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A Deeply Fractured US

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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The system isn't broken. It works as designed. It takes more than a narrow majority to effect major change.
That part is fine. But is used to be that some Republicans or some democrats would break ranks and vote outside party lines in order to pass legislations.

Now? No. No democrats are voting for republican legislation and no Republicans are voting for Democrat legislation and the system that was once built on compromise has all but ground to a halt.

Executive orders and reconciliation are the only way things get passed in Washington and that is a broken system.
 

Brad Sallows

Army.ca Fixture
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762
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910
That neither party can pass legislation which it likes very much but the other party dislikes very much, is not evidence of dysfunction. There's no "if I can't pass whatever legislation I want, the system is broken" principle. There's no "I should be able to stick some egregiously insulting provision into a deal that was otherwise going ahead" principle.

Legislation is passed when it suits both parties, or when each party is willing to trade away something the other party wants. What's broken is that the people who most often are seeking major change (Democrats) are unwilling to trade something of equal value.
 

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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910
That neither party can pass legislation which it likes very much but the other party dislikes very much, is not evidence of dysfunction. There's no "if I can't pass whatever legislation I want, the system is broken" principle. There's no "I should be able to stick some egregiously insulting provision into a deal that was otherwise going ahead" principle.

Legislation is passed when it suits both parties, or when each party is willing to trade away something the other party wants. What's broken is that the people who most often are seeking major change (Democrats) are unwilling to trade something of equal value.
President Trump complained about this as well, so the it's always the dems fault thing doesn't work here.
 

quadrapiper

Full Member
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Legislation is passed when it suits both parties, or when each party is willing to trade away something the other party wants. What's broken is that the people who most often are seeking major change (Democrats) are unwilling to trade something of equal value.
The Democrats seem to be looking at changes which, whether or not they'd work, are meant to better the lot of US citizens: healthcare, dealing with racial and economic inequality, occasional stabs at public transportation, environmental protections, comprehensive human rights protections, etc.

The Republicans appear to have developed a focus on cultural/religious/aesthetic nonsense, performative patriotism, advancing an oligarchical tax and labour policy, and shrieking wildly about societal or legislative changes which have been in place in e.g. Canada for years or decades without leading to a diminishment of the country in any way that matters. Their fixation on Israel has warped US foreign policy to ensure apparently never-ending support for what is now, whatever it was before, a thoroughly unpleasant, expansionist (on an acre by acre basis), strongly religiously driven bad neighbour (in an area full of bad neighbours, granted).

They also decided to elect Donald Trump, an individual whose only apparent skill-set is, like a video-game character, successfully skipping upward from one falling project to the next, buoyed by inherited wealth and a complete lack of morals.

I'm not honestly sure how you'd trade between two mindsets and governing approaches that're so incredibly different.
 

Brad Sallows

Army.ca Fixture
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910
Good intentions are often claimed, but don't matter. People claim whatever they want (akin to proving a hypothesis by making up evidence). For example, someone promoting minimum wage increases will claim good intentions (wage increase) and ignore the undesireable effects (eg. it's well-established that the resulting churn turns some people out of work). Only outcomes matter.

The latest Democratic spending proposal, amounting to $3.5B or so, is so far only a number with no specifics attached. They mean well. No matter what else happens, they mean well.

But, to specifics: an intemperate populist was elected president, and his party won Congress. Contrary to the popular theories that Congress is broken or the Republican party is broken, two things didn't happen: Congress didn't blindly do what the intemperate populist wanted, and the Republican party didn't change the rules so that they could (in Congress) do what the intemperate populist wanted. The US structure of government moderates excess. In our parliamentary system, though, if an intemperate populist leads a party to a parliamentary majority...
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
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Not to mention the Supreme Court with it's recent additions under Trump did not end civilisation as predicated by the Dems and acted as a brake on the most eccentric bits of his domestic policies. Of course that is not really newsworthy.
 

