May Politics Get Worse Before They Get Better

If you write a political blog, you sort of have to write something before the election. It isn’t easy when the choices are this bad.

I’d like one of the two parties — and I am not sure it matters which — to shed its skin and begin again, preferably with an entirely new cast of characters.

The popularity of both parties is declining, as is public approval of their work in Congress.

About a quarter of voters are Democrats and another quarter are Republicans. The remaining half of the electorate is somewhere between “none of the above” and “I hate them both.” I am one of the latter.

Half of the electorate should be enough of a prize to inspire one party or the other to seek the first mover advantage, but I am doubtful. Each party is filled with squabblers clinging to imperiled perches and squabblers are not known to be strategic thinkers.

Since neither party seems likely to choose to move to the middle, I am hoping one of them will be forced to.  As yet, neither party has been sufficiently disgraced to do so.

Let’s hope the Democrats win the House. That will be a rebuke to the Republicans who might then be forced to rethink. Under present circumstances, I am not optimistic about a Republican rethink but it appears that control of the House of Representatives will change.

When the Democrats gain control of the House, let’s hope for a blood-in-the-streets leadership battle. Nancy Pelosi is long past her sell-by date but she certainly shows no recognition of her toxicity. I hope someone has the courage to challenge her and the strength to make it ugly.

After the leadership fight, let’s hope for a blizzard of subpoenas and investigations. Tie up the administration with one investigation after another and bring governance to a halt for the next two years.

Either the Democrats will over reach and destroy themselves or Republicans will be sent to jail. Either way, there might be enough damage for one or the other to be forced away from the extreme.

Let’s hope the Republicans keep the Senate if only to assure gridlock. On present form, this seems likely.

In a perfect world, I wish we had a Special Counsel focused on the Democrats to balance Robert Mueller’s focus on the Republicans. Meanwhile, I hope he continues investigating and keeping his mouth shut. Maybe a Republican Senate and President will appoint another one for us.

Recent months have been bad enough – think Kavanaugh hearing and the caravan shenanigans, just as examples — but it is going to have to get worse before it gets better. Neither party will voluntarily change a thing to fix politics in this country, but politics needs to get better soon or we will completely fail to deal with real challenges that will do us in. Debt and deficits come to mind.

Chances are the party that loses in the short run will be the winner in the long run because it will be forced to accept half of the electorate as its prize.

 

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Haven Pell

At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a woman asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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  • Franklin’s quote is definitely where we’re at. Personally I don’t see it happening with a party that’s for open borders, stfling taxation, racial tribalism, suppressed religious freedom, name calling over debate, public incivility, more debt etc. No doubt in my mind who will burn the house down quicker.

    • A Republic if you can keep it? I agree.

      I think the party seeking the middle would have to shed that baggage.If not, it would not claim the prize.

      • The left won’t allow their baggage to be shed, see Western Europe. At the core they hate what America stands for even Alan Derschwitz is frightened of them more so than the right.

  • ” I’d like one of the two parties — and I am not sure it matters which — to shed its skin and begin again, preferably with an entirely new cast of characters.”

    One recalls such an episode in Game of Thrones, that ended rather badly for the chap who did the skinning.

  • Healthcare is the Achilles heel of any U.S. political party currently enjoying congressional majorities and/or the presidency. Obamacare expanded healthcare, but did nothing to contain or reduce costs. Accordingly, costs rose hard and fast. The Republican party boasted for 8 years it would repeal and replace Obamacare. Once in power in the Senate, it failed to do so. Costs continue to rise.

    There are multiple reasons for this. The best country’s health care system that might provide the U.S. with a salutary example is that of France. In 2016 the U.S. per capita healthcare cost was $10, 348. In France it was $4,600. It has been widely reported that France enjoys better health outcomes via its system than the U.S. France has a hybrid system that uses public funds via taxation, in addition to private supplemental insurance, paid by 92% of the French public. 75% of French doctors provide public health care, and 25% confine themselves to purely private care.

    What politician has ever mentioned this comparison as possibly instructive as to real, effective reforms to the U.S. system? None.
    What politician ever will? Put your money on the following bet: none.

    https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/chart-collection/health-spending-u-s-compare-countries/#item-average-wealthy-countries-spend-half-much-per-person-health-u-s-spends

    Our noble Pundicicator once made a statement that was at once dire, dramatic, and drastic: Our politicians do not actually want to solve problems. Gridlock and slow, inexorable decline, about which they can incessantly blame each other, suits them just fine.

