Yogi Berra supposedly said, “You wouldn’t have won if we’d beaten you.” Berra’s convoluted logic applies to Washington now. Elections produce winners, but losers don’t concede and cooperate, while winners bypass benevolence and avoid compromise.
The Hill reported this week that immigration reform, which the country badly needs and the Congress has quarreled about for years, is already off the table until the next election.
“Democrats say they are content to take the issue into 2020, when Democratic voters are projected to turn out in large numbers and two pivotal Senate races will be fought in states with large Hispanic populations: Arizona and Colorado,” The Hill reported.
But don’t just blame the Democrats. President Trump rallied his Republican base by repeatedly referring to the migrant caravan as an “invasion.”
As The Hill reported, “Immigration was a good issue for Senate Republicans in the midterm elections, but Democrats see it as a winner for them in 2020 and have little desire to negotiate on the issue in the lame-duck session or next year.”
Immigration is just one example, but there are plenty more. Remember how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court? McConnell argued that the choice should be held up until after the Presidential election.
And that’s the problem. There is always a “next election.” The election cycle is constant, driven by the parties’ mutually exclusive obsessions of maintaining power and regaining power.
But power to do what, exactly? Raise more money for campaigns? Find even more ways to manipulate the base, while vilifying the opposition? The two main parties and their well-heeled interest groups are so devoid of meaningful ideas to inspire voters that they must try to win elections by convincing voters that the other side is evil incarnate.
The result is that we do nothing about immigration, budget deficits explode, infrastructure crumbles, health care costs spiral out of control, while the average America worries—not without reason—what their children and grandchildren will inherit. (The rare exception to gridlock might be a crime bill.)
Is the system broken? Of course it is, and it will remain broken as long as the primary force driving our political system is the next election.