Last week my colleague David Brooks wrote a column on the decline of political imagination, and the way that data-driven campaigning, in particular, has made our politics more rigid and our would-be leaders less creative. I saw some criticisms of the column on Twitter, most of them suggesting that Brooks was radically underestimating the power of polarization, and the way it keeps our politicians in pre-constructed boxes from which even a genius would struggle to escape. To which I would only point out that as true as that may be, those boxes are still themselves the product of human imagination, of a particular way or ways of imposing a partisan order and a binary division on a society of 300 million souls. The imagination at work is collective, not individual — the collective imagination of partisan elites. But its rule over our politics is still not in any way inevitable, and the fact that it’s given us what seems like an increasingly meaningless see-saw is all the more reason to look for very different imaginings instead.