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Why Does Everyone Feel Like 'Their Side' is Losing?

by David Yee, published

If social media has taught us anything about American politics, it's that there are a lot of very unhappy to outright angry people when it comes to feeling like 'their side' isn't being heard.

The blame game is common, and usually revolves around something that actually has nothing to do with the original problem.

While we see this every day in social media, Pew Research has shown that Americans actually feel this way--that 'their side' is always getting the short end of the political stick when it comes to issues that matter.

In every single demographic -- except for well-educated Democrats -- respondents felt like their political party loses more than it wins, especially among older Republican voters.

This is a very odd phenomenon, especially since the power in America is held largely by the Republicans with a large edge in the House, a smaller one in the Senate, a slight edge in conservative ideology in the SCOTUS, and an overwhelming share of state governorships.

Therein lies the problem when party politics evolve (or perhaps devolve) beyond adequately representing their constituents. Instead of governing from a position of consensus and compromise, the party's faithful seem to want their platforms advanced at any price.

Former House Speaker Boehner (R) was constantly bombarded with problems from within his own party, especially those who wanted to rule with their majority as opposed to govern from consensus. Much of Boehner's criticism came from the fact that he was unwilling to spend valuable time on legislation that could pass in the House, but that couldn't make it through the Senate cloture rules--and that was seen as a "surrender" as opposed to good governance.

Likewise, President Obama has drawn sharp criticism from his own party over not vetoing more legislation. He's also gone out on a limb with his own party by backing the TPP trade deal.

We see this poor governance all the time--but is it the way it has to be?

The only solution to this problem is for Americans to give up the 20th century notion of a political mandate. That is, even if 'your' candidate won by a large margin, good governance only comes from consensus and compromise--and not by jamming through legislation and executive orders as fast as they can be drafted.

It's all too tempting for politicians to stick to party rhetoric and platforms, but at some point, politicians ought to be judged solely based on what they have done for their corner of America--and not what they have done for the national party's agenda.

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