What we have seen in Washington, D.C. for a while now is divided government. It is not an accident that the favorable numbers for Congress are down to record lows. Divided government does not work. When the needs of the American people go wanting, the preservation of the status quo is not what is needed. And even if one political party has a narrow edge in the House and the Senate money keeps any real change from occurring. Those big money donations from big contributors and Super PACS, will keep anything but incremental change from happening.
The Presidential election of 2016 is an example of why we need to move to have a Parliamentary System. The political divide is even greater than in the past. Those who identify as being Liberal have increased substantially and those who identify themselves as Conservative are high as well. Those who identify themselves as moderates have been substantially reduced.
The candidacy of Bernie Sanders has highlighted the problem. As our electorate becomes more polarized it becomes more obvious that unless we change our system of how politics is done, we shall remain increasingly divided. Each side of the political spectrum will be increasingly angry as nothing will get done by having a divided government.
So how can we fix the problem? If ideologically based politics is here to stay, then what we need is a Parliamentary style, English system of federal elections. When you vote, the winning party is ushered in, and they have the opportunity to have their way with what they want to do for their term in office. If things that are passed do not work out to the satisfaction of the electorate they are free to vote for the other political party the next election and have them give it a go.
It might not happen immediately but each political party might just have to moderate its views to be popular. The national interests might just be something that each political party might have to take into consideration.
The bottom line is that gridlock would end. Along with a Parliamentary style of governance we need to put an end to the antiquated practices that make gridlock possible such as having filibuster and the procedure in the Senate called holds. A filibuster is proper when the participant is offering an opinion of the minority that should be articulated. Having a filibuster just for the sake of delaying a vote or for mere political purposes serves no one and immeasurably weakens our governments ability to function. Instead of a majority vote what is the new reality is that a super majority is required. This is not governing but government by extortion.
Putting an end to the forever election cycle would also be a recommendation for an improved election atmosphere. I don’t know about you but I have election fatigue. As soon as one election is over such as 2012, the media and others anxious to keep it going start-up the next election before the seat is even warm in the Oval Office. This is not good for the nation and creates a premature lame duck president. The solution is to have a 90 day campaign. The cost to elect a President is now at such a disgusting level it is patently ridiculous.
This might be a problem for the media and the political consultants as the money machine will discontinue. We the people can only benefit by having a shorter election cycle.
Our elected officials should be concerned about solving problems and not about raising money for the next election.
There is a saying that is fitting, follow the money, all that is positive about divided government is that it continues to enrich K street and all of the lobbyists.
Unless we change the only thing that we will guarantee is an increased level of anger as nothing gets done. We are doomed to have a do nothing Congress as long as we have divided government. The only thing that divided government guarantees is gridlock.
In the meantime, our highways and bridges will continue to fall apart. Our infrastructure will continue to decay as long as divided government continues. Our young people will grow increasingly disenchanted with the failure of our government to be able to function with any sense of efficiency. Students and those who have graduated will only have their own anger mount as we saddle the next generation with increasing debt. Any real plan for dealing with the huge problems that we face as a nation will not exist as our problems fester and grow.
Our Republic can not endure if we continue on our current path. The anger of the electorate is clearly on display in the election of 2016. Our government should be about doing the peoples business. Our needs go wanting while Nero fiddles and Rome burns. We must satisfy the needs of the people or else pay the price by having an angrier and angrier electorate. Ruin can only follow.
Another good one, Gar.
I agree with everything except a Parliamentary government. Term limits, campaign finance reform that bar corporate donations, and barring campaigning until 90 prior to election would be a good start, however if we the peeps would demand bipartisanship or you wont get reelected would go a long way
Hi Laurie. I am a bog advocate of bipartisanship. And I fervently hope that we will once again have two political parties that put the national interests above partisan political gain. If we do not see a change in our current political situation, then in order for us to have a functioning government we may need to consider changing to the British system. It would dramatically move us forward from the status quo. I wrote an article on term limits that you may wish to read and I would love to hear your reaction to it.
You do understand that the American people can vote for One Party Rule anytime they want. Right?
Been there. Done that. Didn’t like it.
Recently we tried One Party Republican Rule for four years in 2002-2006. Iraq War, Unpaid new entitlements, expansion of the surveillance state. It wasn’t good. Dramatic increase in the deficit and debt.
Divided government was restored in 2006 with the Democrats taking control of Congress.
Then we tried One Party Democratic Party Rule from 2008-2010. As a result we got Porkulus (which was supposed to address that infrastructure need but instead got mostly funneled to Democratic constituencies) and ObamaCare (’nuff said) – both passed on purely partisan (parliamentary-like) Democratic votes,We also got: Even more massive increases in spending, deficits and debts than GWB; War actions without congressional approval; and worse expansion of the surveillance state.
Divided government was thankfully restored in 2010. Since then the deficit has been going down, alhough the debt is still unsustainably high.
Net net: Good legislation is better than gridlock and no legislation. But no legislation and gridlock is far far better than bad legislation. Pure partisan legislation is almost always bad legislation.
I suggest you go back and reread Aesop’s Fable about King Log and think more about the “efficient” government you seem to crave.
Nothing is more efficient than a king.
During our history we’ve had divided government, and our elected officials of both political parties maintained a healthy respect for each other. Compromise and working together were still possible. Today, there is so much acrimony and ideology in Washington, examples of good legislation passing are becoming as rare as having a bill up for a vote in the U.S.Senate that occurs without a filibuster. Our political parties have had in their history, conservative wings, moderates and liberals. Today, it is difficult to find a moderate voice in the Republican Party. When the attitude becomes prevalent that political advantage trumps the national interest, only stagnation and the preservation of the status quo reigns triumphant.If these were good times, I might agree with you, or if these legislators resembled the greatest generation’s legislators but sadly that is not the case now. Needs go wanting and the fact that this past Congress set a record for ineptitude speaks volumes. One would hope that you would recognize the need to fix our infrastructure for example, and agree that a plan to do so should be put up for a vote, instead of burying the problem in the sand.