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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Good intentions are often claimed, but don't matter. People claim whatever they want (akin to proving a hypothesis by making up evidence). For example, someone promoting minimum wage increases will claim good intentions (wage increase) and ignore the undesireable effects (eg. it's well-established that the resulting churn turns some people out of work). Only outcomes matter.

The latest Democratic spending proposal, amounting to $3.5B or so, is so far only a number with no specifics attached. They mean well. No matter what else happens, they mean well.

But, to specifics: an intemperate populist was elected president, and his party won Congress. Contrary to the popular theories that Congress is broken or the Republican party is broken, two things didn't happen: Congress didn't blindly do what the intemperate populist wanted, and the Republican party didn't change the rules so that they could (in Congress) do what the intemperate populist wanted. The US structure of government moderates excess. In our parliamentary system, though, if an intemperate populist leads a party to a parliamentary majority...
That's not how I said it was broken.

It's broken because the system was built on compromise. Getting past a filibuster requires 60 votes in the Senate. That has been incredibly hard to get for decades now. So some from the other party would need to break party ranks and vote with the opposition, usually after a suitable middle ground could be found.

That no longer exists. Republicans will not vote with democrats and will not negotiate, democrats will not vote with Republicans and will not negotiate. There is no compromise. There is no way to get to 60 votes.

A system build on either compromise or a 60-40 split in the Senate has neither compromise or a 60-40 split in the senate is a broken system same way that vehicle that runs on either gas or diesel having neither gas or diesel is a broken vehicle.

How is stuff done in Washington to compensate for this? Executive orders, torn up as soon as a new president takes office. Or once a year, reconciliation, where since it only happens once a year, has to cram everything under the damn sun into it, because when else will a party get a chance to pass their agenda with a simple majority vote?

Trump tax cut? Reconciliation.

Biden stimulus plan? Reconciliation.

And since they need just a simple majority, they don't need to compromise, again, hurting the system built on compromise.

America was set up in a system where there were no parties, then loose parties, to hardliners parties with a few mavericks on each side willing to work across the aisle, to hardliners parties with no mavericks willing to work across the aisle.

This later development is what has broken the American system.
 

Brad Sallows

Army.ca Fixture
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910
Negotiation happens. Negotiation didn't go far on last year's version of a police reform bill, but it seems to be going ahead on this year's version. Ostensibly last year's Senate bill wasn't enough for Democrats, and they deemed it better to have nothing than something, so the bills were never negotiated in a conference committee. (Cynics thought it was because Pelosi didn't want Trump signing a popular bill in the run-up to the election.)

So let's see where this bill goes, and if it dies, exactly which demands kill it.
 

Altair

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Negotiation happens. Negotiation didn't go far on last year's version of a police reform bill, but it seems to be going ahead on this year's version. Ostensibly last year's Senate bill wasn't enough for Democrats, and they deemed it better to have nothing than something, so the bills were never negotiated in a conference committee. (Cynics thought it was because Pelosi didn't want Trump signing a popular bill in the run-up to the election.)

So let's see where this bill goes, and if it dies, exactly which demands kill it.
There is a difference between negotiating and finding common ground.

The former can go on forever and never come to the latter.
 

Brad Sallows

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What sort of common ground do you see the people who want change offering to the people who are approximately satisfied with the way things are?
 

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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What sort of common ground do you see the people who want change offering to the people who are approximately satisfied with the way things are?
It doesn't matter one iota what I expect, its what the system was designed to do and its not doing it.

And thus it is broken.

The fact that we don't expect it to happen is just another affirmation of how broken it is.
 

Brad Sallows

Army.ca Fixture
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its what the system was designed to do and its not doing it

Repeated assertions that the system isn't working because it doesn't turn out the results some people want is not proof of anything.

Compromise means trade/exchange. Those unwilling to trade/exchange are responsible for the dysfunction, not the system.

Ds can always throw out the legislative filibuster in the Senate, if they wish. Some of them probably look at Trump's first two years, though, and reconsider the wisdom of a filibuster-less Senate.
 

Altair

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Repeated assertions that the system isn't working because it doesn't turn out the results some people want is not proof of anything.

