Our very damaged president views the world in terms of personal loyalty. Loyalty to the country, or anything greater, is beyond his understanding. The real criminals are the Republicans who go along with him, knowing that he is fundamentally weakening our civil institutions, the Constitution, and the separation of powers.–constituent’s facebook comment 8-14-2018 (lightly edited)
Sometimes our elections hinge on issues–principles, conflicting views, courses of action. On other occasions personalities and party loyalty dominate the campaign.
- Lincoln–a three way contest over the future of “the union.”
- Wilson–good government
- FDR–ending the depression
Johnson wasn’t particularly popular nor was Goldwater. Goldwater’s perceived extremism helped sink his prospects for election.
- Eisenhower–“I like Ike” (and the Korean War)
Wilson won in a three way race on a platform of good government. He claimed he owed no person or interest for his nomination and election. Initially successful, he was stymied by dogged partisan opposition in his second term. As with Obama, many of his good government reforms were overturned during the next administration.
Issues ought to be important; candidates who run on issues and make progress are more likely to be remembered favorably than those who run and win on personality.
The concept of political teams (Team Reed, Team Tracy, Team Trump) is disturbing. Who represents us is more important than an athletic event. When so many votes in Congress reflect party lines, which party controls Congress can keep NY-23 in economic doldrums or lead to renewed prosperity.
Reportedly, the 2016 Republican platform was influenced by Russians. Was there any debate; did anyone notice or care? If platforms are meaningless, so too are political parties.
Writing about his war time experience at Los Alamos, Richard Feynman explained the limits of censorship. He wrote that while the censors would not allow disclosure of the details of the work, one was free to write to one’s representative in Congress to express a political opinion or to complain that the place was mismanaged. Government employees at every level should not be required to sign agreements which limit their ability to express their views; it is the opposite of transparency.
I understand party loyalty when one party or the other stands for principles and policies that one supports, but not when partisans accept whatever their leader last said. Loyalty is harmful when issues of importance are neglected–corruption, lies, excessive secrecy, and incompetence are antithetical to good government. For good government, our votes must be more than rubber stamps for one party or another.