2014, Year Of The Pendulum?


pendulum  To understand the question of the title of this post, let us first look at the diagram of the energy contained in the swinging of the pendulum.Inline image
As the diagram shows, the pendulum swings back and forth, from left to right, and right to left. Now you are beginning to see why the pendulum is such a great metaphor for politics, but it gets better.

  As the weight at the bottom of the shaft reaches either extreme point of its swing, be it to the left, or the right, it actually loses its potential kinetic energy. At the height of its swing it loses all kinetic energy, and must fall back towards its center. Notice that the center is at the point when the pendulum is carrying the most speed and kinetic energy.

   The comparison to politics is just too easy. Let us now think directly about politics and its pendulum swing of the last four to eight years, both here in Delaware, but also nation-wide.

   It may be impossible to determine exactly when, or with how much energy, but the political pendulum began to reach its leftward extreme somewhere around 2006-2008. It has swung leftward mainly in response to the presidency of George W. Bush. But as his administration was reaching its end, that leftward swing lost its kinetic energy.

   The swing back towards the right gained energy in no small part by the election of President Obama. The rightward swing reached its maximum kinetic energy around 2010 at the height of the TEA movement.

   Since then, the rightward swing has been losing energy as it continued to move further and further away from the center.

  How is this explained? Well that is the easy part. Let us again look at the diagram from above.  pendulum  Think of that bottom center of the swing as representing the mainstream of American voters. That is why, when any movement or group passes through, or in other words, appeals to that segment of voters, that movement or group is then carrying the most energy, or in other words, influence.

  But as the movement or group moves further and further away from that center, or mainstream voter, they will lose that energy, or influence. And it doesn’t matter which direction the pendulum is swinging, left or right, as it moves away from that center it will lose energy.

  We can think of the so called energy of the political pendulum as the people who support the direction of the swing. As the pendulum swings closer and closer to its extreme, more and more people jump off, and the pendulum loses energy, until at the extreme there is not enough weight, or influence to continue the swing and it returns towards the center.

  Of course there are always a few extremist who jump off of the pendulum at its extreme and wait, hoping to jump back on should the pendulum ever swing that far out, once again.

   So where are we now in the swing of the political pendulum? Well personally I believe that we reached the rightward extreme some time ago, and have begun the return towards the center, or mainstream voters.

   Why do I believe this? Well just look at the fact, that while Republican candidates are still being elected, it is not the TEA types, or even the hard right libertarian types. What does this mean? Again, in my view it demonstrates that the mainstream voters are seeing that it is not the extreme positions that will win the day, but the more reasoned approaches to solving the problems facing the nation and their home states.

   I know that some will rush to labels. They will say that any position short of the extreme right is a liberal position, and others will say that any position short of the extreme left is a far right wing-nut position.

  It is that attitude that loses the extreme their energy, or influence among the mainstream voters.

   Look at one of the heroes of the TEA movement, Rand Paul, who as of late, has read the TEA leaves and realized that if he hopes to achieve his goal of the White House, he will need to return towards the mainstream voters, and has moderated on many of his former positions.

  On a more local level we can see the pendulum swing in two of the marquee races here in Delaware.  I think Delaware is a microcosm of the political pendulum.  Delaware was once a fairly centered state politically. However at some point it began a leftward swing, to the point of the extreme of one party rule. Once the Democrats had complete control we saw even the more moderate among them swept up in the energy swinging towards the left, with such things as homosexual marriage, bathroom bills and the like.

  I believe that the elections of 2014 actually show that the leftward swing has reached its extreme point of energy, and has begun to swing back towards a more centered, or mainstream position.

  Let us look at the race for the office of State Treasurer.  In the primary Ken Simpler was challenge by Sher Valenzuela. Mrs. Valenzuela ran as an ultra-conservative, that alone could be questioned, but she portrayed Mr. Simpler as a liberal, and attempted to ride the rightward swing of the political pendulum for all it was worth. Unfortunately she, nor her advisors realized that the pendulum had lost all of it energy and was swinging back to center, and gaining energy.

  Once Ken Simpler had won the GOP primary he was immediately labeled a TEA type by his Democrat opponent Sean Barney. Again, Mr. Barney and his advisors had not realized that the pendulum had long ago swung away from the left, and that the term TEA type had lost its power, or energy to hurt a GOP candidate.

  Ken Simpler won the state-wide race, not because he appealed to either extreme of the political pendulum swing, where there is far less energy, or influence. He won because he appealed to the mainstream of voters, in the center of the political swing, where there lies all of the political energy and influence. He won because he appealed to the mainstream voters on the basis of doing the job he was elected to do.

   The other race that I feel demonstrates this hypothesis was the race for Sussex County Sheriff. This was a race that was intentionally based on far right conjecture and premiss.

  The sitting sheriff, Jeff Christopher and his supporters ran this race about as far right as any race could have been run. They were at the very top of the political rightward swing of that imaginary pendulum. And while they still carried a certain amount of energy within the GOP primary, they lost. They then lost again on a larger scale when they were placed on a larger stage. They failed to recognize, or refused to accept the fact that as they continued towards the right, more and more people jumped off of their swinging pendulum, so at the end they had lost their energy.

