The Post-Ideological Politics of Connection

What just happened?

An American presidential election just produced a cultural divide reminiscent of the American Civil War. Beset by wails from college safe spaces, “what happened?” is a reasonable question. The 2016 presidential election result shocked almost everyone. In the aftermath, pundits got to work.

The Atlantic magazine announced “The Populist Revolt.” Foreign Policy described “The End of Politics as We Know It.” To grasp what happened, it may help to consider two figures hovering in the wings, one on each side of the aisle – Ret. General Stanley McChrystal and philanthropist George Soros.

General McChrystal was identified early on as a dark horse candidate for Secretary of State. His 2015 best seller, Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, describes methods of creating successful organizations. The book grew out of the maturing study of complex community behavior he used in Iraq to crush Al Qaeda.

George Soros is a supporter of political causes. Since the early 1990s, Mr. Soros has been regular at New Mexico’s Santa Fe Institute. Since 1984, the Institute has operated as the national hub for study of community behavior, under headings such as, “hybrid warfare”, “soft power”, “4th generation warfare”, and “complex systems.” In 2016, Santa Fe ideas migrated from use in the military and business to politics.

These two figures  point the way to understanding the new direction of politics. The key is our improved understand of the way communities work. After Ideology traces how this migration led to new campaign methods and increased voter demand for politicians to address the need for healthy communities. The result: altered notions of left and right, strange bedfellows and the raging emotions of a political adolescence.