The United States Congress has become almost incapable of passing meaningful legislation that involves both parties. As a result, the party in charge has been able to block legislation and executive power, based solely on party loyalty. Moreover, this same party can also craft bills in secret, use bribes and scare tactics to obtain the needed votes to pass bills, and exercise mechanisms like the nuclear option to secure Supreme Court Justice appointments.
In 6 questions answered about ‘the nuclear option,’ the filibuster, and supreme court nominations, L. Jacobson (2017) explained that the nuclear option is a “procedural shortcut” that senators can use to avoid the 60 votes needed to pass bills. At various times, both major U.S. political parties have used this nuclear option although, at the time of one party’s use, the other party has decided it does not like that option. This is an example of the polarization of the current Congress.
As a reflection of this polarization, elections for Congress have also become more contentious and expensive. For example, what was once considered state elections have become national, specifically in the Democratic Party. The DNC and affiliated organizations emailed me every day for months about Jon Ossoff’s election in Georgia, even though I live in Missouri. I also received emails about the special election in Kansas.
Neither party has a concrete strategy to appeal to voters at the moment, which could explain the low voter turnout for Election 2016. Republicans run for office on the premise of repealing Obamacare. Democrats’ only bullet point is they are not Republicans. Both parties have lost their messaging.
I sit on the board of a statewide not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the vision of quality healthcare for all Missourians. The staff and board recently participated in a retreat and one staff member shared with us that he knows several young people who would love to start their own business but, fear being without a viable healthcare option.
Republicans have traditionally been the party to promote such entrepreneurship and the desire to start businesses and get ahead. It would be much more productive if the two parties could get past their differences, govern within their constitutionally provided powers, and work together to solve our country’s dilemmas such as healthcare.
Power is useless if it does not move our country forward. Running for an office simply for the sake of running with plans to obstruct the other party is wasteful and nonsensical.