    Except for the new guy on the block: Trump. He is not afraid of disruptive change, some of which might actually be beneficial.

    Beneficial! Clearly a dangerous man. He must be impeached.

  • Sitting over this side of the Pond, Trump appears to grow in stature. Not domestically [as you so rightly observe, your internal politics are a sh*tfest]. But internationally. Amazing, I hear you say. Well, we’re in for interesting times once the Iran sanctions bite and Saudi has to make up for being so awful for so long. And it looks to us as if this agenda is being run by the US of A…

    British politics remain mired in [a] Brexit and [b] the fact that somehow we elected an assistant librarian as our Prime Minister. Scotland is going wrong [I think we agreed that we wanted to sell that subsidiary when the offer was on the table, but…]. Our best hope is for a No Deal Brexit and get out clean next March, before Europe [or at least the Euro] implodes and is replaced by the Lira. Then we can strengthen our position as a low cost low tax offshore economy, and resume our rightful position as the 51st state. Please…

    • Likely there is a different perspective there than here though it might also be based on which media one favors. Middle east moves up the watch list. Brexit response from EU resembles that of a rejected lover. Nose seriously out of joint.

      • Hopefully the jilted EU lover will storm off in a huff and refuse to have anything more to do with us. ASAP please!
        I wonder if our media, which of course has its fair share of lefties and other enrageds but nothing like 100%, doesn’t feel directly attacked by Trump [whereas it seems that all of your media does]. Might our media be more objective?

        • Good luck with getting rid of the jilted lover. Seems to me the storming off in a huff is often preceded by a good dose of revenge.

          It is tough to properly consider bias about Trump because he is so off the charts. Writing about him does sell a heck of a lot of newspapers and that makes it perfectly okay to pander to readers.

  • Good grief, or how grand, the two parties, Trump and Brexit. What more could one want on a bright Sunday morning? Having completely trained into believing Haven’s “a pox on both your paries” maxim, it is hard to even consider a third party openly caring about the requirements of altruistic government. Like football, it is far easier to break an excellent wide reviever’s knee than to beat him fairly while catching the ball. It requires the NFL league office to create rules to protect passers, etc. What is the governmental equivalent – there ain’t none. So the third party, the obvious third party, old school progressive liberal values coupled with fiscal responsibility (save for a rainy day) which could and should easily capture 50% will never see the light of day due to all the highly well trained knee tacklers existing behind the scenes in each party.

    Which leads us to Trump and his willingness to say anything. The electorate had grown so tired of listening to self serving scripted speeches, that someone who would actually out and out say what he thought and then lo and behold actually mean it is indeed a bit of a bolt out of the blue (or shall we say red). Is Trump cynical when he wants illegal immigrants out? Or is he principled?
    Illegal is illegal is it not? Don’t want it illegal – change the law. Trumps suggestions to the “Congress’ were actually reasonable. But the Reds and the Blues did not want to cooperate and leave it hanging as with healthcare and the many other subjects the electorate would like solved.
    It will be interesting to see if the short term winner becomes the long term loser. I doubt it, it is not in the league’s interest for the issues to be resolved. No game to watch, no tickets to be sold.
    It would require a leader of great principle and a party of tremendous principle to overcome the current entrenched ticket salesmen. Trump only serves to permit greater mud hurling.

    And Brexit, I’d like to laugh with M. Walton as his wit deserves it, but I am saddened by the turn of events (not withstanding the excellent crack about the assistant librarian) since I have an Italian son in law living in England and for a variety of reasons should be able to stay there. But more importantly England has been good for the EU and the EU has been good for Europe in general. (Bit off a bit more than they can chew it is true) but as a colonial master England has it in her reach to colonize most of Europe without Europe even realizing it. To have given up for the likes the Brexiters is to have thrown away the brass ring just as you were about to have it in your grasp. There are reportedly approximately 2,5 million Britons scattered throughout Europe and a similar number in Britain. These folks are a great help in many ways, not least, having decent food and decent waitstaff in London. And yes these things are important. As for Londonistan, that had little to do with the EU. Now as for the 51st state, the whole idea here was to use it as a way to make the rest of Europe the 52nd State. Now you’ve gone and mucked that up, so why do we need you as a 51st state anymore if you blocked our entry into our coveted German banking system (erh… perhaps we should thank you).

    • Thanks for a great comment Tim. Not only on the story but on the other comments as well. There is much to be said for the NFL League office analogy.