A seed from the talking heads has been stuck in the teeth of my thoughts for some time now. It finally dawned on me what it is.
Conservative and liberal commentators alike talk about how Trump supporters are angry with Washington ‘because it is so broken, and therefore they want to blow it up.’ They are not necessarily racist or misogynist or xenophobic, this logic unfolds, they are just fed up with dysfunctional government. Wait! Stop right there.
The dysfunction in Washington is precisely because the Republican House and Senate made a calculated decision when Obama was elected, to do anything and everything they could to limit his success. Even before that, the Tea Party gang did away with an age-old system of compromise they called “pork barrel politics” that allowed for a you-scratch-my back-I’ll-scratch-yours kind of deal making between the states.
Yes, there was some corruption within that system, but it was also the way policy was enacted with bi-partisan support. But the adolescent, categorical thinking of Tea Party Republicans initiated a system whereby only the “no’s” win, because in order for the “yes’s” to win there has to be an impossibly enormous majority. Both Boehner and Ryan could have subverted the Tyranny of the No’s by crafting an old-fashioned bi-partisan majority for any number of bills, but they chose not to do so.
The angry masses, if they really are simply angry at Washington dysfunction, should be angry with themselves and those they elected to Congress. Blast the vitriol at rightwing ideologues and cynical Republican leaders who smugly tsk-tsk the dysfunction while feeding at its trough. Better yet, angry crowds: grow up. Ideological purity and perfectionism is toxic, and absolutist thinking in which everything has a right and wrong answer is quicksand. Liberals too can create the same dysfunction, and have in the past, but right now they are not the one’s ruling by the power of ‘No.’