What Is Wrong with Politics?

by blackspanielgallery

Politics are often the source of complaints, and there is much to complain about. However, people rarely see the problems on their own side. Fairness requires a total look.

While I am only familiar with the United States, it appears from reading that some of the same problems are more universal, albeit in different form. So, what is wrong with politics?

Unfortunately, it is not one simple problem. That would lead us to finding an immediate solution. Rather, it is a conglomerate of many problems that are intricately interwoven, and the unweaving will take time.

I will use the United States government as an example, but it appears variations of the problems, while not exactly the same, are rather global.

Which Branch of Government Has the Power?

In theory the United States has three branches of government.  There are two parts to Congress, the House of Representatives that has more members to more populated states, and the Senate that has two senators from each state.  This is supposed to provide fairness from both a population and regional point of view. 


Congress is supposed to be the only source of new laws.


The Administrative Branch, in particular the President, has the right to approve or veto laws sent.  No President can make a law without Congress first passing it.  However, the veto is not the final say.  With enough votes in each part of Congress the law can still be passed.


The Supreme Court is supposed to decide if a law is indeed lawfully made, for if it violates the Constitution it would not be valid.


The problem is there are nine members of the Supreme Court.  These are supposedly learned jurists.  The large number is to prevent one or two members from making decisions that are improper.  But many significant issues are decided with four voting against the majority of five.  What is more, the ideological lines often predict how most of the votes will fall.  The judges are supposed to be impartial. How can so many judges so often vote one way while such a large number vote the other if they all studied the same law and are impartial?  What is more alarming is how senators will ask, when a candidate for the Supreme Court is being considered, how that candidate will vote on a particular issue.  In theory all should agree on the law, and decisions before the particulars of a case is tried should not be a concern of senators.


Many Issues, Two Parties

The problem starts at the polls.  There are two major political parties.  The platforms are usually not very flexible.  Most voters agree with some of the positions of each party, but rarely agree with everything of either party’s platform.  So, one might have to vote against environmental concerns if one wants to have a candidate oppose abortion.  When issues like abortion, environmental protection, nuclear power, immigration, and welfare are considered, it is unlikely a voter will be in full agreement with either party.


So, why can a candidate not break on major issues with a party?  Well, it is allowed, but there is a need to be elected.  In the United States an obscene amount of money is spent on many elections, more than most candidates can raise.  The party must supply the rest.  Breaking in ideology with the party can cost that financial support, and advertisement drives elections.  One issue might be accepted, but too far from the party positions is politically perilous.


Personal morals often enter into political races, but really have little impact on the performance of a candidate.  The moral question comes in with regard to the issues.  In some cases, it is not possible for a person to be consistent with a moral code and back a certain political position.  The short list of issues above have people fervent in a moral position on each.


Some issues are complex.  Consider welfare.  There is an obligation of taking care of those in society who legitimately cannot take care of themselves.  But, to hand out money to those who could and should earn their own way is being an accomplice in their laziness, and while it may be “legal” money they take it could be morally theft.  When one side wants to limit welfare the other points to the people in true need.  When the other side wants to raise taxes to “give” more, the lazy money grabbers are spotlighted by the opposition.  It appears either extreme is immoral, but politicians too often only see the problem with the other side.  Many issues have a meaningful center where we should go.


Voters will vote for their own benefit more often than not.  So, a voter might vote for no one being helped to avoid tax increases, or for wasting money of those abusing the system, depending on the voter’s situation.


Then there is the lack of respect.  One republican yelled something like “You lied” at President Obama, and a newly elected Democrat used unsavory language at President Trump.  There is no place for such actions.  And the hearings of the Senate committee for the Supreme Court nomination had outrageous behavior demonstrated by some senators. 


No, it is not fine when your party does it, for either side.


Ignorance of the Voters

Having taught at community colleges and universities over more than thirty years, I see students less and less prepared.  Unfortunately, this is not just in science and mathematics.  It apparently includes civics, a study of how governments work.


When President Trump was elected there was an outcry regarding the votes.  Our system uses an Electoral College, and only those votes count.  We vote for members of that body.  It really does not matter which candidate got more of the people’s votes.  Yes, Hillary Clinton had more people vote for her than did President Trump.  But the claim that she had the majority of votes in wrong.  Neither rose to over fifty percent.  That has not happened in many prior elections, so why is this one different?


This happens because there are other political parties.  Currently, these have little chance of getting a candidate elected.  But they pick up some votes based on philosophical reasons.  Another reason people vote for these smaller parties is in protest of the two major candidates.  In an election with other than the rules for a presidential election there would be a runoff.  Neither could claim victory until after that happened.


The situation was complicated by those who wanted to explain it, but in their effort decided to address the people who failed to vote.  Since most states give all of their votes to a single candidate, people living among those who vote for the opposite party in large numbers often do not bother voting.  This is not right, but it was used to try at an explanation, since it dismissed President Trump’s poorer showing.  In politics, spin is more important than fact, and both sides do it. 


