It's voting day. Not only is it voting day, but it's the last day I have to read everyone's incessant political posts on Twitter and Facebook (theoretically). To mark this momentous occasion, I'm going give you a couple of my thoughts about presidential politics. And please keep the "presidential" thing in mind. That's what I'm talking about here, so don't assume I think the same thing when it comes to state and local elections. Cause I don't.
First, sure. Go vote.
Second, it really doesn't matter who wins the presidency, so don't complain tomorrow.
You may call that cynicism, but I like to think of myself as a realist. Even so, living my life in Utah as a democrat has taught me a few things about being cynical and having "one person, one vote" (that's a complete joke in a state like Utah, by the way. And most states are states like Utah).
Here's my rationale.
First, Congress. They're the ones who pass laws, who control who gets taxed what, how big or small government should be, and they've increasingly shown us their inability to compromise over the last 12 years at least. Probably longer, but I don't have a memory of paying much attention to Congressional politics before then. Here's a tip for anyone who isn't a fan of compromising with the other side: STOP ACTING LIKE A BABY. There's no way people of your frame of thought are going to get enough seats in the House and Senate as well as the presidency, so as long as you are uncompromising in your values (that match way less than half of the country's, by the way), nothing is going to get done and you'll go down in history as an idiot who refused to do anything for the country.
Second, everyone's talking about the economy and here's a juicy little detail for you: the president has a negligible effect on the economy. No one's going to raise the taxes on the middle class (unless they really are that stupid to shot themselves in the foot and, let's be honest, with "compromise" being the four letter word it is these days, that might just happen), and I don't see tax cuts being a big job creator anyway. Job growth in the Bush years really wasn't all that great. And if you look at all the programs FDR put in place during the Depression, sure they made a lot of families some money and made individual lives better (which was needed), but the economy didn't bounce back until manufacturing went way up with WWII. It was the private industry that started the Depression, the current recession, all recessions, and that has brought the economy back every time. There's really not much government can do, so does it really matter who's taking the helm? The course is going to be pretty much the same either way.
Third, a lot of people are talking about the national debt. I don't think anyone says that we shouldn't worry about it, but a lot of economists say that we don't need to worry about it quite yet. It's not at critical levels, and there's not much you can do about the debt without the economy at full potential anyway. And for anything to get done here, both sides have to give something up here. Spending has to go down, and revenue has to go up. End of story. For spending to go down, we have to tackle both Medicare and Social Security, which is political suicide for any candidate because the electorate are morons, so wait a few decades and we'll go the way of Greece. If by some miracle a president actually wanted to do something about those programs, do you really think Congress would pull together to get anything done? Again, it doesn't matter who the president is. It's Congress. Bottom line, let's end the Social Security tax cap, raise the age limit by a few years, have the government be more hands on to negotiate medical prices to help lower Medicare spending, lower military spending (cause that's not even in the budget) and raise taxes on the middle class. Everyone hates something, but it needs to be done. See how impossible that is for on person?
Fourth, social issues. This might be the only place I see a president making any kind of difference, yet they still rely on Congress to make those changes. Whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, pro-marriage equality or pro-traditional marriage, pro-amnesty or pro-deportation or somewhere in between any or all of those, it's Congress that makes the difference. Judges too, I suppose, but the Supreme Court has become so polarized as well (remember how that wasn't supposed to be an issue when they wrote the Constitution?) and no judge is going to retire until a president of their political persuasion is in power, so the makeup of the Supreme Court seems unlikely to change any time soon.
So really, everything goes back to Congress. It doesn't matter how hard a president tries, nothing will get done without compromise. Compromise won't happen until the primary and convention processes become more inclusive, and that won't happen as long as the partisans are in power of state politics.
Congress isn't likely to change much this year. It's looking like dems will keep the Senate (maybe lose one seat) while reps keep the House (maybe lose three seats). All those a**hats who refuse to compromise will stay put.
Thus, doesn't matter who's in the White House. Nothing's gonna change.
So stop being so dang optimistic about the future! (That part is a joke, by the way)