The story of our age—if I had a nickel for every time I’ve written this—is the failure of our institutions.

But our political parties haven’t just failed. They’ve collapsed. Almost simultaneously.

That’s not good. But what’s really bad is that the parties didn’t just implode and disappear, leaving room for new institutions to flower and replace them.


What has happened is that the parties have become zombie institutions, retaining the support personnel and dumb-pipe logistical power they once had, but without any connection to the traditions and ideologies that once anchored them.

Neither the Republican nor the Democratic party is really even a party anymore. They’re both ghost ships, floating in the fog, waiting for some new pirate to come aboard and take control every four years so that they can use it’s abandoned cannons to go marauding.