For some reason everyone thinks the President will have all of this great power, to pass budget reforms, criminal justice reforms, a coherent plan to fight ISIS, and a fair immigration plan. The cold hard fact of the matter is, that just isn’t going to happen now.
Whaaaat?! Trevor that is pretty pessimistic. Why in the world are you saying this? In short, two groups will insure the next President will be a failure, and likely a one term President. First, lets look at the House Republicans. The sad fact of the matter is, most don’t really want to govern. They failed to pass immigration bills after they refused to take up the senate bill which passed with an astounding 68 votes, but Speaker Boehner refused to take it up. There were a lot of reasons for this but the biggest one is the majority of Conservative lawmakers hated the bill because it had a pathway to citizenship. It was viewed as amnesty and so the bill died on the house floor. That is a theme that is depressingly common in the United States House of Representatives. If a majority of GOP congressmen will support something, then it will likely be far too Conservative for the moderate Senate, or for President Obama to sign. This is the main reason why I am so discouraged with both Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and even Joe Biden. If they win, almost everything they do will be blocked by House Republicans, and there isn’t a thing in the world they can do to stop it. Its even worse because every time Conservatives try to work with Democrats now on just about any issue they are seen as traitors, and R.I.N.O.s (Republicans In Name Only).
But that is only for the Democrats, surely a Republican would have better luck, Trevor! Nope nope nope, because then you will run into a problem with Democrats in the Senate. Even now they are filibustering a budget, and while this is likely to lead to a short term compromise I can’t imagine a scenario where a large Democratic Senate minority would have any reason to help a President Trump, Carson, Bush, Walker, or Rubio.
Honestly, I really don’t see any way for divided government to work anymore. Only when one party controls the House, 60 votes in the Senate, and the White House will we see anything on a large scale get done. (see Obama’s first two years in office, and 2001-2005 for Republicans.) It wasn’t always like this, but now both parties are so polarized, and are punished for seeking an accommodation with their “mortal” enemy that it effectively makes a workable government impossible.
This leads into the real issue in America today. Our political system is completely broken, and no one is willing, or able to fix it. We have a system that in effect will ensure the GOP will control the House of Representatives, unless a huge Democratic wave ousts them, even though Democrats actually won a majority of the House vote in 2012. The Senate is in the same position, it will take a similar wave for Democrats, or Republicans to gain 60 votes.
In a previous post I touched on long elections, and how they are hurting the country, but that is far from the only political reform needed. I also touched on the need for a multiparty state, but didn’t go too far into it. The sad fact is, we are living in the age in which Bi-partisanship died. There are two big notions of government, lead by the idea that history is on their side. On one hand, government is always seen as, at best, a necessary evil. That we should always be marching to more personal freedoms and that anything that gets in the way of that is evil and should be opposed at all cost, this is the Conservative and Libertarian ideal. On the other is the notion that government is here as a protector and server of the people. A place where the playing field is made level and everyone is given a chance to succeed in life. This is the Liberal and Socialist ideal.
For a long time these ideologies had supporters in both parties, but during the 1960’s that all changed. Both parties began a long process of becoming ideologically pure. Now their are very, very few politicians left who straddle the ideological divide. The last group that did were the Blue Dog Democrats, but in the 2010 elections they were nearly wiped out, to the point that in 2009 there were more than 50, but today there are only 14. Now both parties are locked into a fight to the death and only one side can win, and that winner won’t be determined in 2016, but in 2018, and 2020.
You see those are the last real chances for a wave election to actually make a choice on what the role of government is going to be, because as of right now the American people have been waffling, and the funny thing is, whoever wins in 2016 will likely be putting their party in a worse position to do just that. The Democratic party has been decimated under Obama and they hold a minority of State Legislatures, Congress, and Governorships. If Democrats where to lose in 2016 they would likely be able to gain all of these back and be primed to take the White House in 2020 with a majority on all levels of government. Similarly, the GOP loses in 2016 they will likely retain their house majority and much of their state level advantages and will be a thorn in the side of any Democratic administration, thwarting a good chunk of what they would wish to accomplish. And that’s it in a nutshell, the winner in 2016 will likely be setting up their party for one of the worst defeats in its history, so…that is something to fight over I guess….