So, Your Political Party Betrayed You Again.

The Collapse of the Contract Between Rulers and Ruled

Is it any surprise that the Democrats feel no rush to forgive student debt considering that the people excited for student debt relief will always vote Democrat until the end of time no matter what they do?

Is it any surprise Republicans have no desire to give up their lucrative corporate bootlicking since their voters appear fine with getting screwed over so long as they stop spooky “socialism” from rising?

Let’s remember:

Politicians are strategic actors. They respond to incentives. Their primary goal, at the end of the day, is to get re-elected.

One of the reasons politicians do not provide for us much anymore is they feel no need to. If you are going to vote for them anyways, why should they stick their neck out on any controversial issue? Much easier to just make performative appeals to grievance groups and toe the party line.

Patronage has collapsed because the patrons know their subjects will never abandon them.

The social contract between Ruler and Ruled goes two ways:

  1. The Ruler provides material benefits to the Ruled

  2. The Ruled provide loyalty to the Ruler

In our world, where the politicians are the Rulers and the people the Ruled, the Ruled now provide loyalty no matter what, even when the Ruler provides no benefit (or actively harms them).

Politicians, and other strategic actors, will only learn when they are punished (or presented with a real threat of punishment).

If you are unwilling to do that, then nothing will ever change.