Authored by Ryan Lafler
Politics is a bloodsport, pure and simple- with the primary goal dedicated to raising money, campaigning, and recruiting supporters, all in an effort to secure an elected-seat and to run for reelection in a rinse-and-repeat cycle.
Whether for the Presidency, Congressional or state and local positions, it seems that the word “compromise” has been purged from today’s political dictionary.
As defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary, compromise is the “settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions”. If possible, try applying this word to politics in the twenty-first century, particularly on critical issues facing the economy, healthcare, and immigration reform– the unfortunate truth is, you can’t.
There was an era when compromise was a requirement for elected officials, when crossing party lines and authoring legislation in a bipartisan fashion was normal around the Washington D.C. beltway.
Only look back to Ronald Reagan, when the nation’s President and top-Republican worked with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill to promote the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which focused on closing tax havens and loopholes while lowering the corporate tax rate from 50% to 28%.
President Bill Clinton, the Democrat from Arkansas, even crossed the aisle to secure the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with a majority of Republican Congressional support in 1993.
However, fast forward to the aftermath of the Invasion of Iraq- and that spirit of compromise entirely left the D.C. beltway, being replaced with a new era consisting of Democrats and Republicans resorting to insults and name-calling on the controversial issues affecting all Americans.
For example, President Obama’s passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 received absolutely no support from Congressional Republicans, only to pass through the Democratic majority within the House and Senate. Fast forward to 2016, with the passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, top Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, refused to hold confirmation hearings regarding President Obama’s appointment to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.
Historically, the political pendulum swings from the left to right and vice versa with each election depending on conditions immediately affecting American voters. However, the swings have become more extreme, showing signs of serious dysfunction for the future of our nation. Democratic and Republican politicians alike are to blame for the sharp divides in today’s political ideology, which have given rise to the never-compromising Resist Trump and Tea Party movements.
Hopefully, for the sake of our country’s future generations, we can usher in a new era of bipartisanship and political reform with the ultimate goal of removing “compromise” from one of the words to censor, to one of the most looked-up terms in today’s political dictionary.