The American Political Discourse in 2012

Jeremy Robert Springman


The concept of globalization refers to a multitude of processes rapidly changing the space in which individuals, institutions, and systems interact with one another. Popular interpretations have seen increasing interconnectedness as the beginning of a “race to the bottom” in which the state is precluded from governance as competition to attract capital and prevent flight mandates a retrenchment of the public sector. As this occurs, outside influences should crowd out opportunities for the “collective priority and preference setting” that defines democratic governance. Instead, much of the convergence toward retrenchment has been endogenous change motivated by ideas and political strategy rather than exogenous economic pressure.  America’s protracted battle over the debt ceiling provides a compelling case to explore how the ideational force of globalization has included new voices in domestic preference setting and augmented rather than crowded out public deliberation. Tracking the impact of these influences on the American discourse will help us understand how the 2012 elections are likely to be impacted by the emergence of groups willing and able to compete with the Republican Party on behalf of economic conservatives.

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