So, the claim Hillary Clinton had the majority of votes and won is bogus.  More is not a majority. 


In our government the Vice President takes over if something happens to the President, not the person who came in second in the election. 

The Future

Avoid Repeating the Thirties

The last presidential election shined a light on a future danger.  Emotions ran high, and some went to the point of organizing protests at the other side’s gatherings, both town hall and rally levels.  Violence occurred.  In some cases, the intruders were violent, in others the intruders were beaten.


Political rallies were in the past a place to get a message out.  But, as the education level of new voters drops, inciting messages seemed to be more prominent as the base is stirred into action.  Manipulating crowds with inciteful messages and sending goons to violently disrupt a rally are looking much like what I have seen in old film clips of Germany in the thirties. 



The polarization is so extreme there is little hope for harmony.  The ability of a successful run by a third party is unlikely.  What is needed is for politicians to work together, and work towards compromise where possible.  Some issues can have no compromise, but of those that can, forget which party will look the best and work for the people.  This means forget the polarization, and who caused it.  Blame is at the root of the problem.


Show true patriotism, not partisan rhetoric, and maybe if enough do so things will change.  And vote.  


The intent of this article was to not indicate a preference of sides, so in some cases the identity of the political affiliation of certain behaviors was not shown.  It is quite possible people who followed the last presidential election might be able to assign identities.


This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The introduction image is our own,

Updated: 02/04/2019, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 02/05/2019

My Zazzle cap predates Trump's cap, and contains no message. I have sold some with other countries' flags. I have, like ,many, often been forced to vote against a candidate instead of for a candidate, due to lack of quality that spreads across party lines.

The problem with political salaries, if they were the main source of revenue for many politicians that might be fine, but there is always under the table deals, and siphoning campaign money to tempt them.

katiem2 on 02/05/2019

P.S. the highlighted "Trump" hat gives a wee bit of a slant to your unbiased article. Just saying...

katiem2 on 02/05/2019

Corruption is a means by which many line their pockets, greed is the root of all wrong doing, I think it prudent political figures should receive the same salary as do teachers, then perhaps those who truly care about their country will fill political positions and the world becomes a better place.

blackspanielgallery on 02/05/2019

Frank,hope you feel better soon. I know your politicians are probably about like ours, many looking for power and money.

blackspanielgallery on 02/05/2019

Veronica, moral voting works as long as one side has no immoral stance. The Democrats tend to favor abortion, while the Republicans tend to favor corporate profits over the environment. There are many issues with a moral component.

blackspanielgallery on 02/05/2019

Veronica, the government shutdown was political. It happens often. Only an approved budget item can be spent unless it is essential. Until recently, the government was run by Republicans, but in the last election the House of Representatives became Democratic. The battle is over a wall on the southern border and DACA, children brought in by parents illegally and now grown being granted citizenship.

The shutdown was partial, so politicians were paid, except some who asked not to be. Now, back pay is being paid out. Some worked and were paid, some worked and had pay deferred, some were off but usually are paid as though they worked after the fact. This was known to be coming, so preparation was in order. The people who lost pay were contractors. If a person worked for a contractor and the government contract shut down they were at risk.

The funding approved was for about three weeks, probably so the pay could be distributed. It should happen again very soon.

The real reason is so each side can blame the other, or so it seems.

blackspanielgallery on 02/05/2019

WriterArtist, I am not at all familiar with the Indian system. But blackmail is a form of corruption, and corruption is a real danger in all political systems.,

frankbeswick on 02/05/2019

As I rested in bed this morning I was dwelling on this issue, but I have been delayed in writing anything as I have had a minor illness. So thanks for writing the article. Your article was timely,considering the situation in the UK where inferior and unworthy people wield power at the expense of the nation. The trouble with politics is politicians. So many enter politics for the money and the power rather than as an act of service. They serve sectional interests rather then the common good.

Veronica on 02/05/2019

Thank you for your clear explanations of American politics. I am passionate about news, politics and world events and I must say I find the American system confusing. My son has a politics degree and he tries to explain your system to me.

The recent news of government shutdown distressed me greatly when I thought of those poor workers with no wages whilst the senators , president etc … had their wages . is this true ? if so is it right ?

Agreed that no one candidate will or party will fit all our personal wishes . It is a question of " right fit". That said , I do vote from a moral stance and have been known to vote for a different party to my own if my candidate didn't fit my moral criteria.

This very thought provoking. Thank you.

WriterArtist on 02/05/2019

Unlike US, India has several regional parties that adds to the problem. A coalition government that comes out of such arrangement is unstable and can blackmail the running office/parliament. Nothing good has ever come out of politics that is becoming more power driven and corrupt.

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