Midterm elections: Could at least one party present a coherent alternative? | The State

thestate | 5/15/2018 | Staff
jolan (Posted by) Level 3
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Six months out from the first crucial midterm elections of this presidency, both political parties are divided and floundering for coherent messages, leaving the national stage to the reality-TV episodes of a White House occupied by Donald Trump, who’s on not one single ballot.

Midterm elections, especially the first of any president, are always initial verdicts on the Oval Office occupant. And with few exceptions (George W. Bush in the uncertain aftermath of 9/11), those voter verdicts are negative. In 16 of the 18 postwar midterm elections, the president’s party has lost House seats.

History - Patterns - Preference - Polling - Democrats

By history’s patterns and, until recently, preference polling, Democrats should be able to retake the 23 House seats necessary to end GOP domination of Congress. That would stymie Trump’s agenda and set up a rancorous two-year run-up to 2020, including embarrassing committee investigations, even greater obstruction and possibly impeachment proceedings.

Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems confident of regaining the giant ceremonial gavel. “We will win,” she says. “I will run for speaker. I feel confident about it. And my members do, too.”

Wait

But wait! There’s more.

In our system of government both parties are supposed to be checks on the other, competing through innovations, legislative accomplishments, new ideas and articulate leaders. Right now, not only is neither party doing that, each one is riven with ideological fractures, preventing cohesive political progress.

Media - Coverage - Mudslinging - Fracas - Photo-ops

Despite joyful hour-by-hour media coverage of the mudslinging fracas and dueling photo-ops, this isn’t mere political entertainment. Without two vibrant parties presenting voters with fresh choices, our democracy wallows into stagnant gridlock, fueling frustrations, divisions and growing doubts about the ability of Washington to function, let alone succeed. Recall, that was the precise goal of all that alleged Russian meddling.

Both parties are at fault. Take Democrats, please. Thirty years San Francisco voters have sent Nancy Pelosi to Capitol Hill, where she...
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