Diamond: only we Americans have the ability to destroy ourselves

Recently, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center and other pollsters shows that there are obvious differences in cognition and partisanship among different political groups in the United States. The analysis shows that the political elites have differences on many issues, and the public splits into different groups, which in turn strengthens the motivation of the political elites to intensify the differences. In the view of health experts, the reason why the United States has been unable to smooth the epidemic transmission curve is closely related to the political division of the country. Behind the political division is the intensification of political polarization. Previously, Francis Fukuyama, a well-known American political scholar, pointed out in his article “the cost of American political decay” published on the website of “American interests”, that this unprecedented epidemic should have been an opportunity for Americans to put aside their differences and unite, but on the whole, the epidemic has “intensified the political polarization of the United States” and “with the passage of time, the political pole has become more and more serious It’s likely to get worse. “. In fact, the phenomenon of political polarization is not only reflected in political disputes, but also penetrates into all aspects of American people’s life, and gradually tears down interpersonal relationships. Political compromise is one of the basic advantages of democracy over autocracy, because political compromise can prevent the majority and the demoralized minority from paralyzing the government. The Federal Constitution of the United States forms the pressure of political compromise by establishing the system of separation of powers and checks and balances. For example, the president of the United States is responsible for initiating government policy-making, but Congress controls the government’s budget, and the speaker of the house of Representatives is responsible for setting the agenda of the house of Representatives and discussing the president’s proposals. It is often the case that our elected representatives to congress hold their own views and are deadlocked, and the views of all parties are not supported enough to be passed. In this case, the parties must reach some kind of compromise before the government can take practical action. A more modern example is the relationship between Republican President Ronald Reagan and Thomas O’Neill as speaker of the house of representatives in 1981-1986. Both of them are experienced statesmen with strong personalities and different opinions on most political issues. However, while O’Neill did not like Reagan’s economic agenda, he acknowledged the power of the constitution to the president’s proposal, and launched a House vote on it, and acted on the proposed agenda. Under the leadership of Reagan and O’Neill, the federal government maintained normal operation: the agenda was completed on time, the government budget was approved, the government never stopped, and procedural obstruction of deliberation was not frequent. Reagan, O’Neill and their supporters disagreed on tax reduction, federal tax reform, immigration policy, reform of social security system, reduction of non military expenditure and increase of military expenditure, but they finally reached a compromise. Although Reagan’s nominees for federal judges were usually not to people’s taste and therefore rejected some of them, Reagan appointed more than half of the federal judges, including three of the nine Supreme court officials. However, since the mid-1990s, the situation of political compromise has been deteriorating in the United States, especially since about 2005. Not only between the two major political parties in the United States, but also between the radicals and moderates within each political party, there has been a situation of compromise and collapse. This situation is particularly serious within the Republican Party. The main challenge faced by the moderate Republican candidates who have reached a compromise is the tea party, a radical faction in the Republican Party. < / P > < p > as a result, the number of bills passed by the U.S. Congress in 2014-2016 was the lowest in recent U.S. history, resulting in the budget passing lagging behind the original plan, which laid hidden dangers for the government shutdown, or actually accelerated the government shutdown. < p > < p > in the United States, the collapse of political compromise includes procedural obstructions and blocking the appointment of government candidates nominated by the president. Procedural obstruction is a strategy allowed by the rules of procedure of the U.S. Senate, which means that a small number of senators who oppose a proposal issue lengthy objections to force the other party to compromise or withdraw the proposal. According to the rules of procedure of the Senate, as long as the absolute majority of the senators agree, the proposal can be “terminated discussion”, thus terminating the procedural obstruction. In practice, the determined minority, who would have been defeated by the majority, can use the procedural obstruction strategy to reach a compromise with the majority, while the determined absolute majority can refuse to reach a compromise with the minority through “ending the discussion”. This system has worked well for most of American history, despite the obvious possibility of abuse of power – that is, the minority paralyzes the government through procedural obstruction strategies, or the majority achieves its goal through “closing discussions.”