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September 12, 2017

Both Parties Lost the Last Presidential Election

Will that loss put a dent in hyper-partisanship?

The Republican establishment lost during the primaries. Whatever Donald Trump may be, he is not an establishment Republican. Bernie Sanders came damned close to knocking off establishment Hillary Clinton. According to promotional leaks from her book, Sanders was one of the main reasons she lost the general election.

With no proof whatsoever, I think the two most important reasons people voted against the establishment candidates of both parties were disgust with hyper-partisanship and a realization that, despite the surface partisanship, the leaders of both parties are almost identical in their crony-capitalist support for major donors at the expense of the rest of the country. In fact, the PACs which represent Wall Street are careful to be major donors to both parties. Sanders most telling blows against Clinton were for her well-paid speeches to bankers.

Since the President isn’t a Republican or a Democrat in the traditional sense, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he can abandon partisanship when he thinks either the country’s or his own interests require bipartisanship. IMO he was right not to follow the Republican inclination to derive the most possible partisan advantage from the need to fund hurricane relief. Debt ceiling and budget debates can be put off until after the hurricane season and should not be put off longer. A Republican-majority congress has not passed a budget so, obnoxious as it is, a short continuing resolution is in order.

More importantly Trump signaled the fiscal-extreme wing of Republicans that they’ve lost their veto. As much as my own residual partisanship hated seeing the cat-that-got-the-cream smiles of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, I know that the polarizing right had to be defanged. However, so does the polarizing left; this shoe is yet to drop. But I’m an optimist; one shoe always comes off before the other.

A wonderful outcome would be bills that are routinely passed with some votes from the minority party. These bills will not be as far-reaching as bills which only Democrats or Republicans can support like ObamaCare or ObamaCare repeal, but they can be incremental steps towards solving the country’s problems.

Now for real wishful thinking: if a new middle forms, it should retain enough of the populism of the tea party and occupiers to abandon crony capitalism.

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