Editorial: Election partisanship clogs needed progress
The politics of the elections this year and even 2016 are already obstructing progress that could be in Washington, D.C. by the end of 2014. The Republicans’ decision to scratch immigration reform from their list of items to accomplish has certainly made headlines, although the overhaul is seen by some as a potential economic booster. And the Obama administration is slowing their push for two sweeping trade deals that are actually supported by Republicans and business groups as job creators, but seen as toxic by Democrats.
The realities of the upcoming elections are undoubtedly settling in with the unpopularity of President Obama – currently his approval rating is in the low 40s – and the GOP’s mission to regain seats in the U.S. Senate as well as the Oval Office in 2016. It seems both parties are looking to put a spotlight on each other’s weaknesses, leading to a shutdown of sorts ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.
Unfortunately, that makes it unlikely for any legislative fixes to be moved forward as Washington takes to the campaign trail. Both parties are seemingly looking to appeal exclusively to their base as they concentrate on November and beyond.
With that mentality, it seems the potential wish list for the 2016 presidential election – which is still about 1,000 days away – is also already being tied heavily to the political scene across the nation.
That’s certainly the case in South Carolina where U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is being challenged by a fairly crowded field. As showcased on NBC’s Meet the Press and numerous websites last month, Bill Connor, one of several candidates running against Graham in the Republican primary, has already released TV ads showing Graham’s “admiration” toward 2016 Democratic Party presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton. In the clip , Graham refers to Clinton as “one of the most effective” Secretary of State in history. The ad, however, obviously fails to mention when the comment was made as well as Graham’s strong criticism of Clinton following the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya. Regardless, it’s sadly becoming hard to escape the specter of the likely hyper-partisan 2016 race, especially if it’s becoming injected into a primary fight in South Carolina.
That kind of caustic climate is certainly not a new phenomenon in Washington, D.C. But the fixation on winning elections, rather than trying to fix the ills that face the country, will only create more partisan rancor as well as a backlog of initiatives that need to be moved forward.