Constructive political compromise -- possible? Desirable?

Now this. I think I will need to give this up as quixotic at best.

But I have to say I am not sanguine about the future of our country. It’s not that I think we can’t come back for a while from the poison of 45. But I fear the improvements will be on the surface mostly, and the underlying ugly divide will just get worse.

Trump is the symptom, not the cause. Complaining about the searing pain in your side instead of the appendix about to explode. Sure, the pain makes things much more noticeable, but you could, say, Sedate the country with pretty much any nice guy politician, and that appendix is still gonna explode.

This is becoming pretty much a global phonemenon btw.

Why, thank you for your enlightening and so original post. I can’t imagine what I meant by “the underlying ugly divide” when of course I thought that 45 was the whole and entire problem in himself. I can’t imagine why I had any need to worry about the future when all we need to do is vote him out of office (and hopefully into a penitentiary). Because I haven’t a brain cell in my pretty little head.

Wow, Is there some underlying reason you’re attacking me? I can’t imagine that having an unoriginal thought would warrant that. My post was not in the least bit a critique of you or your line of thinking. Simply my observation, as unoriginal as it may seem. My apologies.

Because the methods to address those issues would not be accepted by the Right because they are not based on “Old Testament - punishment methodology” or the ever so lovely “I got mine, screw you ideology”. The war on drugs, how’d that work out? Other nations have addressed these issues through treatment of the users and punishment of the suppliers. News flash: no one wants to be an addict. Oh but there’s that pesky mantra of those who just cum in their pants over the concept of “punishing those who made poor decisions”. Using my best drawl…“that’ll learn 'em”.

Job loss? Well there’s training. Ah, again here’s the rub. Businesses want a well trained efficient work force but don’t want to spend a penny seeing that it exists. They’d rather let foreigners in who had their higher educations paid for by governments who actually support education than pay to see education actually made a priority here.

Do not say or imply that your fellow posters achieve sexual gratification or soil themselves in glee/distress due to recent news reports, political iconography, contemplation of ideological positions, etc. I see the slight variation in referring to “the right” but never the less, refrain from this type of base sexual commentary.



You said it for me but better.

When one side refuses to ratify a supreme court judge for no reason except that they can? The system is broken but it isn’t the Dems who broke it.

I’m going to ask again – where do you go from there? I am so not interested in blame for where we are (although you are right about that, but it’s in the past and we can’t change the past), I am interested in what people think are viable ways to get somewhere better, and to keep it better longer term. Dems may smash the R’s in 2020, but look out for 2022, and here we are again. Dems may do well for the next 8 years, but look out for 2028, someone who’ll make 45 look like the good old days. And so it goes…down.

So if Dems can’t compromise with Republicans because Republicans don’t play fair, what are the specific and concrete ways they can work to steer the ship of state in a better direction?

For my money, if the Dems get the Presidency and both houses next year, they should spend all their energy for two years on election reform. They should force the Republicans to filibuster every time and not just give in to the threat. Make the R’s sing out loud about how they like the corruption that we have now, and shame them before the voters. This is me being naive and idealistic, but if there is one thing that would make me think there’s hope, it’s this.

I don’t think this is an accurate narrative though.
I think it’s more accurate to say we have a party that doesn’t compromise, and a party that weakly kow tows over and over again, because they are too concerned with appearing fair. And then the media “both sides” it anyway.

(I’m not saying the dems should break the rules, just insist that the rules get followed and hammer the republicans for not doing so, instead of constantly ceding ground)

Agree, but I guess I am more pessimistic than you right now.
We long ago (in fact, I would say, before the election) jumped the shark of terrible misconduct that should have been punished by the electorate. And we regularly see shameful events somehow spun as positives on fox news.

The world we live in now is just one where politicians only need to tell a compelling story within a particular bubble. Not care about reality and what might be good for the country.

I confess my wording was deliberate. And I like the way you put the solution (hammering the Republicans instead of rolling over).

Among other distinctions, Tom Nichols was the Chairman of National Security Affairs and the Forrest Sherman Chair of Public Diplomacy at the U.S. Naval War College.

“Compromise”? Is it to laugh.

I don’t dispute anything he says. So then what?

It’s not enough to say how bad Republicans and the Republican Party have become. It’s not enough to say they have abandoned any and all principles that they once (said they) believed in, it’s not enough to dump them out of office by the cartload next year.

Someone has to figure out what’s next. Because this cult is not going to die, no matter what happens to 45 himself; when he dies or goes to prison or retires to the country, there will be a vacuum left which will quickly be filled, and so it goes.

I know I started out this thread talking about compromise as a way of survival for the nation. If everyone concludes that compromise is not possible now and forever, then you’ll end up trying to govern a country at least 30% of which hates your guts. I can’t see that leading to anything very good.

…you see: this just confuses me.

