Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Americans vote for political party rather than a particular candidate, election after election, and are chagrined when we wind up with a polarized congress time and time again.
This adversarial paradigm gives us campaigns that are all about one candidate/party making the other candidate/party look worse; and an electorate that votes for their party of choice to win, notwithstanding the fact that no matter which party wins, we lose.
No matter which party wins, each party will spend the entire term trying to maintain a distinction between itself and the other party, resulting in year round campaigning, no budget, no immigration reform, no tax reform and government shut downs.
To get a functioning congress, we must elect people who can do the job; are willing to work with whomever to get the job done; and will focus more on doing the job than whether or not he/she will be reelected.
A candidate’s answers to two questions will tell you enough about him/her to make a more informed decision.
1. What is one policy, program, or piece of legislation that your opponent has drafted, advocated or supported that you would be willing to support, and why? The answer will tell you whether or not either candidate can speak intelligently and in detail about a specific view of the other and the degree of difficulty they would have finding common ground.
2. Would you support a United States Constitutional Amendment that would require a unanimous vote in order for the United States Supreme Court to “strike down” an Act of Congress? Many in congress are not aware that the Supreme Court does not have the Constitutional authority to strike down or amend any congressional legislation; the court empowered itself, and over time it became a tradition; like marriage.
But, as the court contends that the times dictate abandoning certain traditions, the unfettered privilege of the court to exercise certain powers should also be abandoned.
Since the 2000 presidential election, where the Supreme Court insinuated itself into what was clearly a state matter under the US Constitution, it has demonstrated little to no restraint in abusing the power tacitly granted to it.
Consequently, while congress is campaigning and fighting the executive and opposite party, the Supreme court is ruling the country and lower courts are ruling the states.
Judicial Review, in some cases, is necessary to prevent a legislature from doing what the Supreme Court is doing; riding roughshod over our constitutional rights. But, if five members of the court see it one way and four see it another, that is hardly compelling enough to override the congress.
Voting for candidates that can clearly articulate an area of common ground with his/her opponent of the opposite party and who will unequivocally register support to constrain Supreme Court power will be a start toward putting sanity back on the hill and, by extension, into our lives.
Once candidates know we are voting for someone, not against someone; for substance, not campaign ads (negative or positive); for someone who believes what best serves the country will also serve his/her constituents; for someone who knows and articulates their position, not someone whose position changes with the polls and special interest groups; for someone who would rather lose than pander, maybe the wheeling, dealing, campaigning, fundraising politicians will go try their hand at selling used cars or something; and we can start to put statesmen and stateswomen in the congress.