Bridging the great divide (partisan politics)

How would you go about bridging this seemingly insurmountable gap we have dividing our country?
Everything, in my view, has gotten so divisive and the media just seems to promote it. It’s working, at an alarming rate. What can be done?

I think my first proposal would be to more closely tie laws to more than a mere majority. Something like 2/3’s the house would be required to pass a law up to the senate.
I think this requires everyone to work together on law making and it would also (hopefully) limit what laws are deemed so important that they SHOULD pass. Would something seemingly so simple work?

I would also probably require Supreme Court Decisions to meet the same steep requirement (No 4-5 decisions)

I think multiple parties would be a good start. With only 2 parties, it is easy for any article to be bifurcated and defined by gulf between the extremes. And any 1-issue voter has to figure which of the 2 parties to align with.

On edit - of course political districting and the electoral college are HUGE impediments.

The only real way to do so would be a return to federalism.
If the tree huggers in California want to ruin the state with their liberalism, I shall shake my head ruefully, much as I do when I read about Venezuela. However, if those same tree huggers want to turn the whole country into Venezuela then sensible people will need to oppose them vociferously.
It is impossible for a country as large and diverse as the US to not have people in it who would like to be governed in vastly different ways. Federalism would allow this and thus give people less to fight about at the national level.
However, one party is almost wholly populated by busybodies who can’t stand the thought of anyone being allowed to govern themselves in a different way. One would think the thought of a Trump presidency would highlight the danger of centralization of power but apparently many are unteachable in this regard.

I know this is only a highjack, but, dude, the tree-huggers saved California. I remember when air visibility in Los Angeles was less than a mile, and when oil and tar were washing up on our beaches. Now, the air and water are clean. The tree-huggers did this; would you return us to the days of smog and tarballs?

But California does not and would not have the required 2/3’s they needed to turn the country into a “treehugger paradise”
Laws that I feel are important or worthwhile would reflect the will of that many people

Both parties in Congress need to ditch the culture wars, from both the right AND the left. Neither side should trump up small things to whip up the base (both D and R are guilty of this).

The next POTUS ought to build a consensus foreign policy (such as avoid ground military engagements, but don’t be perceived as apologizing to anyone or slighting popular allies), and if talking about race, take into account all sides and reflect a consensus view.

Plenty of examples around he world but the only way to save the USA is to stop treating some out-dated docs written by unqualified hacks 240 years ago with bizarre Wayne’s World scale reverence: get yourselves an off-the-shelf parliamentary democracy and join the sane world.

I think propaganda would be a great tool. I know it sounds terrible, but using media to influence a narrative that help sides work together. Wasn’t propaganda helpful in encouraging non-tanning in Australia? Stop fanning the flames of the base. Two big problems with that:

  1. Each side will say (probably correctly) that the other side is trying to push their beliefs.
  2. How not to come off like the boring education cartoons when compared to other media that do stoke those fires (you know, the cartoons they make to sell toys).

I would make all elections work like the mayoral elections in Portland, ME. Ranked choice voting, no parties.

There is no “insurmountable gap”. Americans fall on a spectrum of political beliefs, even if that gets exaggerated by a 2-party system. I don’t know where people get this idea that we were all one happy body politic at sometime in the golden past, but it never was that way and it never will be that way. This is what makes democracy so much “fun”.

Birds of a feather flock together

We are far more mobile today than just 100 years ago. Back then one pretty much lived in the community they were born into, so liberals and conservatives were more mixed together. Today it’s much easier to just pack and move to a community more in line with your own politics. So, we as a nation are creating enclaves within based on political temperament.

The partisan bickering we see in Congress is a reflection of who we are as a nation. If we want Congress to change, then we ourselves must change first. We have start by tolerating these “others” views. It’s absolutely none of California’s business whether Kansas teaches evolution in their public schools. It’s none of Kansas’ business whether University of California accepts Kansas high school diplomas. We need to quit telling other people what to think.

I’d like up_the_junction to expand on his comment about switching to a parliamentary system. My understanding is the EU parliament is fighting for survival, hardly a good example for the United States to follow. There’s many who think much of the problem here can be laid at Congress’ feet, expanding their powers seems the wrong thing to do.

I seriously doubt that a significant number of people “pack up and move” to a place because of their politics. People move for jobs, better weather, to be closer to their relatives, to be farther away from their relatives, but for political reasons? Not buying it.

You realize that these sort of issues are determined by state legislatures, Congress, federal executive-branch agencies, or the Supreme Court, right? The “culture wars” exist precisely because of things like Californians thinking it’s totally unacceptable for Kansas-ites / -onians / -(?) to ignore their marriage licenses. It would be wonderful if we could all agree to start tolerating “others” views, but I think it’s as unlikely as Trump and Clinton shacking up together.

