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A Republican Lobbyist Speaks . . .

09/17/2016

I attended a lecture by a Republican lobbyist yesterday, who said, regardless of  who wins the White House . . . America loses.  (She did not say how she would vote.)  But, she did provide an interesting historical perspective.

She started showing graphs of the polarization of Congress, between extreme Republicans and extreme Democrats.  Then, she showed graphs of the general population of Americans, and how they are also polarized, albeit not nearly as polarized as Congress.  Then, she demonstrated how that polarization has been increasing since 1980s.

Contributing to this increasing polarization was (1) the rise of “talk radio” where every lunatic fringe got a microphone, (2) a Speaker of the House who told our elected representatives to limit any social or family interactions with the opposite party, and (3) NAFTA, which began the “hollowing-out” of the middle-class, especially among the non-college educated.

She thinks the Senate elections are now more important than the White House election.  Recalling the 2008 election of Obama when one party controlled both houses of Congress, she compared that with the gridlock that currently exists and will continue to exist, because the Democrats have no chance of winning the House.  Republicans may win the White House, but can they hold the Senate when she believes two incumbent Republican senators are already “toast?”

Republicans rightfully say the President is using the bureaucracy to wield increasing power, but he was left with no choice since Congress was gridlocked.  But, even that bureaucracy is being strangled by the Republican Senate, who refuses to vote on any presidential appointments.  As an example, the mighty Securities & Exchange Commission has not had a budget increase in five years and has two vacancies on the Board, one Republican and one Democrat, neither of whom can get a vote.  In other words, the Senate is slowly making the executive branch as impotent as Congress.  It is her hope that whatever party wins the White House also wins the Senate.  I agree!

She did not discuss the inability of Congress to deal with fiscal policy, which has forced the Fed to over-use monetary policy, just as the inability of Congress to govern has forced the executive branch to be over-used.  Gridlock is a cancer on our democracy!

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