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Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

E Pluribus Duo

Why not have two presidents?

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Emperor Franz Josef of Austria, in uniform, 1903. (Library of Congress)

America wanted diversity—at least its leaders said it did—and now we’re getting it, good and hard. By many accounts, the nation hasn’t been this divided since the Civil War. Thus we are reminded: Diversity isn’t just a matter of adding another letter to the LGTBQ acronym. It’s also a matter of red vs. blue, Republicans vs. Democrats.  

The Italian sociologist Gaetano Mosca wrote of this binary grouping phenomenon in The Ruling Class (1939)“If a certain number of stags are shut up in a park,” he wrote, “they will inevitably divide into two herds, which will always be in conflict with each other.” Mosca continued, “An instinct of very much the same sort seems to make its influence felt among men.”