We love to talk about hyper-partisanship and name-calling in politics as though those are the primary reasons “Washington is broken.” But that’s not the case. We’ve had partisanship – hyper and otherwise – since our founding, as well as ugly name-calling, yet have always been able to come together and get big things done.
There is only one thing preventing us from doing the same today, an unwillingness to compromise. The Tea Party rose to power in 2010 openly mocking and disdaining anyone willing to compromise, and they have maintained that stance since, threatening to primary any Republican who dares to work with Democrats, or even establishment conservatives who they don’t consider sufficiently pure.
A recent Pew poll bears out that reality. More than 80 percent of liberals want compromise to push things forward even if it means they have to accept some things they don’t like – while only 32 percent of conservatives feel the same. It’s one thing to fight tooth and nail to shape the country the way you want it, but it is quite another to be unwilling to improve it in some ways if you can’t get everything you want. That’s the real danger in politics today, not hyper-partisanship, not name-calling.