  On the other hand, the winner of that race Robert Lee, appealed to the more reasoned and mainstream voters. He ran on the basis of doing the job, in the same fashion as Mr. Simpler did.

These Delaware races, and many other races around the nation, in my view, hold out hope for the Republican party. We have seen the swing coming back from both extremes within the two mainstream parties. We have seen irrelevant third parties like the IPOD here in Delaware make a lot of noise about growing, only to have their marquee candidates receive 217 votes due to their rudderless casting about for a position. All the while we have seen Republicans such as State Senator Ernie Lopez, and Rep. Steve Smyk returned to office after facing opponents from the leftward swing of the political pendulum.

  I believe that we will never be able to grab the pendulum in the middle and stop it, after all that is when it is carrying the most energy. But we can take advantage of the building energy as Republicans, as it swings back towards the mainstream voters.

   We do this by realizing as Republicans, we must find candidates that appeal to that mainstream voter, and realize that there is no energy, or influence at the extreme.  Hopefully many of the supporters of the most extreme views will have jumped off the pendulum, and will simply sit out there at the extreme and wait for the pendulum to once again swing past them and jump back on. May God bless us that it never does. For that is the one thing that could prematurely increase the swing towards the left, if the noisy, vocal far right of the TEA types and 912ers are allowed to continue to be perceived as the face and the voice of the GOP, then the mainstream voters will recoil from the GOP once again and allow the pendulum to gain energy in its leftward swing and leave the GOP once again waiting on the extreme right.

20 Comments on "2014, Year Of The Pendulum?"

  1. mouse says:


  2. Bob says:

    Great analogy. Your application of it seems to resonate at least with certain political races. The Republicans had the best day they’re going to get anytime soon in Delaware on Nov.4, 2014. Moderates of both parties stayed home in record numbers, especially Democrats–most of them stayed home. I suspect they’ll be back in 2016……

  3. mouse says:

    Looks like Greece is becomming a graphic example of the failure of austerity and the success of Obama policy

  4. reality rules says:

    Your analogy is skewed, the pendulum is directed by physical law or physics. Policics is driven by emotion, popularity and driven by very fickle voters. While as long as the pendulum is guided by laws of physics that stay the same and are universal to this planet and its gravity the pendulum’ swing will never change.
    Although your analogy seems nice to believe, it is not true and is nothing but empty rhetoric like you head. NOT FRANK KNOTTS

  5. mouse says:

    Next time it will swing big for the democrats. The only problem I see is when the republicans might make the ball fly off the chain with their nasty rhetoric and constant fabrications. There are plenty of things to disagree with Obama policy but its not been that. Its been”he’s a Muslim, he’s a communist, he’s a Kenyan, he hates America” and the like. Only someone unhinged from the reality chain would vote for a party spewing nothing but that kind of rhetoric. I used to be glad there were 2 parties to vote for but how could any reasonable educated person vote for a witch or a spreader of ebola fear? I would gladly vote for the Roth IRA type candidate as would millions like me. The Republican party is relying on old, angry resentful white people to get elected and that is not sustainable as I suspect we shall see in the next election.

  6. real deal says:

    The real deal is that you have presented a thoughtful theory. It has validity unlike the critic who called it empty headed rhetoric, but the theory is not the real deal.

    The Pendulum takes a decade or and usually about three to swing back and forth. One party becomes dominate and runs out of ideas or ones that work. America is a closely divided nation most of the time. From the great Depression to Nixon, it was center left and from Nixon to Bush 43, it was center right. Republicans won 7 of 10 Presidential elections from Nixon to Bush 43 and the only Democrats to be elected campaigned to be centrist.

    Republicans do not have an ideological problem. The problem is that they don’t care about people. President Obama lost all of the big 4 leadership characteristic questions except 1, he cares about people like me. He won it so overwhelmingly 81 to 18% that it swamped his other deficiencies. Bush won 44% of Hispanics and carried Protestant Hispanics. He broke into the Black vote. He carried 80% of the Moral values vote which was bigger than the economy vote. Now some Republicans would be lucky to get 30% of the Hispanic vote even though a majority agree with Republicans an issues like terrorism, economy, abortion, and immigration. Yes, immigration, but the attitude turns them off.

    The real deal is that people don’t care what you stand for until they know that you care.

  7. SuperString says:

    An Archemedian ANALogy at best in a post-quantum age. Model assumes regular periodicity in what is more accurately described as a complex wave system and is overly reductionistic in nature. Consider the source. Further PBS is pointless.

  8. mouse says:

    I would suspect when you get past the resentment ideology against abortion/ women, illegal hispanics, religious dogma and the like most Republican ideology fails upon close critical analysis. Tax cuts for the 1% and investor class paying less than 15% while the working class pays 20-25% with no real deductions. Legislation to disincentivize job outsourcing to children blocked by Republicans. Fair wages, min wages, worker safety, environmental and public health protections all blocked by Republicans, as well as job programs especially in renewable energy and moving forward to a non terrorist funding renewable future blocked by Republicans. The way I see it, most of the middle class Republican vote is based in resentent and fear.