. The minority seldom uses the procedural obstruction strategy, and the majority seldom initiates the “end of discussion” vote. In the first 220 years of American constitutionalism, under the leadership of 43 presidents, the Senate used procedural obstruction strategy to oppose 68 candidates for government positions nominated by the president. However, when President Obama was elected in 2008, Republican leaders announced that they would oppose all of Obama’s proposals. In just four years, Republicans have vetoed 79 presidential candidates nominated by Obama, more than the total of the past 220 years. < / P > < p > in 2012-2016, during President Obama’s second term, the Republican controlled Senate approved the smallest number of presidential nominated judges since the 1950s, and the smallest number of federal court of appeals judges approved since the 19th century. < / P > < p > although candidates for some important positions can fund their campaigns by raising many small donations, most candidates for other positions have to rely on a few large donations. There is no doubt that the donors behind the large donations have a strong desire for specific policy objectives and will only donate money to candidates who support them. After a long political career, a friend wrote to me dispirited and said, “of all the problems we face, I think that by far, obedience to money is the biggest failure in our political system and personal life. The use of money to buy politicians to achieve certain political goals is becoming more and more serious The scramble for political funds consumed a lot of time, money and political enthusiasm The political agenda bows to money, the political discourse gets worse and worse, and politicians fly between their constituencies and Washington, and they don’t know each other at all. ” The last point mentioned by this friend is exactly the second explanation for the collapse of political compromise: with the increase of Chinese flights, the passage between Washington and the states of the United States has become more frequent and faster. In the past, our congressmen used to work in Washington. On weekends, they still stayed in Washington, because there was not enough time for them to travel between Washington and their hometown in one weekend. Their families also live in Washington, D.C., where their children go to school. On weekends, these congressmen often take their partners and children to participate in social activities. In this way, members of Congress not only have adversary or alliance relations, but also have friends. < / P > < p > however, nowadays, the high cost of campaign has put a lot of pressure on congressmen, who often have to go back to their hometown in order to raise money. The convenience of China’s air travel also contributes to this trend. Many members of Congress’ families choose to stay in their hometown, where their children go to school. In this way, members’ children have no chance to play together, and they have no chance to know each other’s families. They are just politicians in each other’s eyes. At present, about 80 of the 535 members of Congress do not even buy or rent apartments or houses in Washington. On weekdays, they spend the night in their office beds and fly back to their hometown on weekends. < / P > < p > this behavior specifically refers to the act of redividing a state’s constituencies in order to ensure that the probability of a party’s members being elected to a state is higher than that of the party’s voters in that state. This is nothing new in American political practice. As a matter of fact, the inspiration of this concept comes from the former governor of Massachusetts, elrich gray. As early as 1812, the state government of his state re divided the state constituencies, with the sole purpose of increasing the number of elected members of Gregory’s party. This led to a strange geographical shape in the re divided constituencies, one of which was particularly shaped like a salamander, which gave rise to the word “gerryn”. Today, the United States conducts a national census every 10 years, and redistributes the seats of each state in the house of Representatives according to the census results. After that, each state’s legislature can redraw the boundaries of the state’s house constituencies. < / P > < p > more and more state legislatures have begun to redraw the boundaries of constituencies, especially in the states controlled by the Republican Party. These state legislatures concentrate as many voters as possible into as few constituencies as possible, in which they have an absolute advantage. As a result, the rest of the state’s voters are dispersed in as many other constituencies as possible, where the Republican advantage is usually guaranteed. The impact of the unfair re division of constituencies on political compromise is that it is predictable which party and policy the majority of voters in each constituency will support. So if a candidate chooses to please both parties at the same time, he is likely to lose. So candidates know that they should take an extreme stance and attract only those parties that are expected to win in their constituencies. This is actually a phenomenon of political polarization. However, the above three explanations of the trend of political polarization in the United States, namely, the pressure of fund-raising brought about by the rising election costs, the convenience of China’s air travel, and the unfair division of constituencies, only attempt to explain the polarization trend of political figures, who are only a small part of the current American population. The scope of the practical problem is much broader: Americans as a whole are becoming increasingly polarized and politically less willing to compromise. < / P > < p > just look at the distribution map of the results of the 2016 US presidential election, and mark the Republican Party and the won states in red and blue respectively. It can be found that the coastal areas and big cities are basically the base camp, while the inland areas and rural areas are dominated by the Republican Party. < p > < p > the parties are increasingly homogenizing and ideologically extreme: Republicans are becoming more conservative, people are becoming more liberal, and moderates in both parties are gradually disappearing. According to the survey, there are many branches

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