If I knew nothing about American politics and came to this country, I would suspect from looking at the media that this country is tearing itself apart. The reality, however is much less dire than might be suspected. In reality, if you look at the major issues confronting this country a fairly large majority of the people are in agreement on what to do. If you believe in scientific polling, 71% of Americans believe that the Federal minimum wage should be raised, 75% believe that a single payer healthcare system for those of us who want it is a good idea and roughly 70% of adults believe that stronger gun control measures would be good for this country. In addition, nearly two thirds of Americans support a woman's right to choose and 63% of Americans are concerned about global warming and the environmental challenges facing the country.
So, if the polling is accurate, why does this country seem so diametrically opposed? Is it the issues or is it simply politics? If you drill down into the minutaie of the problems, what you find is astounding and goes against every principle on which this country was founded. By the end of "Reagan's revolution" in the late 1980's, party elders in the Republican party realized that their base was shrinking fast and something had to be done in order to keep the Republican party alive. So, if you are a shrinking party, what can you do to assure your survival. Those of you who said "cheat" get a gold star. Beginning in the early 1990s and continuing on to today, with every chance available, Republicans have redrawn Congressional maps and disenfranchised thousands of voters. If you look, for example at states like West Virginia and Arkansas, both state legislatures are controlled by Democrats but their Congressional delegations are completely Republican. How does that happen? Are Democrats in Arkansas different from Democrats from anywhere else? I think not. The Republican party has systematically changed the way American representative government works and time has come to seriously examine the problem.
Take the case in North Carolina. The Congressional districts were redrawn in 2011 in a state that splits pretty evenly politically. The delegation went from a 7-6 Democratic majority to a 10-3 Republican majority in the next Congressional election. David R. Lewis, a North Carolina state representative who helped lead the remapping process said, "I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats". Lawsuits ensued and the NC legislature was ordered to redraw the maps in 2016 but as of today (October of 2018) the task has still not been accomplished and a Republican Congressional delegation is almost assured in North Carolina no matter how the votes go. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson are rolling in their graves. This is not what America is or should be.
To say that American politics is at a stalemate is an understatement. Tribalism has infected the electorate and until we have a candidate who can truly reach across the aisle and embrace and evaluate the ideas of his or her political rivals, I fear we can hope for nothing but the same in years to come.