There's no easy fix to the Washington cartel

As E. E. Schattschneider once observed, “the flaw in the pluralist heaven is that the heavenly chorus sings with a strong upper-class accent.” Moreover, it is a fallacy of composition to suggest that doing the bidding of various, organized interests is the same as securing the public good. The two are often quite distinct, in fact.

I think this nicely summarizes the mentality of Washington, D.C. — on both sides of the aisle. The power of government is to be wielded unabashedly, and mostly for the interests that dominate the political process. The main differences between Republicans and Democrats — with a few notable exceptions on the left (Bernie Sanders) and the right (Mike Lee) — is how they believe power should be wielded and which interests should benefit.

There is a kind of “court party” in American politics — one that is actually strengthened by the diffusion of power across Washington, D.C. It behaves like a cartel, restricting alternative supplies of policies or ideas. Political theorists have called this the “mobilization of bias.” In other words, there are just certain ways of getting things done in Washington, D.C., and alternative methods of policymaking are not up for discussion.