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  1. #1
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    This post inspired by: Divided We Stand: The Polarizing of American Politics



    Gone are the days when American politicians worked together to promote a framework of government that fairly contemplates the diversity of needs within its society. To a great extent, those who vote, (as well as most of those who merely ride along,) have embraced a strikingly partisan view of the world that is quite often predisposed according to the overall political affinity already established in whatever specific geographic location they find themselves. A century and a half ago it was all about blue and grey – today it’s all about red and blue.

    “The Democrats control the cities, most of the coasts and sizable chunks of the Midwest, while the GOP dominates rural areas and most of the flyover zones between the coasts. On the other's turf, it is difficult for the minority party to win any elections, leading to not only a loss of political competition but even a minimal debate of important issues.”


    Nowadays it’s all about winning elections, holding power, and preventing those who represent any opposing party from participating in the debate or subsequent formulation of policy. We generally desire to be a part of “the winning team” and tender our affiliations according to some cummulative amalgamation of principles and values that we perceive to associate with “our place” in the world. Meanwhile, we think that nobody will notice the dramatic increase for scotch-tape in our company’s office supply orders during the month of December.

    Most of us appreciate the fact that the people of Iraq need to take responsibility for their own future; however, few of us recognize how that lingo parallels a fairly predominate opinion within our own society that “the government should not make any special effort to help blacks because they should help themselves.” Almost all of us think we comprehend legitimate ways to “help ourselves,” but alas~ some are more astute in recognizing the mechanics of doing so. After all, the only obvious criminals are the individuals who get caught.


    So we set about the task of defining our affiliations and lambasting whatever lies beyond the perimeter of our physical and social familiarity. It’s actually quite easy and carefree. Just don’t ever concede anything [at all whatsoever] – and never, ever miss an opportunity to impune a prejudice against those not within the realm of your own circle.

    And speaking of circles … If astronomers were to announce the discovery of a giant asteroid on a collision-course with our Earth, would the diversity of people inhabiting this planet suddenly recognize the value in working together toward a common solution – or would we remain adamant to maintain the vigilence of our established social and political divisions?




    • Are the Democratic and Republican parties too focused on their respective base voters?


    • Should the political parties be more broad-based and pursue compromise rather than polarization?


    • Is the difficulty for minority parties to win elections leading to a loss of political competition and does that also limit debate of important issues?





    .

  2. #2

    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    I don't think that the Democratic base is all that influential. After all, we (gays) are considered to be part of the base, and we are pretty reasonable. (most of us) The right and the radical Christians are another story all together, they consider themselves "principled" in their objectives which justifies them being unprincipled in their means.

  3. #3
    1,000th post? Customize!! Homoaffectional's Avatar
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by iman View Post
    I don't think that the Democratic base is all that influential.
    Part of the reason is that Democratic districts are often as gerry-mandered as the re-thugs' districts are. Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and many others whose districts comprise part of a major urban center do *NOT* need to win by 75-80% every single election cycle. They'll still be OK with 65-68% election rates, and surrounding districts could make use of an increase of 3-5% in the number of registered Dems there.

    A few months ago, I was the only one working on redoing the districts so that there are more competitive districts (had the Busby/Bilbray race been done in a more even-handed district, Bilbray wouldn't have been able to rig it), but even the congressional Democrats that have a say in the redrawing of their own districts are finally beginning to warm to the possibility...

  4. #4
    Toriko
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    opinterph, great post (as usual), but sadly I've noticed your questions have went ignored---perhaps when a request for reasonable discourse is met with excuses or condemnation of "them guys" then the answer to your question in the picture can safely be assumed is "strategy".

  5. #5
    In Loving Memory JayHew's Avatar
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    ^^^^I was going to say, point of the article and likely reason for posting it have so far been well missed.

  6. #6
    1,000th post? Customize!! Homoaffectional's Avatar
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by JayHew View Post
    ^^^^I was going to say, point of the article and likely reason for posting it have so far been well missed.
    Perhaps it's because the article is generally wrong. The article tries to cite both parties as being unwilling to compromise, when it's really the Republicans have run rough shod, not over the opposition party, but the voice of the American people for the past 6 years.

    The Republicans won't ever listen to the article itself, unless they're forced to. But the article wants to try to shame the Democrats, when the overwhelming majority have basically gone along with whatever Bush and the neocons want for the longest time. If anything, the Dems have been compromising too much.

    Now if this article might have actually cited how the Bush-cons have not just written off entire states & parties within their own country, but entire nations, perhaps so many respondents to this thread wouldn't be 'missing the point' of said article...

