Political Eras Are Getting Shorter and Shorter

Three weeks ago, under the headline “Activists Seize Control of Politics,” Politico (5/19/10) was reporting that U.S. politics may have changed forever:

The 2010 electorate has swallowed an emetic–disgorging in a series of
retching convulsions officeholders in both parties who seem to embody
conventional Washington politics.

The anti-establishment, anti-incumbent fevers on display Tuesday are not
new…. What’s now clear, in a way that wasn’t before, is that these results reflect
a genuine national phenomenon, not simply isolated spasms in response to
single issues or local circumstances….

This is a stark and potentially durable change in politics. The old
structures that protected incumbent power are weakening. New structures,
from partisan news outlets to online social networks, are giving
anti-establishment politicians access to two essential elements of effective
campaigns: publicity and financial support. In effect, the
anti-institutional forces that coalesced in recent years now look like an
institutional force of their own.

These epochal changes, Politico reports today (6/9/10), lasted for approximately three weeks:

On the biggest primary night of the year so far, the wild 2010 plotline took a turn for the familiar: The political center–and the conventional politicians that gravitate there–showed some enduring power.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.