Sede Vacante

Jeremy Smith:

Researcher Bill Bishop … examined the way how our diverse country has become more polarized in the past four decades. He studied the number of … counties that went over 70% for a particular candidate in the presidential elections. Since the 1970s, the number of those counties increased 300%.

What the researcher was surprised to find was regardless of how much influence top-down gerrymandering or dark money in politics might have made for these landslide regions, the primary force for this change was bottom-up: choice of people like us. We moved to be in neighborhoods with people like us, who had the same Jed Bartlett 2020 bumper stickers we did.

And now by divesting from the broadly-held authorities for years, investing our money, time, and attention only in our circles, only to those psychological manipulations, we cannot see “the other side” as having any authority whatsoever. We’ve all become sede vacante: every chair is empty except the leaders of our echo chambers who self-select who else will be in the seat tomorrow.

Ted C. Howard @ted