The New Gilded Age, By The Numbers

September 24, 2020 by Sam Wang

We’re in an exceptionally difficult time in our nation’s political history. A combination of economic stagnation, partisan polarizations, and demographic change has brought us to the point of losing our national consensus on what it means to have a United States. Is there any hope?

Professor Jack Balkin says yes. In his new book, The Cycles Of Constitutional Time, he argues that in some ways, we’ve been here before. He cites the Gilded Age, a period of corruption, polarization, and economic change. He argues for the potential for a future Progressive Age – if we can make it through the next 5-10 years. It’s a terrific book.

Over at his group blog, Balkinization, I was invited to be part of a Symposium on the book. In the first of two contributions, I show how these problems are echoed in electoral math: partisan gerrymandering and our old friend the Electoral College. Like him, I think there can be better days ahead. It helps to know how we got here – and that we’ve been here before.


Sheldon M Rampton says:

I’d like to order the book, but Amazon says it is temporarily out of stock.

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