Commentators on cable news shows like to imply that there is no difference between the Democratic and Republican parties. They compare the spending spree that the GOPs went on during the Bush Administration and won’t acknowledge the differences (i.e., one was for fun, and the other to avoid 2nd Depression). For those tasked with supporting sustainability, this means that you are going to have to spend more time educating stakeholders.
There are three competing forces in American politics: Progressives, Conservatives, and Neoliberals. The confusion comes from the willingness of conservatives to use the government to achieve their goals, which makes look like progressives when compared to neoliberals. Additionally, conservatives often stand on the same side as neoliberals to oppose progressive initiatives, which makes them look the same as neoliberals.
Furthermore, progressive initiatives can actually advance neoliberal causes by creating new avenues for deploying capital without protecting the community at large. In fact, this is the rationale for concentrating on sustainability when it comes to discussing the future of lesser industrialized communities. In response, you may want to consider replacing the Progressive corner of America’s politics with a new post-Globalization School of Thought.
The post-Globalization School of Thought could co-opt challenges from both Conservatism and Neoliberalism, which would render them inert in the battle for the hearts and minds of economic developers. It would also lay the foundation for more strategic network friendly governance policies, which will prepare America to compete in the future. Neither evolution nor creative destruction take prisoners so we must always be willing to innovate.