One of the biggest complaints about the government in Washington is that nothing ever gets done. It is a common question asked during the Democratic debates, though in different ways each time. In the last debate they brought up President Obama’s regret during his last State of the Union address where he was unhappy that he couldn’t bring the country together more. Lester Holt used it to bring out the age-old question, ‘how are you going to work to get things done in Washington?’ He left out the possibility that they may be President dealing with a Republican Congress.
Sadly, the candidates referred to their previous records of compromise. I’m sorry folks, but do you really believe that our current President never compromised with his opposition before and that he completely forgot how to do it once he attained office? He faced a group of people determined to be completely intransigent, and you may have also. Though Democrats usually want their representatives to work with the opposition, it isn’t that important to the ideologues on the extreme right.
However, there are two ways to actually get things accomplished in Washington D.C. The first way is what the Republicans are striving to do, and one that Democrats should always be trying to do as well but often fail to follow through on. That is they must get their constituents to regularly show up for every election and vote. You need a solid majority in every major branch to fulfill your agenda wishes.
This first path seems the easiest to do, but can be tricky, especially if the people you have indoctrinated become angry with you because they don’t think you are doing enough, or evidence comes out that convinces a majority of your followers that you have lied to them. They may stop going to vote for an election or two, or may even vote against you. That can throw your plans in disarray for awhile, but if you are patient you can still win. Americans are notorious for their short political memories.
The second path is to destroy the complaints the opposition have for not working with you. Right now everyday Americans don’t really feel better off than they did seven years ago. There are new jobs, but a lot of those jobs are much lower paying than the fields that were lost during the Great Recession. Incomes have become stagnant while the price of everything is just going up even though gas prices have finally come down.
You can’t feel better about life when you afford less now than you did seven years ago or even a year ago, while at the same time hearing that the wealthy and business are doing so much than you. A President and Congress needs to do something about this by creating jobs, spending money, and writing laws to alleviate this situation. You can’t have a consumer based economy when your consumers are broke, but I guess the corporations are gambling that Europe and Asia will take up the slack of the Americas while we become the new sweat shops.
That’s why the Republicans in Congress wouldn’t work with President Obama on his job bills. They couldn’t afford to have that leg of their talking points taken out from under them. When you improve the living conditions of the people, they are less contentious and aren’t so ideologically driven to support the extremism. However, the people have reached a breaking point.
The extremists in the GOP can see the reformation of the Populist movement in Bernie Sanders. When they see how much support he is getting from the youth, they know their time to change the country to their ideal is limited. They must win in this election or the next. If they don’t, they will have to compromise or be destroyed because even those who would call themselves Republicans will abandon them for their failure to help the people in their daily lives.
In the end, that’s all that really matters for the majority of Americans. If they are happy and relatively comfortable they don’t pay that much attention to politics, but the situation at home and work is so screwed up right now that almost everyone is turning to their politician and saying, “fix this!” Uncertainty breeds fear, which leads to anger, which tends to cause revolt. Americans will only wait so long for the politicians to fix their mess, before the new Populist movement turns on them.