Partisan Politics Destroys Democracy

Partisan politics forces us apart

Partisan politics is nothing new. Our nation has endured political divides from the its very beginning. Ideologies force our perspectives to differ from those who don’t agree with us. It can be painful, disappointing, and certainly frustrating, especially for “We the People.”

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Mother’s Day offered partisan reprieve

It’s time for a little optimism. John Dickerson, a CBS News Reporter, once said:

Mother’s Day is a welcome event in partisan times. Nearly everyone agrees that we should show mothers gratitude.

I hope you enjoyed celebrating Mother’s Day and that partisan politics did not cloud an otherwise sunny day for you.

Optimism still exists amid partisan rancor

Still, the political noise continues across a wide partisan divide. Philip Bump, national correspondent for the Washington Post, bravely suggests a reason to hope with his article, “Is it possible that the partisan divide has stalled?” First, though, he notes the partisanship severity we witness:

Animosity on Capitol Hill between Democrats and Republicans is extremely high. The aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and, in particular, partisan responses to the Capitol attack on Jan. 6 led to unusual public finger-pointing from one side of the aisle to the other.

Bump notes that the partisan divide is not just in Washington:

Public sentiment isn’t much better. Polling released earlier this year shows that a majority of Republicans and 4 in 10 Democrats view members of the other party not as political rivals but, instead, as enemies.

The article displays a chart by Voteview of the partisan divide in the U.S. House of Representatives. Bump explains:

Over the past 50 years or so, the average ideology of the two parties has grown apart. It’s been about two decades since the most conservative Democrat was more conservative than the most liberal Republican.

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Bump provides a fair amount of analysis and charting to prove an optimistic point, saying:

What should stand out on that graph, though, is that both the ideological ranges each party’s caucus covers (the light-colored bars) and the average ideological value of the caucus haven’t moved a lot in recent Congresses. Neither, therefore, has the difference between the two parties’ average scores.

Partisan politics signals the death of our nation

Perhaps, just perhaps, the partisan divide has reached a turning point. If not, the warnings remain dire. Drawing on their best-seller, How Democracies Die, political scientists, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, expressed their concern:

When societies divide into partisan camps with profoundly different worldviews, and when those differences are viewed as existential and irreconcilable, political rivalry can devolve into partisan hatred. Parties come to view each other not as legitimate rivals, but as dangerous enemies. Losing ceases to be an accepted part of the political process and instead becomes a catastrophe.

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EVV points to a road to recovery

In the midst of this partisan political environment, I’m suggesting we Make All Votes Matter by allowing those who have differing opinions to vote and for their vote to matter. Can we put our political partisanships aside?

Many ask what the results Equal Voice Voting (EVV) would have been in past elections if it had been used. It’s a good question but the wrong one. Rather, the question should be: How we can entertain the idea of making All Votes Matter while our nation is so divided?”

John Avlon, CNN Political Analyst and Anchor, reminds us:

I think more Americans need to declare their independence from partisan politics on both sides. The more that Americans declare their independence, the more the parties will have to compete for their votes using reason rather than the hateful appeals.

When you reached out to each other in your families, celebrating Mother’s Day, did you have to be careful about your speech, avoiding political topics? The very notion that this question is something to consider, points to how partisan we have become – in our homes, with our friends, and in our neighborhoods. Such divisive partisanship is harmful and causes great damage to our relationships and to our nation.

Admittedly, EVV demands a lot. It demands we believe in and exercise a true democracy:

Every citizen’s vote matters!

EVV’s message is simply that ideologies may differ just as values and points-of-view differ, but every U.S. citizen deserves to be heard. No other voting approach can promise that the U.S. Constitution is honored, every state’s sovereignty is respected, and that every presidential ballot matters.

Some state legislators are not courageous enough to hold that perspective above the partisan fears that rush to obstruct fair and equal elections. Make no mistake here, this partisan fear is not relegated to just one political party – it’s shared. Ask any state legislator if they’re willing to “allow” electoral votes to be “won” by political competitors in the exercise of a true democracy. It takes courage to admit they are.

Partisan politics does not mend itself in Washington or even in our state legislatures. Such mending begins where you live, where you socialize, where you share ideas. The American Democracy experiment lives or dies on how well we willingly ascribe to the idea that:

Your vote matters. My vote matters. All Votes Matter!

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Click here to read the Introduction to All Votes Matter!
The book is available at popular online bookstores.

 

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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