In prior writings, I have described our country as “The Divided States of America”. No matter who is elected President in 2020, I am skeptical of that person’s capacity to unite the American public. It seems that the left and the right are tugging their respective political parties into positions which label compromise and basic good manners weak or immoral. Both political parties have television channels which keep their members entrenched in their respective bubbles. The election process is set up to make third party candidates virtually impossible to elect. They are mere spoilers. Third-party conservatives helped elect Bill Clinton. Third-party liberals helped elect George W. Bush. Millions of minorities who voted for Barack Obama but didn’t vote at all in 2016 helped elect Donald Trump. The law of unintended consequences is alive and well.
Real problems, such as how to deal with immigration, health care delivery, infrastructure, race relations, international trade, etc. will probably remain unaddressed as both sides retreat to their respective camps. Both sides will be labeling their opponents as stupid, crooked, immoral or unpatriotic. Name-calling and rigidity may be good tools to get elected by a plurality, but they are tools of ignorance when it comes to governing. Try that in your family and see how the kids turn out.
There is one issue, however, which has united the Democratic base and the Republican base. It is obvious that both sides have decided that deficits don’t matter. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are all in the process of being fiscally upside down within the foreseeable future. Our President has no intention of addressing these problems. He appears to be content in dumping these pending disasters on whichever President happens to be holding office in the future when the feces eventually hit the fan blades. Some Democratic candidates are promising to expand the benefits of Medicare and Medicaid by taxing the rich. If only there were enough rich people to accomplish that goal. And still have a sustainable federal debt. That there could be a more equitable tax system is very plausible, but math is a hard thing. Math is not subjective. Two plus two does not add up to eight.
Do we blame the Republicans and the Democrats? That is our right. That said, the number of citizens who don’t bother to vote is amazing. In the telecommunication age, voters often reward style over substance. Washington D.C. has arguably become Hollywood for ugly people. Why should voters expect the truth from candidates when voters appear to not want to hear it? John F. Kennedy once told us that we would be landing a man on the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was hard. We have gone from going to the moon to getting mooned. Sleeping at the wheel is easy, but it has consequences. We are getting exacting the type of government that we deserve. All this division is a head fake by the media consultants of politicians with tunnel vision. Is tunnel vision acceptable in 2020?