. Members of the relatively “hard line” team that accompanied Obama into office in 2008 criticized the relatively “soft line” team with which Obama had replaced them in the  two years leading up to the 2012 election. Actually, unlike during the Clinton administration, neither Obama team had much experience combating strong opposition efforts at scandalization.  

A somewhat longer time horizon extends to the Fall of 2013, the short window of opportunity in Obama’s second term during which he has some possibility of getting congress to pass some of his legislative program. Probably the effect of scandalization on the prospects for legislation is mostly negative: Radical Republicans claim that Obama’s alleged abuses decrease their willingness to trust him in any policy deals that they might otherwise have made. However, scandalization COULD increase the chances of immigration reform getting through the Senate, even while decreasing the chances of its getting through the House. A still longer short run time horizon extends through the Fall 2014 midterm elections. In the runup to those elections, Republicans hope to keep attention on scandals and away from policy; Democrats hope to weather the storm of scandals and then get back to policy-making as soon as possible. The problem for Democrats is that Republicans understand that Democrats NEED policy accomplishments in order to divert attention from scandals. So Republicans will be even MORE reluctant than usual to cooperate with Democrats in passing any policies. Meanwhile, Democrats can only pray that Obama will have succeeded at “descandalizing” politics by the 2014 midterm elections. Democrats’ prospects in those congressional elections were already problematic, now even more so.

The longest of the short run time horizons extends through the Fall 2016 presidential election. Here Republicans’ main target probably is Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for 2016. Scandalization of the State Department and its role in the Benghazi episode weakens Hillary Clinton directly in her role as then Secretary of State. Scandalization of Obama weakens Clinton indirectly through her more general political association with Obama. And of course scandalization of “Big government” weakens the liberal Democratic partisan “brand” that Clinton must try to sell.

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DIMENSIONS OF POLITICS

Policy  Sectors:  Security. Economy. Identity

Spatial  Levels:  Supranational. National. Subnational

Temporal  Periods:  Shortrun. Midrun. Longrun

STANDARD  TOPIC  TAGS (BIAOQIAN)

SECURITY

Defense

Diplomacy

Intelligence

Presidency (national security team)

Homeland security

State coercion: Police & Prisons

Citizen violence: Collective riots & Individual harm

ECONOMY

Climate change

Trade & Investment

Fiscal policy

Macroeconomy

Energy & Environment

Business

Employment & Income

IDENTITY

Propaganda

Immigration

Ideology

Race & Ethnicity

Gender & Age

Moral regulation

Alternative lifestyles

SUPRANATIONAL

Global

United Nations

International regimes

Subglobal regions

Major foreign powers

Neighboring countries

Cross-border regions

NATIONAL

Legislative

Executive

Judicial

Parties

Interest groups

Media

Public opinion

SUBNATIONAL

Subnational regions

States

Metropolitan regions

Cities

Counties

Communities & Associations

Citizen participation (elections, activism)

SHORTRUN (Current dynamics)

This week

Past few weeks

Next few weeks

Past few months

Next few months

Past few years

Next few years

MIDRUN (Foreseeable future)

Variables

Cycles

Generations

Regime shift

Transformations

Regime change

Parameters

LONGRUN (History, evolution)

American political development

Comparative political development

Longrun economic growth

Longrun social history

Longrun cultural change

Major civilizations

Human evolution

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