  9. Pat Fish says:

    Thomas Jefferson called it the rule of “countervailing forces”. He maintained that once the political pendulum swung one way the American public would pull it back toward center.

    The commenter who pointed out that the pendulum works on physics, NOT politics, was spot on. The analogy was not bad, not bad at all. But that bit about emotion and other factors come into play like they never do in the world of cold hard physics.

  10. real deal says:

    Mouse, you are not the real deal. With standard deductions and either child or earned income tax credit, the average income and payroll tax rate for the bottom 60% is less than 10%. For those making under 25k it is negative 4.5%. For those making 25k to 48k it is about 6% and for households making up to 80k it is about 12%. The top 1% with income breaks on dividends and deductions pay about 27%. Our income and payroll tax system is not terribly oppressive to anyone as it once was.

    Democrats largely wrote the tax incentives that you write of. The so called worker protections wouldn’t help workers, but harm them. It was a Democrat President that wrote GATT and NAFTA and they were passed by a Democrat controlled Congress. My point is not that Republicans care about the working man, they don’t, but neither do Democrats. Democrats lie to you and stab you in the back. Republicans tell you where they come from up front and they have to at least accommodate you sometimes. The working man is better off with Republicans. They may care more about big corporations, but 40% of us work for them so that is not a bad deal.

    Neither party really cares about you. 100 people give as much money as the 4.7 million small donors. When you accept that fact, you will finally face the real deal.

  11. Frank Knotts says:

    Super String, your style of using large words to impress, while saying little reminds me of someone. And in the end all you really wanted to say was “consider the source”, and to capitalize “ANAL”.
    Pat, it is really more of a metaphor rather than an analogy, see Webster for the difference.
    Mouse, your point on particular issues really has no bearing on the pendulum metaphor, or whether or not it is accurate. Since if the trends I laid out are true, it really doesn’t matter why, only that the opinions of the mainstream voters at the bottom of the political pendulum swing, drive the energy of politics. Your points may be valid, only in that both parties should attempt to distance themselves from the extremes.

  12. mouse says:

    I dislike the Democrats too, especially ours. I voted Green. I would have gladly voted for the Republican candidate if they would put forth someone who wasn’t a joke. Carper is a corporate owned, out of touch waste of of a senate seat. But the Republicans ran a guy whose platform was spreading fear of ebola, abortion, gays, sexual issues as many in the party seem obsessed with. My point is that the current congress the dems put forth bills to stop outsourcing jobs to chinese kids and the GOP fillibustered it as they have done with many bills that would helped average people. Renewable energy energy, worker protection, min wage and the like all seem to favor the dems. So in the short term, it seems to me the dems have a slightly better platfrom. I’m certainly open to being wrong..I lost 10K in the stock market. I sould those stocks and will have a near zero tax bill because of it. The bottom 60% doesn’t have such luxrey..

  13. mouse says:

    Agreed, although it may be a blind spot of my bias, but I really don’t see any extreme on the left? And Ironically, when having conversation with people on the “extremes” it often seems they both want the same type thing only with different examples of what that means..

  14. SuperGstring says:

    Stripping down your argument, the lowest common denominator gets elected most of the time in a limited range of options. The pendulum illustration is as old as Egypt.

    Have anything original?

  15. Frank Knotts says:

    SS if you can explain it better here is your chance. 1 2 3 go! Or you can just continue to be nothing but negative.

  16. Kraut Hater says:

    I have it on good authority that the scumbag leader of the IPoD was abducted by the the Peledians.
    Good riddance. Death to the IpOd. Long live the GOP!!! Long live Ronald Regan!!!!

  17. I've Noticed says:

    Frank, what is this new deletion and redaction virus that has overtaken DleawareLeft. NOT FRANK KNOTTS, NOT STEVE GROSSMAN AND NOT JEFF CRAGG.

  18. Frank Knotts says:

    I’ve Noticed, go back and find my previous post titled, “Disagee When We Must, Agree When We Can” it will explain all. We are editing off topic and abusive language. If a guest shows that is all they have to offer they go into moderation. If they make relevant comments they are posted.

  19. MiddleMan says:

    KH–I believe your hero is R-E-A-G-A-N. I agree. If we returned to Reagan era tax policy and civility now we would be far better off. Also Reagan’s views on immigration and healthcare were far more enlightened than what the GOP offers today, at least as far as one can tell because they don’t seem to be offering much of anything of substance. Maybe that will chamge now that the GOP has control….

  20. Killiopod says:

    Kraut Hater:

    You’re an IDIOT. Pleadians, my butt. I have it on good authority that the slimeball leader of the IPOD is in Iceland for a mid-winter romp with his Russian tennis star girl freind and her supermodel “roommate” . Both are half his age. Personally, I don’t know what they see in that ugly bastard scumbag, but there is no shortage of mismatched couples.

    We should not let him back in Delaware.

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