Just an hour ago the official Twitter account for White House posted this:

Accompanied by an animation with the tag “Drain the Swamp” and “Happy Halloween from the White House.”

Can you really not figure out what is going to have to happen next? Can you not see that the government of the United States of America has descended into a state of bat-shit partisan insanity? You want us to debate “both sides” when one side is making jokes about “Schiffty ghouls?”

Over the last two years Republicans have tried to implement total abortion bans. They managed to implement a toned-down-version of the so-called Muslim ban. They separated thousands of families at the borders with no plans to reunite them. They’ve built and they house immigration detainees in fucking concentration camps. They betrayed the Kurds. They are stacking the courts, accelerating the process to the nth degree and are bypassing well established norms. The administration routinely ignores legal request from the House, instructs its people to not co-operate, and uses outside agents to negotiate instead of people within the State Department. The US government is essentially being run by temp workers. Entire departments are understaffed. There is evidence of wide-spread corruption, of lax security protocols, of interference from foreign governments. They are doing nothing to protect the integrity of the next elections. They are attacking the rights of the LGBT community, going after the “T” first and foremost.

All with the absolute approval of the Republican Party. There is barely any dissent. This is exactly what they want.

And to be quite frank: this is only scratching the surface.

This is blitzkrieg. Designed to overwhelm and bypass the very fabric of what America claims to be all about. Its a direct attack on the constitution, on the norms of what have been built up since your nation was founded.

So are you really asking us to figure out what happens next?

What happens next is if the Republicans win the Presidency again all of this continues: except it gets worse. It all accelerates. They take control of the Supreme Court. They continue to stack the rest of the courts. Voter suppression increases. Refugee numbers slow to a trickle. America continues down the road to authoritarianism.

We are talking about the party that said “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, 'Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.” This is the party that won’t vote on bills sent to them from the House. They have made almost zero effort to reach out to the other side, to compromise. So why are you insisting, that in the future, the Democrats should have some sort of a plan to reach out and “make nice?”

If you oppose this: then the only rational and reasonable way forward is to vote the fuckers out of office. And that doesn’t just mean the Presidency. That means everywhere. The senate, the house, the school board, the local council. Because you are right: “the cult is never going to die”. They will always be fighting to take away the rights of the marginalised and put power and wealth in the hands of the powerful. The only way forward is to shut them out of the debate. Vote them out. Then change the system. There is no other way forward.

You talk about compromise at a time when the very fabric of your democracy is at stake. What happens next? You need to decide what kind of country you want to live in, then vote accordingly.

I would suggest to you that there has always been 20-30% of the country that “hates your guts.” Its the group that will vote to ban abortion, it is the group that empowers white supremacy, its the group that doesn’t think trans people have the right to exist, its the group that is perfectly happy with concentration camps. And that group has control over the executive branch and the senate, and are working to take over the judiciary. We can see what they want. We know what they do when they have power. You can negotiate with them. Or you can marginalize them. They have shown over-and-over again an inability to negotiate in good faith. If you think that negotiation is the best path forward, then its really over to **you **to show us all how it could be done rather than complaining that “someone has to figure out what happens next”.

You really didn’t read the whole post you quoted from, did you? Or perhaps you can find where I said I wanted anyone to debate both sides.

You have the beginnings of a response in there, if that’s what you intended. “Or you can marginalize them.” Since nearly everyone in this thread is convinced that there is no meaningful negotiating or compromise possible, you seem to be suggesting that marginalizing that portion of the population is the only course left. Assume that’s possible: can you flesh out that approach? What does that mean and how would it work? What’s that going to look like in 5 or 10 or 20 years?

I already said upthread that I give up on the idea of negotiated compromise. So that leaves me with the question that I’ve been asking since then – assuming that it is possible to regain control of the government, what comes next? I’m not the first one to ask the question. Answers, though, or even suggestions, are pretty thin on the ground. Lots of gnashing and frothing, but not much “let’s sit down and think about this.”

I and others have argued that “social justice” in America may have moved too far and too fast, instilling irrational bitterness in left-behind whites. This opinion is met with scorn here at SDMB; and that ship may have already sailed. By now, demagogues and kleptocrats have seized on the irrational bitterness and are exploiting it for their selfish purposes. Much of the American media and opinion makers are now fully, but cynically, embracing racial hatreds, lies and even criminality. I don’t think I need concoct a lurid parable of marital strife to suggest that the course forward must involve compassionate intervention, not compromise. Germany and South Africa are countries which recovered successfully from even more severe problems. The time is ripe to study their solutions.

I’ve started threads identifying a key problem with American discourse, but Dopers have been more interested in deprecating my common-sense than in devising solutions. Here’s another look at the problem — “What Europe can teach America about free speech”. The author presents no easy answers … but doesn’t speak of “compromise.”

…of course I read the whole post.

I used “” for “both sides” for a reason.

Incorrect. You have the total of my response there, not just “the beginnings.”