  7. #7

    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    How come the guys complaining about posts not answering the threads questions don't answer them either?

    Anyway, I think the Republicans are pretty much held captive to their base, it's the only way they win elections. However, once in office the Republicans don't do much more than occasionally placate their base. One could make a good case that the right wing Christians are one of the more exploited groups in the country. The Christian Crazies get a lot of hand jobs from the Republicans, but not much else.

    Both parties have to broaden their appeal enough to win elections, but not so much that the differences disappear.

    The Republican party is barely a party, it is really a conglomeration of disparite groups; Christian Crazies, rural folk, conservative ideologues, and the business class. I can't see a future where that coalition holds together.

    Are the complainers going to answer the threads questions? I hate to bring up the terrible topic of hypocrisy.

  8. #8
    Toriko
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by iman View Post
    Are the complainers going to answer the threads questions? I hate to bring up the terrible topic of hypocrisy.
    Very well, although the real problems with which the questions are concerned have more to do with partisans and thus unapplicable to me.

    In the order of questions asked (and I guess I'll be the first to actually answer them):

    - Possibly although the question is unfairly forcing an assumed collective response, but impending destruction is hard to gauge historically. Biblically you have Nineveh that collectively threw itself to prevent disaster, but the Second Coming didn't really bother too many. And there are those that don't believe in science that just won't care.

    - They are too focused on their own self-importance with token nods of recognition to issues only for campaigning.

    - Sure, or they could actually show an interest in the general success of this nation as a whole.

    - Of course, not to mention pretending that America is only as diverse as two choices is absurd, false, and logically fallacious.

    - Conscience, from the extremely limited, typically disappointing choices.

  9. #9
    Virtus in medio stat JUB Admin opinterph's Avatar
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by JayHew View Post
    … [The] point of the article and likely reason for posting it have so far been well missed.
    The reason someone decided to post the article really doesn’t matter. If anyone discovers something of interest in the post, then we should all be happy that it may also generate an opportunity for productive discussion.

    I actually stumbled upon the essay during a search to isolate a term to appropriately describe the “Democratic Party’s base.” It seems that the Republican Party’s base is fairly easily identified, but there really isn’t a clearly-defined description for the Democratic base. The essay describes the Democratic base as follows:

    The Democratic base is largely composed of a diverse array of minorities, young people, and unions who want the government to lend a helping hand, whether for affirmative action, lower tuition, health care and pensions, greater regulatory enforcement, and a host of other ways that can only be realized by an activist government.


    Quote Originally Posted by iman View Post
    I don't think that the Democratic base is all that influential. After all, we (gays) are considered to be part of the base, and we are pretty reasonable. (most of us) The right and the radical Christians are another story all together, they consider themselves "principled" in their objectives which justifies them being unprincipled in their means.
    With respect to the means of achieving objectives, I think we must appreciate the fact that a substantial subset of Americans heartily endorses the concept that “the end justifies the means.” In this respect, the overall concept of “reasonable” becomes quite subjective. It is one thing to be “principled,” but an appropriate mechanism of that fulfillment is quite dependent upon perspective.

    In terms of influence, perhaps the most appropriate way to measure such a thing is the degree to which a political base responds to its party’s need for support at the ballot box.


    Quote Originally Posted by Homoaffectional View Post
    … Democratic districts are often as gerry-mandered as the re-thugs' districts are. Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and many others whose districts comprise part of a major urban center do *NOT* need to win by 75-80% every single election cycle. They'll still be OK with 65-68% election rates, and surrounding districts could make use of an increase of 3-5% in the number of registered Dems there.
    The essay suggests that gerrymandering is inadequate to explain the extremely predictable “one-party fiefdoms” / “regional partisan Balkanization” of American’s voting patterns--by region, by office, and by party.”


    Note that this is not the result of partisan gerrymandering during the redistricting process, which some observers cite as an explanation for a lack of political competition. No, this is something new and different in which partisan residential patterns--where people live--is outstripping the ability of the mapmakers to greatly affect the outcome of elections. Each legislative district, whether at federal or state levels, has been branded either red Republican or blue Democrat before a single vote is even cast, or before the partisan line-drawers sit down at their computers, purely because of where people live.

