Loading...
BYH to folks that don’t move over or get out of the way for emergency vehicles. One day it might be your relative they...

Election shows divisions only growing wider

PONNURU

Ramesh Ponnuru

Loading…

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Divided government has been the American norm over the last 50 years. It has been our condition 70 percent of the time, and voters have ended every period of unified party control of both Congress and the White House after at most four years.

In that respect, we just had a very normal election. Voters experienced two years of of unchecked Republican dominance of Washington, and decided they had had enough of it — just as they decided that two years of Democratic control was enough after Bill Clinton's first two years and Barack Obama's first two years. But largely because so many of the Senate races were on Republican turf, Donald Trump's party managed to gain seats in that body.

The principal consequences of these election outcomes are three. Republicans will be able to keep confirming the president's nominees to the executive and the judicial branches. (They may be able to get slightly more conservative nominees through than they did before.) Democrats, however, will be able to use the subpoena power to conduct oversight of the administration or, as Republicans will probably soon be calling it, harassment. And legislative gridlock will continue. Republicans quit trying to advance major legislation a year ago, and now both parties will use legislation mostly to score political points rather than to actually get it enacted.

This last conclusion runs counter to some happy talk on election night about the possibility of bipartisan cooperation on infrastructure. But the parties don't actually agree on much beyond their common liking of the word "infrastructure." For action to take place, either one party would have to surrender or both would have to compromise on the policy questions.

Additionally, House Democrats would have to be willing to help the president score a bipartisan achievement. And all this would have to take place in the midst of legal battles between the White House and the House.

The split between the Senate and the House showed that our partisan divisions are deepening rather than being resolved. Differences between rural and urban voters, and between whites with and without college degrees, have continued to widen. The elections also showed some of the obstacles each party will face if it seeks to attain a governing majority in 2020.

The Republican coalition is not a majority, and is not holding. Trump won support from some white working-class voters who had previously backed Obama, but Republicans have not yet absorbed those voters into their party — and at the same time Trump has driven away college-educated suburbanites.

The Democrats may have a national majority, but if so it is a small one that is geographically distributed in a way that may put the Senate and the presidency out of reach. In the weeks before the election, Democrats boasted about their comeback in the Midwest. But that comeback was somewhat disappointing: They failed to win the governorships of swing states Ohio and Iowa.

The fact that a lot of great progressive hopes faltered in the election - Andrew Gillum in Florida, Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Beto O'Rourke in Texas, Kara Eastman in Nebraska and Randy Bryce in Wisconsin all lost — might keep Democrats from going down one blind alley. But they may have to make concessions, especially on cultural issues dear to many Democrats, to be more competitive on the outskirts of Trump country.

Nancy Pelosi concluded her victory speech by suggesting, sweetly if fancifully, that Americans had cast a vote for "unity." What we can more realistically look forward to is two more years of social division, partisan rancor and governmental sclerosis — all of that, plus a presidential election that we can now consider underway.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. 

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

November 15, 2018 - 31 minutes ago

When French President Emmanuel Macron denounced populist nationalism this week and called on world leaders to support institutions such as the United Nations that defend "the common good of the world," liberal elites cheered. The speech was seen as a rebuke of President Trump, whose opposition to…

MarcThiessen

November 15, 2018 - 31 minutes ago

The 2018 election is finally and mercifully over and now is no time for progressives to rest on their laurels. Having taken some promising initial steps in the struggle to overcome Trumpism and build a better, fairer, freer and more sustainable nation and planet, now is the time for caring and…

Rob Schofield

November 15, 2018 - 31 minutes ago

Bad news for North Carolina is official: Amazon decided to split its east coast headquarters between two cities — and neither one is in our state. New York City and Alexandria, Va., will split the estimated 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment from the Seattle company’s…

Mark Johnson

November 14, 2018

The Washington Post

One of American elections' biggest vulnerabilities can be found in one of the most obvious places: the voting machines themselves. The country's voting infrastructure may not have been tampered with this time around, but experts say outdated systems and an overreliance on…

November 14, 2018

When Democrats took control of the House in Tuesday's midterm elections, two things were certain: President Trump's remaining legislative agenda is dead, and the chamber's Judiciary Committee is ready to combat any White House attempt to meddle in or obstruct special counsel Robert S. Mueller's…

lambro2

November 14, 2018

According to a recent report in The New York Times, Health and Human Services Department officials have been circulating a proposal to define sex. Their memo says, "Sex means a person's status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth."

They add, "The…

Walter Williams

November 13, 2018

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

"Saturday Night Live" comedian Pete Davidson got reamed for making a tasteless joke a week ago Saturday about Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in combat in Afghanistan. Days later, Texans elected Crenshaw, a Republican, to Congress. On…

November 13, 2018

Democrats achieved significant victories this year in the “inner suburbs” of Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and North Carolina’s other major cities — tossing out GOP incumbents in the General Assembly, county commissions, and other offices.

Although Republicans did better…

john hood.jpg

November 13, 2018

North Carolina's urban-rural divide grew to a chasm in this month's election — at least in the state legislature.

Republicans suffered huge losses in urban counties, likely leaving the party with only two or three representatives from the two biggest counties: Wake and Mecklenburg. But…

Colin Campbell

November 12, 2018

The Telegraph of London, England

Although the EU, including Britain, is sticking to the nuclear deal unilaterally repudiated by President Trump, without America’s backing it is pretty much a dead duck. Since European companies that continue trading with Iran risk being hit by secondary U.S.…

303 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 31
        Next Page»   Last Page»