What Partisan Divide?


If you listen to the mainstream media, you’ll hear a lot about the “partisan divide” in Congress, and how “the ideological middle is dead.” Liberals say that the Republican Party has shifted to the extreme right, alienating its own moderate members, with the prime example being House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent defeat to a Tea Party-er in his district’s Republican primary. Conservatives blame the Democrats for shifting to the left, to which some liberals counter that the Republicans have moved further to the right than the Democrats have to the left.

It makes sense that people are considered about the political system’s inefficiency, given the recent government shutdown and Congress’ inability to pass legislation (which might explain its 13% approval rating). But this is not due to any ideological divide. In fact, outside of the few minor talking points that the two parties use against each other, the Democrats and Republicans are in agreement about the major issues facing us today, whether this be in the executive branch (Bush vs. Obama) or in Congress. It would be ridiculous to suggest the two parties are identical (on issues like abortion and gay marriage, the parties differ), but the significant overlap should give you pause next time anyone talks about a “partisan divide.” Here’s a convenient list of their common positions:

Author: Edwin Jain

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  1. One must not forget that there is a significant number of conservatives and liberals in congress who are also actively against the NSA warrantless searches. Another example of bipartisanship.

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    • As I said, mainstream Democrats and Republicans agree with NSA surveillance, while progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans don’t. On the whole, Congress has defeated proposals aimed at curbing surveillance or defunding the NSA. In this case, the split isn’t exactly along party lines – it’s more like the core of the parties against its fringes. It’s similar to issues regarding US foreign policy – there’s a small minority of libertarian Reps and progressive Dems opposed to American power abroad, but the majority of Congress, especially the high-ranking/leading members of both parties, approve of the status quo. The point is that the cores of the Democratic and Republican Party are more aligned than we are led to believe.

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