The people want compromise. The politicians say “good luck with that”.

by Pitt Griffin on July 24, 2013 · 1 comment

in Politics, The Tea Party

Sixty-eight percent of Americans think that the two parties should compromise in Congress and get something done. There is no chance that that will happen. Why?

Consider the death of gun control legislation. Ninety percent of us were for universal background checks and yet that couldn’t even make it through a majority Democratic Senate – let alone a Republican controlled House. It all boils down to the base and statistics.

Forget compromise between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans can't even compromise with themselves. Ted Cruz "I don't trust Republicans.

Forget compromise between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans can’t even compromise with themselves.
Ted Cruz “I don’t trust Republicans”.

Fundamentally, Senators – and even more so, Representatives – don’t care about national surveys. Take Tea Party darling Sen.Ted Cruz of Texas. Why should he care about what New Yorkers think? New Yorkers do not vote in Texas. And New York’s electoral vote will never go to a Tea Party presidential candidate. Cruz only has to worry about Texan concerns.

Cruz has drunk the Kool-Aid and believes that Republican presidential candidates lose because they aren’t conservative enough. Which gives him, and other Tea Party candidates, little incentive to present a more moderate national face.

Representatives have an even narrower voter base to keep happy. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) won his last election with 72% of the vote. It’s not the general election he has to worry about – it is the primary. Many Republican incumbents – even some very conservative ones – have lost elections to Tea Party candidates running to the right of them. Unlike general elections, primaries are decided by the true believers – giving candidates who receive Tea Party support or NRA money a tremendous advantage.

Republicans also benefit from having Republican Governors in 30 states, as well as control of state governments – overwhelmingly in most cases – in six states that voted for Obama in 2012, specifically Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Let’s look at Florida. Despite voting Democrat in the Presidential election, its Governor and one Senator are Republican. Even more strikingly Republicans hold 17 of 27 US House seats, 76 of 120 state House seats and 26 of 40 state Senate seats.

All because the party that controls the State House gets to draw the electoral map.

It is insanity that the rules of the process are determined by the very people who benefit from the process.

poll tax receipt

Poll taxes were ruled unconstitutional. States are now figuring out how to restrict voting in other ways.

Adding to the power of the incumbent party is the Supreme Court decision that struck down key provisions in the Voting Rights Act. States are again free to make it tougher for the poor, the elderly and minorities to vote.

North Carolina has already started piling on voting restrictions, despite lack of evidence for any voter fraud. It is no coincidence that the measures enacted by the Republican state government overwhelmingly disenfranchise Democrats.

Things change. At some time in the future the parties will move closer together, because extremism is hard to maintain. The Tea Party will run out of gas. It has hitched its wagon to the flavor of the month – libertarianism.

Liberalism is appealing in theory – every man free to do his thing. Government reduced to guaranteeing contracts, property rights and national defense. But like a date with (fill in your ideal unattainable object of desire) it is to be savored in the abstract; never to be realised. The people are not about to get rid of their Medicare et al.

And when they wake up to the fact that that is what all these public employees, with their public pension plans, are proposing, the peoples’ enthusiasm will wane. And comity will reign in Congress. Okay, that’s probably as big a fantasy as libertarianism – but they might hold their noses and agree on something.

 

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