DayeTime: The opposite of pro-gress is Con-gress

With qualifying for the Nov. 6 elections held earlier this week, we are officially in “Election Season.”

This fall election does not have the same national and international impact as the Presidential race in 2016 and it is not as massive as the state free-for-all will be in 2019, but there are important offices to be filled.

We will look at the local elections a little closer later in the process, after the candidates and the issues have been better defined.

This column focuses on what we may see in the “new” Congress after the votes are cast in the November elections and December runoffs.

In an effort to look at the pros and cons of this issue, I have concluded the opposite of pro-gress is Con-gress.

Political observers are predicting an anti-Trump backlash will sweep many Republicans out of the House and Senate in the “mid-term” elections.

Louisiana has six representative seats -- I remember when we had eight -- that are all up for grabs this fall. Neither of our two Senate positions are to be decided this year.

5th District Rep. Ralph Abraham is in a “safe” Republican district, but even he is likely to draw a few anti-Trump candidates seeking to edge him out of the runoff.

Historically, the President’s party has lost seats in the first Congressional election after his election. Predicting it will happen this time doesn’t take a Nostradamus.

It should be noted that many political experts were predicting a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Which reminds me of an oft-cited -- and possibly misquoted -- comment about Richard Nixon’s victory over George McGovern: “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”

The problem with that observer and others -- liberal and conservative alike -- is they need to broaden their circle of contacts. If they surround themselves with like-minded individuals, they become more certain of their position and more immovable because everyone they know believes the same way they do -- so they must be right.

This has caused what pundits call the “polarization” of national politics. In that situation, those with differing positions on an issue stand their ground and refuse to move toward the middle to reach an agreement.

I remember very well as a teenager hearing the grown-ups say, “There’s not a whit’s difference between a Republican and a Democrat in Congress except the letter after their name.”

When Ronald Reagan was President, Democrats and Republicans were able to get along and get things done.

Things began to tilt a little when George Bush the 1st was elected. Democrats bristled that the GOP had extended its stay in the White House beyond two terms with the previous vice president taking over.

There seemed to be more political manipulation and games to try to ensure Bush was a one-term President.

And it worked.

The Baby Boomers decided it was time to retire the “Greatest Generation” and elected Bill Clinton.

During those two terms, Republicans showed more outright animosity toward the President. The veil of respect for the office was rent in twain.

Clinton didn’t help matters by showing that he wasn’t really worthy of respect and by dishonoring the office with his shenanigans.

Republicans refused to work with Democrats and focused on getting a Republican into the White House as soon as possible. They tried to get Clinton out by impeachment, but fell short.

When George Bush II was elected, the Democrats thought they had been robbed of a “third term” with Vice President Al Gore’s narrow electoral college defeat.

There was more stalemate and gridlock between the parties. It was a case of “you were mean to Bill, so we’ll be mean to George.”

Bush II was re-elected to a second term -- and most of the political observers were shocked.

Then came eight years of Barak Obama, and the “armed camp” mentality in Congress grew even stronger.

The Republicans were bound and determined not to let Obama have anything that remotely resembled a political victory. It was a case of “you were mean to George, so we’ll be mean to Barry.”

Unfortunately, the real loser in that kind of political bickering is the American public.

Donald Trump took the White House by breaking the “blue wall” around the Great Lakes. He won Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin -- and came close to taking Minnesota.

In addition, he kept the “solid South” -- except for Virginia -- in the GOP fold.

Democrats felt robbed, called foul, alleged cheating, etc. They said Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, just like Gore did against “W.”

What they don’t say is the margin of victory in the popular vote is due to Clinton’s overwhelming support in a few states, like California, while Trump had less overwhelming wins but in more states.

So now the Democrats and Republicans refuse to work with each other on many issues.

Trump has not helped matters with his abrasive New Yorker attitude and revelations about his past that also bring dishonor on the Presidency -- even if they were committed before he was elected.

Like most people, I have many more questions than I do answers.

I am aware of the problems our national elected leaders face. I wish I could email them the solutions to those problems, but I don’t have them.

Those officials from across the country who have gathered in Washington, D.C., were elected and are paid to solve those problems.

Unfortunately, about the only thing they seem to agree on is that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

I would like to see them put aside their party affiliations for just a few months and work together to reach solutions.

“We could call it a “declaration of Independents.” Maybe they can dust off that tried-and-true word “compromise” and get something done.

But then again, they would probably just decide to order a short stack, two eggs over easy and a glass of OJ.

Maybe they can agree on that -- as long as they stay away from the “grits or oatmeal” controversy.


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