The Mesmerizing Perpetual Tick of the Political Clock


Watching a 24-hour news cycle, one might believe the Republic is on the verge of revolution. The anti-Trump chorus is loud and clear, helped no less by the president's own ructious Twitter commentary. The inability of Congress to develop meaningful legislation on any issue was neatly summarized Thursday night when Republican efforts failed to repeal part of Obamacare, and were followed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell standing on the Senate floor calling on Democrats to come up with ideas to fix the legislation that Democrats unilaterally and unanimously approved seven years ago.

But if the situation is as bad as it seems for the GOP, one would think that Democrats would be thriving. That's not happening, according to ABC News and Washington Post polling chief Gary Langer, who recently commented that “the level of anti-Trump motivation the opposition party may be looking for .”

What's going on?

According to Karlyn Bowman, head of political studies at the American Enterprise Institute, both sides are dug in, so the erosion of the base is pretty nonexistent since 2016, with Washington's pugilistic tendencies only reinforcing the battle lines. That's good for people who like team combat, less so than those who want to see some policy reforms.

When ABC News/Washington Post pollsters asked recently whether the Democratic Party currently stands for something or just stands against Trump, only 37 percent thought the Democratic Party stood for something, while 52 percent viewed the party as simply anti-Trump.

Democrats do hold the advantage in generic polling because independent voters are moving left in the current environment, but this is unlikely to translate to a tidal shift. It would be natural, to expect the ever-beating metronome to shift in the other direction, as our two-party system is wont to do.

If either side wants to be a "winner" in midterm elections, they need to start producing, not grandstanding. Democrats put out a plan earlier this week called, "A Better Deal," which makes promises that are hard for any politician to keep. Just ask Republican voters — they believed a whole lot of promises last November. It remains to be seen whether any of them will ever come true.

Read Bowman's breakdown of the latest polling data.

Comments (2)
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@akelly, I would guess that Democrats are staying pretty much at the same degree of leftism that it has for the last several years. If anything, they have become more centrist, as they tend to be less unanimously insistent on supporting traditionally liberal causes such as Planned Parenthood and closing military bases abroad.


Interesting. I wonder if there are polls that indicate whether Democrats (and maybe even Republicans) are moving farther left ideologically.