Politics Is Contentious Because So Much Is at Stake
Increasing political polarization is a critical symptom of the ever-growing power of the national government.
While much of the American media will be focused on James Comey’s testimony this Thursday or pursuing other ancillary stories pertaining to Donald Trump’s presidency, they’re missing a much larger development that will have a significant impact on national politics. It’s no secret the media is engaged in a war of words with Trump and his surrogates. But they have been so focused on the foibles emanating from the White House that they have completely ignored the Democrat Party’s failure to develop a coherent policy message or a plan that addresses any of the challenges facing the country.
Following Hillary Clinton’s dramatic loss last November, the Democrat Party was in a state of shock and disbelief. Much like the stages of grief, Democrats wrestled with the feelings of anger and depression following the election. However, since Trump became the president in January, Democrats have made a conscious decision to ignore the last stage of grief, acceptance. Instead, they are morphing into a vapid and recalcitrant mob more fixated on creating dissension at the national level and waging a war against any decision made by the current administration. They call it the Resistance™.
This type of political polarization is not only dangerous for the two-party system but a critical symptom of a disease that has metastasized over the last 50 years — the ever-growing power of the national government.
One of the main reasons for intense national power struggles is because of the amount of influence that resides in the nation’s capital. In his insightful analysis last fall, our own John Bastiat argued, “Decisions that used to be made by individual states or local governments are now decided somewhere in Washington, DC, often by a single branch, or even worse — and more often the case — an unaccountable sub-entity within that branch. As a result, elections nowadays are ‘for all the marbles.’”
The solution to this vexing problem is to redistribute power amongst the three branches of government and back to the states. Sadly, this scenario won’t likely be happening anytime soon. This situation is one of the main reasons why the Democrat Party focuses so much time and energy on devoting assets to national races and eschewing races at the state and local levels.
A look at the 2016 Democrat Party platform shows a leftist platform focused on usurping control from the lowest levels of government and bringing all decision-making to the national level. The Democrat Party has been in a tailspin for the last eight years, as evidenced by their loss of 12 governorships and numerous state houses. This dynamic doesn’t look like it will be changing anytime soon, as Republican candidates have won the last two special House elections and the mayor’s race in Omaha, Nebraska. In many ways, Democrats have zeroed in on the White House at the expense of building from the ground up.
It’s ironic that the Democrat Party touts itself as being an inclusive entity, yet it has no problem shunning anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with its progressive and far-left agenda. That’s why Democrats have difficulties finding quality candidates to run for office. It’s also a reason why their main power bases are relegated to the Northeast and Pacific regions of the country. However, this dynamic can change rapidly if the Republican Party fails to follow through on its promises from the last election cycle.
If the Grand Old Party wants to continue holding majorities in the House and Senate, Republicans must find creative ways to enact changes to the personal and business tax codes, pass an infrastructure bill, replace the Affordable Care Act, and most importantly, avoid any legislation that takes power away from the state and local levels.
While many Republicans had high hopes for President Trump, it’s apparent he has little appetite for leading the Party, and if he continues his self-destructive behavior, he will soon find his administration in no position to develop or execute policy. Therefore, it will be incumbent upon the GOP leadership to lead in a manner that reflects the values of the membership and act in the best interests of all Americans. Anything short of that will be political malpractice because, after all, a lot of marbles are at stake.