Does Delaware still want politicians who compromise?(Matthew Albright)
The writer begins by citing the “godfather of Delaware politics,” Sen. Tom Carper, who advocates the golden rule, followed by “the Four Cs” (communication, compromise, collaboration & civility). But today it seems like “most in Washington” are more attuned to combat, confrontation, coercion & condemnation, which seems to be turning national politics into a “perpetual partisan pie-fight.”
Sen. Carper and the other two members of Congress from Delaware are said to be among the exceptions. Thus, Sen. Chris Coons recently touted “his 15th place ranking on a list of most bipartisan senators.” According to Sen. Coons, Delawareans “sent me to get things done [in Washington] by working with both Democrats and Republicans.” But could it be that “by insisting on bipartisanship and civility in our Congressional delegation,” Delawareans are “clinging to an obsolete mindset.”
Some “disgruntled Democrats” think “Republicans are playing Democrats like Carper for suckers.” Why “continually attempt good-faith compromise with a GOP that stiff-armed President Obama out of a Supreme Court appointment, rammed through a tax cut for the rich in the dead of night and flagrantly gerrymandered Congressional seats nationwide for years”? According a recent Pew poll, only 46% [of Democrats?] said “politicians should compromise with opponents” versus 69% last June.
Yet Delawareans still support moderation. At the end of 2017, according to Morning Consult, Sen. Carper’s rating was 58% approve/ 24% disapprove and Sen. Coons’ rating was 51-28. Delaware is a “purple” versus “blue” state, as evidenced by the fact that Kent and Sussex County voters went for Donald Trump in 2016. And “voters keep electing moderate, congenial, conflict-averse politicians up and down the ballot, from General Assembly to governor.”
While the writer often wishes “Delaware politicians had a more ambitious vision for change,” he hopes “our state doesn’t start electing political pugilists.” In the end, “compromise is built into the machinery of our political system,” with constitutional checks and balances to prevent any one party or group from dominating the political equation.
Case in point: Republicans currently enjoy “total control of the federal government,” yet they haven’t accomplished much of anything beyond “some judicial appointments and an unpopular tax cut that’s mainly benefitted big corporations." They haven’t repealed Obamacare, funded a border wall, or “even touched entitlement programs.”
Conclusion: Sen. Carper et al. are right are right to seek compromise, because Congress can’t function without it. “I hope Delaware doesn’t forget that.”
Comments: (1) Compromise is good in situations when the best answer lies somewhere in the middle, but in other cases it breeds inaction (neither Republicans or Democrats have any appetite for fixing entitlement programs before they bankrupt the country) or lousy decisions (like the Bloom Energy fiasco to cite but one example). (2) Partisan wrangling is dangerous and could prove deadly, but informed debate of the political issues is essential. The challenge is to promote discussion that generates more light than heat versus the other way around. Political straws in the wind, nationally and locally, 5/7/18. (3) When push comes to shove, Sens. Carper and Coons seldom buck the Democratic party line.