I have usually thought of Congress as the most powerful branch, but most agree that title belongs to the Executive. (Also, the Legislative Branch is explained in Article I while the Executive is in Article II.) I always liked the fact that the aggregation, combination, and/or chaos of the House and the Senate is a good indicator of where the American people, for better or worse. Unfortunately, our electoral system usually biases/skews that representation due to redistricting, state size, or other factors. As it stands now, the Republican wave within the state houses and the governors’ mansions allowed them to unilaterally create districts to maximize the amount of Republicans for the upcoming decade, all else equal. (Look at USC’s Annenberg Center’s ReDistricting Game to get a fuller understanding of that particular process.) Of course Democrats did the same, but they really only had one state to make that difference in Illinois (Chicago Tribune). With the 2014 elections coming, no serious political analyst sees Democrats making a gain, especially in the midterm of the 2nd term of a President as evidenced in the below (President Clinton’s 2nd term was an exception to the rule).
I will just touch upon some aspects of the (partial) federal government shutdown in just this 1 post because in approximately 10 days when I blog again, I hope I am not writing about it again. Usually I try not to blog about the #1 thing in politics, but this shutdown has been building for weeks and is dominating the headlines in such a way that there’s no way to avoid it. I’d like to thank POLITICO for their in-depth coverage of all the facts and drama coming out of DC, because I still don’t know how they’re able to stand the hypocrisy, ridiculousness, and histrionics that occur on a constant basis.
Voting is the one time that you at least seem to be equal with anyone else. Of course there is voter registration (except for ND), residency, age, voter ID laws, possibility of absentee balloting, and ability to get to a poll during the specified time and at the correct place which serve as obstacles for a potential voter to cast their ballot. The people are already disenfranchised before they vote with a variety of factors such as a lack of transparency in political contributions, gerrymandering once a decade, and electoral systems which (for better or for worse) produce a primary-driven instead of a general consensus candidate leading to a two-party system (which has both pros and cons). Continue reading
Why does it seem that there needs to be legislation to get two sides to work together? Well that’s what was needed to get Congress to cut the debt/deficit by creating the Supercommittee. The Politico article, “Supercommittee ‘odd couple’ a source of hope” (October 16, 2011), details how Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) have to work together. Legislators should already be working together through that thing called compromise. However, that word is so dirty in the political world that it has become anathema. I truly don’t see how a committee of 12 will be able to
com[e] up with $1.2 trillion in savings over the next 10 years that can win support of the 12-member panel and pass a House and Senate divided on nearly every major issue.