Sunday, November 9, 2014

Is the United States governable?

Glory be, the election is finally over; I thought I was going to have a buy a new wastebasket just for all the political junk mail.  Now that the dust has settled, I think the lesson is that the United States is largely ungovernable.

We have an electorate that is more or less evenly split between the Republicans and the Democrats, with about ten percent in the middle who actually decide the election.  (That plus the two-thirds who stayed home, which calls into question whether the election is even an accurate reflection of what most people are thinking.)

What that means, in practice, is that neither side has the votes to actually govern effectively.  The Republicans have spent the last six years mostly blocking any Democratic proposals (including ones that they used to support themselves before the Democrats did).  Now that the GOP controls both houses of Congress, the Democrats will spend the next two years blocking GOP proposals.  Nobody can get anything done, but both sides can keep the other from getting anything done.

What this means is that nothing will get done, and two years from now the electorate will be furious that nothing has gotten done.  Which party the ten percent in the middle blames remains to be seen, but the next election will be one of voter anger at gridlock, just like the last one, and the one before that, and the one before that.  And, one party or the other will have a Congressional majority (and maybe the White House too), but not enough of a majority to get past the other party's ability to block stuff.  So, two years after that, there will be another election in which the voters are ticked off that nothing has happened.

So I will make a prediction:  Whichever party wins in 2016, will get clobbered in 2018.  Meanwhile, we muddle through.

No comments:

Post a Comment