The good old days weren’t. Matthew Yglesias at the Atlantic:

“It really is remarkable that for all the bellyaching about the decline of bipartisan behavior in DC there’s very little attention paid to the fact that there are actual reasons this has happened beyond Newt Gingrich being a meany and bloggers being too shrill. The Jim Crow South gave rise to an odd structure of American political institutions whereby both of the parties contained substantial ideological diversity. This had the benefit of setting the stage for a wide array of cross-cutting alliances. It came, however, at the cost of consigning a substantial portion of the population to life under a brutal system of apartheid ruthlessly upheld through systematic violence.”

Hat tip to Brendan Nyhan, who elaborates with graphs and everything: “In short, the rise in bipartisanship was driven by Southern Democrats. Now that they are an endangered species, we’ve returned to the historical norm of sharp partisan conflict.”

In the world of American politics, you don’t have to walk very far in any direction to find yourself up against racism and the comfortable ability of white people to forget about everyone else.