Compromise means trade/exchange. Those unwilling to trade/exchange are responsible for the dysfunction, not the system.

Ds can always throw out the legislative filibuster in the Senate, if they wish. Some of them probably look at Trump's first two years, though, and reconsider the wisdom of a filibuster-less Senate.
I wouldn't recommend getting rid of the filibuster.

What would be nice is locking senators in the building until a compromise can be reached only letting them leave the senate chambers for bathrooms breaks.

Or they could actually work for the nation and not narrow party interests.
 

Brad Sallows

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To a conservative in the US, the good of the nation and narrow party interests are mostly just status quo; the constitution and its amendments are satisfactory; some of the stuff that's been legislated over the past century could do with some tinkering.

Obviously progressives feel differently. But they'd have to offer up a lot of little tinkering bits to offset one of their big wishes, and they will not tolerate any tinkering unless it's to suit themselves. It became a bit of a joke during Obama's presidency: Republicans were welcome to vote for Democrat-drafted legislation, but not to participate substantially in the drafting.
 

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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To a conservative in the US, the good of the nation and narrow party interests are mostly just status quo; the constitution and its amendments are satisfactory; some of the stuff that's been legislated over the past century could do with some tinkering.

Obviously progressives feel differently. But they'd have to offer up a lot of little tinkering bits to offset one of their big wishes, and they will not tolerate any tinkering unless it's to suit themselves. It became a bit of a joke during Obama's presidency: Republicans were welcome to vote for Democrat-drafted legislation, but not to participate substantially in the drafting.
Fine.

No bathroom breaks.
 

Brad Sallows

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Yet beyond the humour lies the unmerited assumption that some unquantified amount of legislation should be passed. I suppose you could lock up the Democrats until they draft their wish list, and then bring it out for a vote.
 

Altair

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Yet beyond the humour lies the unmerited assumption that some unquantified amount of legislation should be passed. I suppose you could lock up the Democrats until they draft their wish list, and then bring it out for a vote.
No.

I don't give a damn which party is in power.

If the GOP is in power, and they need 60 votes, I would lock them in the Senate with zero bathroom breaks until enough democrats and Republicans could find a acceptable middle ground to get to 60 votes or they get tired of going to the bathroom in the corner of the room.

I'm very non partisan in my complete exasperation at how the two main parties in the USA cannot work together, cannot compromise, and are only doubling down on drifting apart and empowering the extremist wings of their parties.

I view the 60 vote threshold as a working majority, and anything less as a minority situation. So just as any minority parliament in Canada has to work with other parties to get legislation passed, I would expect the same in the US senate. But due to their two party lockout there is no one other than the opposition to work with.

The cure is another party, someone to occupy the center, and work with the GOP in some cases,and Dems in other cases,but the two main parties make it near impossible for this to happen.

So a pox on all their houses. No bathroom breaks.
 

Brad Sallows

Army.ca Fixture
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Are you assuming there is some amount of legislation which must be passed - a certain depth of paper each year, for example?

It is not as if no legislation whatsoever is passed. If either party makes an outrageous demand, "no compromise" is a perfectly reasonable outcome.
 

Altair

Army.ca Veteran
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Are you assuming there is some amount of legislation which must be passed - a certain depth of paper each year, for example?

It is not as if no legislation whatsoever is passed. If either party makes an outrageous demand, "no compromise" is a perfectly reasonable outcome.
Don't kid yourself, the legislation is being passed, its just bypassing the filibuster and any need to negotiate.

The parties refuse to compromise. Every bit of legislation that the one party wants to pass gets crammed into a reconciliation bill.

So instead of getting a compromise bill through you get a zero compromise omnibus bill which can be as large as the budget bill itself. The rest of the year has the two parties just passing the regular workings of government bills, funding the military and such, followed by another no compromise reconciliation bill in the next year.

getting the parties to find common ground is what the US was set up for, instead they get the two parties refusing to work together for anything other than keeping the lights on, and zero compromise reconciliation bills that the other party is hard pressed to stop and executive orders.
 
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