This is good if you don’t want anything to get passed. This favors conservatives.

The parties will work together to defeat any effort at electoral reform. Also, one problem with multiple parties is that during coalition building the larger blocs need to pander to smaller, more extreme parties, giving them more power than they might otherwise obtain.

Both parties believe in an absolute morality. The right isn’t OK with abortions or gay rights or restricting gun rights anywhere. The left isn’t OK with disenfranchising minorities or lax environmental regulations anywhere.

Good luck convincing people to stop caring about their rights.

Right now the House can not get 51% to pass a budget! You think needing 67% would make it more likely to pass a budget? One ideology — which IMHO is a very bg part of the problem — is that by default teh government is teh bad bad eevul. In fact, many on the right deliberately hamstring government to make it appear more inefficient than it need be. Is that your plan?

As for more than 51% being needed for legal appeals, I suppose the next step would be to ban appeals altogether. :smack:

And here in a nutshell is a BIG part of the problem. The other party wants to “ruin” us, while we are “sensible.” I’m also guilty of this: I read comments like the above and find it to be the ruinous, non-sensible thinking. (Or am I giving puddleglum too little credit? Was his a tongue-in-cheek parody to display the problem?)

I’d agree with this IF by “flocking together” you mean flocking to shared opinions on social media and cable news, and by “far more mobile” you mean the ability to virtually travel thousands of miles with the click of a mouse-button on the Internet.

But if you mean people “voting with their feet” and leaving a red-state for a blue-state or vice versa, I think you’ve got it backwards. High mobility is reducing geography-based polarization; it’s self-selection of opinion on the Internet which increases polarization.

I’m not saying ‘abandon the separation of powers’ but one weakness of the US system I feel is that the Executive has no direct means of arguing its corner in either House of Congress. In many European countries the Executive is in the chamber directly and rebutting arguments. The US Executive seems reliant on sympathetic Senators/Reps making their own arguments, but would it benefit from a more focussed atmosphere of direct challenge?

More adversial, however, so I may be completely wrong.

However chalk me up for electoral reform. Both the US and the UK need it.

Of course this hatred of the other manifests itself slightly in the UK, where I hear the ‘all Tories are scum’ adage quite a lot. Only among some, mind.

The only place where people move for political reason is between Vermont and New Hampshire since they’re so close to each other and so small.

Pendulums swing. And sometimes gaps are self-correcting. I would let this one work its own way out.

Trump, representing one portion of the divide, is on course for a loss of historic proportion and clearly intends to be positioned to take a good share of the 20 or 30% who really support him (as opposed to merely disliking HRC more or loyally voting GOP) out of the GOP into some TrumpNewsNetwork/Party going forward. It will wither fairly quickly but it will leave a GOP in a rebranding phase accepting some of their culture war losses and aiming more for the middle and to make themselves less unacceptable to various minorities, college educated women, and so on. The Democrats won’t (cannot) cede the space, will lose some of it, and will, having won most of the culture wars, have to adjust their messaging as well.

There will still be (and should be) divides but the only GOP that can exist as a competitive party a decade from now is one that has successfully become less toxic to the group’s that Trump has driven not only out of the tent but off their entire section of the fairgrounds.

As for those who stick with the TrumpNewsNetwork/Party … they’ll have their own little echo chamber. There is no bridging to them; only marginalizing them. Oh both other parties can and should address the actual just concerns they have: how the emerging economy is leaving many of them (yes, mostly non-college educated Whites, especially males) further behind, but one cannot and should not bridge to the mindsets that are either really for Trump or for Tea Party and their no compromise burn the whole thing down philosophies.

They simply lose.

By the way - there is some solid evidence that while the parties are more polarized, the public in fact is not.

I’d add that while few are likely moving in order to be near those who are like minded, those who are like minded are choosing to live near each other.

Consider Austin Texas. It’s become increasingly Democratic (went Obama by over 60% in 2012 in that county). People are not moving there to be near other Democrats. Demographically it has become a majority-minority city and many younger more liberal voters are moving in there for lots of reasons. They are not moving in order to sort by political POV but sorting still occurs.

Moreover as children of rural areas go off and get college educations they get exposed more to some less conservative ideas. They more often get jobs after college in non-rural areas, and live either in cities or suburbs exposed to less conservative others. Those who do return to live in the rural areas (or who are left behind, not getting a college education) are more likely to be conservative.

Is there anything that can be done to undo the echo-chamber tendencies of social media like Twitter? Looking forward, it harms everyone, not just Trumpers. I dislike the idea of government intervention but is there a way of changing these search algorithms that are used to force people to face alternative viewpoints?