“Seems to be suggesting.”


What part of “vote the fuckers out of office” are you failing to understand? I would have thought that “Vote them out. Then change the system” would have been a pretty straightforward message. I’m not “seeming to suggest” anything. I’m outright suggesting something. White supremacists? Marginalise. Anti-vaxers? Marginalise. Anti-muslim and anti-immigration? Marginalise. Kick trans people out of the military? Marginalise. It seems pretty straight-forward to me.

Lets put it back to your OP. What are your plans for protecting the right to an abortion? How do you plan to shut down the concentration camps? What is your plan to negotiate? What do you suggest be compromised? Can you even attempt to flesh out how you think things should work? How would you negotiate with the Republicans? And why isn’t this thread about why the Republicans won’t negotiate with the Democrats?

What part of my post are you struggling to understand? I’m being serious here. I’ve literally answered your question as clearly as I could have. At the risk of being accused of Godwinning the thread, these are the questions that were being asked in Germany during the 1930’s. This administration is sliding towards authoritarianism and the Republicans in power are cheering them on. There comes a point that yes, you actually do have to choose a side. And I believe that we are at that point now.

So what comes next? You decide what you want America to be. Then you vote accordingly. You pick a side. That is what comes next. I don’t have a comfortable, clean answer for you. This is going to get messy, it is going to get nasty.

I think the clearest example of Republican obstructionism is opposition they expressed against delaying the ACA employer mandate.

Based on their rhetoric, it would seem that back in 2013 the Republicans thought the ACA and the employer mandate provisions in the ACA were bad for America. Therefore, one would think that the notion that implementing that provision right away would hurt employers would be one that the Republicans would be more likely to believe than the Democrats. Yet when the Democrats tried to alleviate the damage by delaying implementation the Republicans raised holy hell. They knew that employers weren’t ready, they knew that immediate implementation would hurt Americans, but they were hoping that Democrats would get blamed for it. So they did whatever they could to maximize the pain.

Its very hard to work together with a party for the greater good of the nation, if that party would gladly sacrifice the well fare of the nation if it means that you get hurt.

Let’s presume a miracle happens and we actually are successful in completely retaking the government. Democrats take the white house and Republican insertion into both houses of congress is reduced to 30% or less. (Note: I have no idea if that’s mathematically possible based on who’s up for election. I did say was talking miracles here.)

Faced with the sudden cessation of literally anti-american obstructionism and deliberate destruction, the reconstruction process begins. First the government is restored, with demagogues removed from all departments and staff increased to full levels. From there move on to things that can be corrected by straightforward department action, like the handling of refugees.

Meanwhile, use the overwhelming congressional control to pass explicit laws making it illegal for members of government to commit crimes and engage in treason. (Yes, I know this shouldn’t be necessary. Shut up.) Follow this up with opening investigations into everybody who’s been doing that for the past several years. This will probably get rid of most of the rest of the republican congressmen, and as an incidental side effect take out most of Trump’s family.

Steps are taken to make localized gerrymandering and voter suppression illegal at the federal level. States that resist should be met with the standard response to state rebellion: threat of removal of funding. Federal policies aimed at suppressing voters should be revoked, and policies that aid in opening up the vote should be implemented and encouraged, like absentee ballots and election day holidays. Russian and Republican interference with our physical election processes should be investigated and prevented (obviously).

The procedural filibuster should be eliminated by law.

The congress should consider the merits of impeaching judges, specifically to correct the recent screwing around and interference with the normal confirmation process. Ideally this wouldn’t be abused beyond that.

News networks and other public figures (yes, including politicians) should be made legally accountable for deliberately lying, either as slander, fraud, or sabotage of the societal good, with third parties able to initiate the suit in the latter case. The first step of such cases would have to be proving with high certainty that the statements were false, followed by a medium certainty burden of proof regarding whether the lies were deliberate. Yes, Musk would need to watch his ass, but so would prominent anti-vaxers, anti-climaters, and most of Fox News. (This would also have interesting effects on the advertising industry.)

I’m currently debating with myself what should, or can, be done about Russian trolls. Anything I can think of sort of boils down to “regulate the internet”, which would be problematic at best. I’ll just leave this alone and hope that if foreign shit-stirrers are robbed of their local lying allies they’ll lose influence.
Around now is where you ask me, what are we going to do about the insane bigoted scumbags that make up Trump’s base? Well, some of them are going to have gone out and committed murder/suicide when Trump didn’t win. These people will either be dead or incarcerated. To the remainder we do…nothing. Or at least nothing to get rid of them. There have always been shitty people, and while that hasn’t been great, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is when they get into government - and I’m enough of an optimist to believe that if we fix the voter interference that has been going on, the assholes will end up marginalized naturally because, seriously, 30% is not a majority.

I doubt it because in the US one problem is the party out of power is really rooting for the one in power to mess up or the countries economy to be in bad shape.