|The Capitol when first occupied by Congress |
(painting circa 1800 by William Russell Birch)
Part of the fault accrues to us - the electorate. Instead of choosing pragmatic ethical centrists who work towards the betterment of our country we elect the demagogues who spend all their time criticizing the other party.
Congressman used to make coalitions across party lines. Democrats would work with Republicans on important issues. We still have some of that but for the most part to work with the other side makes you vulnerable to a challenge within your party. Gridlock ensues.
What can we do about it?
1. Elect pragmatic, competent effective people - not shrill partisans.
2. Vote in the primary. At present primaries are primarily decided by the most partisan active voters. The moderates often duck the primary, letting the far right decide the Republican primaries and the far left decide the Democratic primaries.
3. Support a reform in Congress that requires 60 percent of the vote in the House and the Senate to elect the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. In most cases this will eliminate the shrill partisans - a centrist will be elected who works with both sides of the aisle.
All three recommendations are difficult. It is hard not to vote for the guy who promises to give the other party hell. And the political party in power would not want the 60 percent requirement.
But we as voters should try work on all three recommendations.
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