Thursday, December 1, 2016

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Interim Of Adjustment

The next seven weeks will be an interim of adjustment for
almost everyone in the public policy/political world. Both
winners and losers need to take, I think, some deep breaths.
It is not, in my opinion, a time for either gloating or despair,
but rather a time to get used to some new political realities.

Much is now being made in the media, and by pollsters, that
the nation remains “deeply divided.” Like all conventional
wisdom this past campaign season, this is likely less accurate
than it seems to be. In a period of change, divisions can

Donald Trump has defied conventional wisdom as no other
political figure has in modern times. He has won an historic
victory, but he did not win the popular vote, nor did he win the
electoral vote without narrow margins in some states. Now in
control of most institutions of state and local government, the
Republican Party has a critical burden to deliver reform and

Mr. Trump’s appointments will not be greeted with pleasure
by his opponents. They are not meant to do so. A cabinet and
its staffing are meant to enable a president, especially in 2017,
to effect reform. So far, Mr. Trump’s appointments seem
designed to enable him to work closely with the U.S. house
and senate to make reforms happen.

The Democratic Party is now faced with two very important
decisions. One is to decide who are the voters it wants to reach
out to in the future. This is especially key because the coalitions
of recent decades, so carefully assembled and successful, might
not fit the needs and expectations of voters next year and
beyond. I have already noted that the British Labour Party,
following a national defeat, chose to go the left with the result it
has lost support, not gained it. The second key decision is to
decide how to respond to President Trump and his new
administration. With only a small margin in the U.S. senate,
Republicans will need some cooperation from Democrats on
some issues. Liberals will need to decide whether their
legitimate role as the opposition excludes cooperation and
negotiation, and how their decisions on this will be perceived by

Republicans, on the other hand, need to decide not only how to
make change and reform government policies, but also how to
work with their Democratic colleagues. When the Democrats
were in control, their leaders, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi,
essentially ignored their opposition --- and the result was
disaster. Their highhandedness led directly to political defeat
in 2010 and 2014. This might be the result for Republicans in
2018 if they forget that they did not win all thr votes in 2016.

The Democratic nominee for president received more votes than
the Republican nominee did on election day, but she did not win
a majority of votes cast. Liberals, therefore, should not assume
their brand of public policy represents a majoritarian view. In fact,
so many of their supporters located in only one kind of location,
If conservatives can follow through with more appeal to inner
city voters, the Democrats are in more trouble than they now

In fact, the 2016 election has revealed a new electoral playing
field. Both liberals and conservatives need to think very
carefully and creatively about what they will do next.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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