    Also note that this phenomenon is not happening uniformly in every state. Certainly in states like Texas, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, partisan gerrymanders have impacted election results since 2001. But in most other states, even states like Arizona, Iowa and Washington which employ independent redistricting commissions of one sort or another, regional partisan demographics have bedeviled any attempts to create more competitive elections.
    The essay also addresses your intuitive point relating to the margin required for victory:

    Republicans have figured something out: in a winner-take-all system, they don't need to win everybody's vote, they just need one more vote than their opponent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Homoaffectional View Post
    … the article is generally wrong. The article tries to cite both parties as being unwilling to compromise, when it's really the Republicans [who] have run rough shod, not over the opposition party, but the voice of the American people for the past 6 years.
    The article/essay does not focus upon the relative successes or failures of the current administration, but attempts to relate the current situation, (pertaining to our system of elections,) to an identifiable trend which [arguably] suggests that political polarization is proving to be the more successful method among possible approaches. For example, it notes how the so-called “Southern strategy” employed by the Nixon campaign set-the-stage for a continuing general effort to use racial fears as an effective wedge-issue to exploit weaknesses within the opposing party’s coalition.

    The essay itself does NOT suggest that the Democratic Party has exhibited unwillingness to compromise, politically; however, its opening remarks point to public opinion polls which DO suggest that Americans generally perceive that “the two parties are too focused on their respective base voters and that, as a result, compromise has become impossible in Washington, DC.” Please also note that the final major heading within the essay is titled “Will Democrats begin mimicking GOP strategy?”.

  10. #10
    General_Alfie
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by opinterph View Post
    • Are the Democratic and Republican parties too focused on their respective base voters?


    • Should the political parties be more broad-based and pursue compromise rather than polarization?


    • Is the difficulty for minority parties to win elections leading to a loss of political competition and does that also limit debate of important issues?





    .
    Thank you for another thoughtful post, op.

    I pretty much agree with Homo -- the problem isn't that Dems don't want to make nice, or that Dems have forgotten how to work and play well with others. The problem is that the GOP wants to exterminate any opposition and to become the permanent majority. These people are dangerous and they need to be restrained -- one can't do that through therapy sessions or rehabilitative arts and crafts projects.

    The GOP has gone hog-wild crazy -- I don't know if it's bad drugs or bad genes, but that party is out of control and unaccountable to the nation. When the drugs finally wear off, when the kool aid has been flushed from their system, perhaps we can all have a group hug, but until then, Dems need to watch America's back.



  11. #11
    Clowns Rule!
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    I do miss the days when people could differ philosophically on the issues and still enjoy a beer together afterwards. But I think it would be an error to pin the problem equally on the Dems and the GOP. The GOP, and the Bush cronies in particular, are the ones that squandered a united America that rose up in support of our President after 9/11. It was Bush who claimed his "mandate" of barely 50% of the Nation was all he needed to ignore the other 50%.

    As late as the '90's we saw key republicans placed in leadership positions by President Clinton. And even as late as two years ago there was a serious discussion on the dems part to reach out to John McCain as being the VP on a Kerry ticket.

    No, the lion's share of blame rests solely on the GOP, and I look forward to when we can get back to the business of the Nation, and away from the political posturing that has become the norm.
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  12. #12
    General_Alfie
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Quote Originally Posted by snapcat View Post

    [...]


    No, the lion's share of blame rests solely on the GOP, and I look forward to when we can get back to the business of the Nation, and away from the political posturing that has become the norm.
    That's not going to happen any time soon.

    The GOP will perhaps have a chance to show America how "cooperative" they can be when the Dems take the House this year. Let's see how cooperative the Republicans are as Speaker Pelosi hand-delivers subpoenas to each and every member of the Bush administration. Let's see how ready the Republicans are for compromise when the Democrats seek to restore fiscal balance to the federal budget. Let's see how kind, cheerful and courteous they are when they are the so-called "loyal" opposition. The only people who understand "compromise" are those who are actively engaged in the real world of life, which means the GOP has a whole new universe to explore: to these people, compromise is a sign of weakness. This is madness, of course, but that's what we'll be facing. And even if a Democrat were to win the WH in '08, the "Cry Me A River Republicans," as the Pope calls them, aren't going to just go away (even though that's a great idea) and they aren't going to be in any better mood to cooperate.





  13. #13
    JUB Addicts turtle's Avatar
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    Re: The Lost Art of Political Compromise

    Just one quick thought.

    When you compromise with people who insist on moving backward, you are held back.

    How long can we consent to be held back by a minority, and to what degree and in which ways?

    There are, by the way, just about twice as many liberal democrats as there are religious conservative republicans, by the Pew Center's reckoning.

    -D

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