Partisanship Is Not the Problem

Scott LemieuxTo see the limitations… we just need to go back to mid-20th century American politics… Turnout in presidential elections generally exceeded 60%. More stringent campaign finance reforms were in place, and campaigns were a lot cheaper, reducing the role of money in politics. So this was when American politics was actually functional and representative, right?

Hardly. Between 1938 and 1963, Congress was dominated by a coalition of conservative Democrats and Republicans that consistently thwarted progressive reforms and civil rights legislation. Probably the most important legislation of the period was the Taft-Hartley Act, in which veto-proof bipartisan coalitions reached across the aisle to eviscerate American labor. The statute remains a major source of American inequality today.

—Scott Lemieux
Partisanship Isn’t the Enemy of Reform — It’s a Necessary Condition of It

4 thoughts on “Partisanship Is Not the Problem

  1. There is a reason that the only time you got decent laws passed there were massive Democratic majorities (1933 with 60-35 Senate, 312-117 House or 1965 with 68-32 Senate, 295-140 House) in the past century with just enough liberal/progressive people in the mix to repeat the successes of the massive Republican majority (33-11 Senate, 132-40 House) that led to things like the 14th Amendment.

    But since most voters cannot be bothered to show up for voting, we are stuck.

    • Right. The truth is, our entire system of government is set up so that social change is hard to make. I think it is time to rethink our system. It drives me crazy to hear conservatives claim not just that our system is the best in the world but it is the best system that could be. It’s all such nonsense.

      • Oh yeah, politicians are lazy and we like a sure thing. Which is why the entire Republican party lost its mind when the voters stopped being dependable and voted for tea party nutters.

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