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Old 10-18-2019, 08:48 PM
Roderick Femm's Avatar
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Constructive political compromise -- possible? Desirable?


Something I heard on NPR this morning, I don't remember what, triggered a thought about a possible presidential candidate (for example) whose platform had the over-arching theme of bipartisanship first, and specific programs second. Someone who was wholly dedicated to reducing partisanship and accepting that "the other side" does, sometimes, have a point, and then acting (or at least proposing actions) accordingly. This candidate would have as their first principle the cooling off of the body politic.

Could you support such a candidate? Is nuance possible any more, where people try to actually understand what motivates and drives the opposition (without making stuff up), and are willing to sit down to consider actual constructive compromise?

I've read lots of liberals who claim, perhaps rightly, that conservatives (I'm using these terms broadly, so please don't nitpick) are dying out and eventually liberals will be victorious all the time everywhere. And I think about what happens if that's true. Do the victors tell people who aren't in the majority "sorry, sucks to be you" or do they try something more inclusive? Do they engage in triumphalism or something else?

I'm not sure if I'm getting across what I'm trying to ask. We are living in a time of internecine hatred that I don't remember in the 55 or so years when I have been aware of such things (I am 70). Can we step back from that? Is anyone willing to take that first step, without expecting anything in return? It seems to me that the alternative is too dire to contemplate.

I remember now what triggered these thoughts. A commentator alleged that children raised with hatred of any kind are more susceptible to extremist philosophies and actions. That, it seems to me, is the road we are headed down.

"It's the other side that's riddled with hatred, not us. And I hate them for that!" Do you? Can you not? Is hatred the only outcome from where we are now?

I've put this in Great Debates because that's the kind of discussion I hope to have. I don't, however, have an assertion to debate except, perhaps, that compromise is not a dirty word. It doesn't mean that one side has to give in to the other side on every issue, it means that both sides give in at least a little on at least a few issues. It means that scoring political points becomes secondary to taking care of the nation's needs. It means a different way of doing things from anything I've seen since the turn of the century (if not before).

Is this possible? Is it desirable?
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:50 PM
PastTense is online now
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It takes two to tango. Trump and the rest of the Republican Party have zero interest in this.
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
It means that scoring political points becomes secondary to taking care of the nation's needs.
Unfortunately, I find this unlikely in politicians in the near term.
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Old 10-18-2019, 09:58 PM
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I don't think compromise on really big issues is possible right now. I don't think it's an equal "all sides do it" thing either. I think it's the Republican Party that is more dug in and uncompromising. So, on issues like healthcare, climate change, and even infrastructure, they don't seem willing to do deals anymore.

I'd love to see compromise. But both parties have to be willing to govern. I haven't seen that in a while from one of the sides. Let's be real here. Do you think a party that nominated Donald Trump is capable of compromise in good faith?


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics...-norms/540165/

And if you're watching Democratic debates, I'd be wary of any candidate who talks as if they'll be able to cross aisles with the current Republican party. If they think that, they're not paying attention.

Last edited by survinga; 10-18-2019 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:26 PM
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These answers are not unexpected, although I was hoping for something more ... hopeful.

Since we have only heard from one side so far, let's ask this a different way.

Suppose your side wins the presidency and both houses in 2020. How do you govern? Do you do whatever you want and pay no attention at all to the opposition, or do you try to include them in some meaningful way? And if you pick the first option, do you think that's a sustainable way to govern?
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Old Yesterday, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderick Femm View Post
These answers are not unexpected, although I was hoping for something more ... hopeful.

Since we have only heard from one side so far, let's ask this a different way.

Suppose your side wins the presidency and both houses in 2020. How do you govern? Do you do whatever you want and pay no attention at all to the opposition, or do you try to include them in some meaningful way? And if you pick the first option, do you think that's a sustainable way to govern?
I think on big issues, you need to try and implement the policy as you campaigned. So, if someone is elected, and has a congress in his corner (or her corner), then he/she should not get too side-tracked with bipartisan worries. To me, chasing bipartisanship on huge domestic issues is like chasing the golden unicorn. The caveat there is if the filibuster occurs in the Senate. At that point, you're forced to play ball with moderates from the other party - if they exist - or to pass bills using reconciliation. If a Democrat wins with both houses, but not a filibuster-proof Senate, then I would try to craft an ACA-fix bill and do reconciliation to get it passed.

There are a couple of issues where both sides can work together occasionally. I think this includes trade policy, and somewhat on foreign policy. Those are actually big issues, but there are occasionally glimmers of light....and even on those issues, the glimmers are weaker and weaker over time.
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