The benefits of gridlock in government

The writers of the United States Constitution did not want a national government that would work quickly and efficiently. They chose instead to build a government with checks and balances that would limit the power of the government and slow its ability to interfere in the lives of American citizens.

Therefore, they divided the government into three branches: a legislative branch that can make laws but has no ability to enforce laws, an executive branch that enforces laws but does not make or overturn laws, and a judicial branch that interprets and applies laws and that can overturn laws—but only when asked to do so by one or more citizens. The legislative branch is further checked and balanced by two houses which must agree with each other to pass a law. In the Senate, each state is equally represented; but in the House, states are represented proportionally. Members of the House must seek reelection every two years, so its members are focused on short term problems and interests. Members of the Senate hold terms of six years, so they can take a longer view of things. Potentially, the entire House could be changed in one election, but a minimum of two-thirds of the Senators would still be in the Senate after such an election.

Even when the President and the majority of both houses of Congress come from the same political party, the President and Congress maintain an adversarial relationship because of their different powers and concerns. During the past seventy-two years, American voters have frequently chosen to have the President come from one political party while the majority of at least one house of Congress represents the opposition party. When Congress convenes in January, the country will be in that situation again, as President Trump comes from the Republican Party while the majority of the House of Representatives—chosen by this week’s election—come from the Democratic Party.

What does this mean for the government of the United States over the next two years? The best-case scenario is that Democrats and Republicans—including President Trump—learn to communicate and to compromise, working together for the good of the country and pleasing Americans of various political viewpoints. Given human nature, a more likely scenario is that both sides experience frustration, unable to accomplish their goals. Given their desire for limited government, the framers of the Constitution would likely prefer the second scenario.

On the other hand, President Trump thrives on conflict. The more grief the Democratic members of the House try to cause him, the more he will rattle their chains in return. Already in the first half of his term, President Trump has been able to demonstrate that he has tried to keep his campaign promises but Congress and the courts have hindered him. We can expect the President to continue to act as he has been acting for the past two years. The dire consequences that his opponents in politics and among news reporters have been predicting have not come close to happening. For the next two years, we can expect much of the same results.

The Democrats in Congress would be foolish to attempt an impeachment of President Trump during the next two years. No matter what evidence they uncover, they are unlikely to find enough to convince two thirds of the Senate to remove him from office. Meanwhile, the time and energy spent on that useless venture would be time and energy not spent on seeking their other goals. For that they would suffer in the 2020 election. Their best ploy is to seek to compromise with the President and give him the option of working with them or spurning them. In either case, they would gain more from a posture of compromise than they can ever gain from continual opposition. J.

12 thoughts on “The benefits of gridlock in government

  1. From one whose family has been in small business for over 50 years—President Trump has been good for the small businesses…this coming from many a small business owner with whom we know and have worked with….plus the stock market hasn’t been too shabby either.
    He’s a businessman, not a politician!
    When the regular politicians figure this out, then maybe they will just be quiet for a while as he will not play by their rules…
    We did not elect a long-standing politician and I’m amazed that those so opposed can’t figure this little fact out.
    He’s building the economy and lives by the “art of the deal”
    Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t think he could learn to keep his thoughts and opinions to himself or behave a bit more kindly…and for heaven’s sake lose his twitter account!
    But I have no probelms​ with the progress I’ve seen these past two years.
    Plus I do think he has America’s best interest at heart over what we saw with Obama and Hillary as Sec of State…
    Now if the media would just shut up!!!!!
    Anywhoo—I say let’s get over the fact that he got elected…that’s now two years in the past…can we just work together while going forward???!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Juile… I’m afraid this is not simply the idea of “can’t we just accept he’s President and just get along” kinda thing. Polices and his agenda aside (which in itself has been marginal at best), his moral character, behavioral dysfunctions, uncivil antics, and complete disrespect to the office which he holds, has made him a national liability. I’ve often said.. put Pence in there with the Trump agenda and it would be much better. But people are just sold on his character and that, to me, is totally unacceptable. The man is a buffoon.
      I’ve been in business my whole life as well, Julie. Trump is no businessman; he’s a real estate mogul and he can brand himself well. Every time he’s ventured into business it’s collapsed on him. It’s time for him to go. Business people do not make for good politicians or diplomats. But.. hey.. that’s just me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doug thank you for your response to my verbal wringing of hands.
        The hardest thing in all of this has been the issue of finding a “moral” individual as a leader…Pence would certaninly be more along those lines…but I fear he’d be food for the hungry lions of Pelosi, Waters, Schumer, Booker, Warren, et al.
        In my thinking the last moral president was Raegan but there are those who would certainly argue that…I was a Reaganite so I feel as if it’s been down hill ever since.

        I don’t think bufoon is an apt description as Trump wouldn’t be where he is today had he been a bufoon—
        shrewd, calculating, self-serving, yes…
        But I do think he wants America to find her potential…we’re just too divided to hit that mark.
        He was elected, he has two more years…then he can be either booted or, yes, possibly kept for 4 more years…
        If Bill Clinton could stay after his very public run of lies, infidelity and blatant disrespect of his postion and literally of his office…then Trump remains…

        This obstructionism that is consumming our political system is nothing more than quicksand sucking us all downward.

        I’m so tired of the back and forth of all of this.

        I want this country get on with being America.

        Do I like Trump as a person…well, from what I hear, probably not.
        If I had my druthers, Moses might be a better pick…but we see how the Israeleits did with that…
        It’s hard to be a Christian who believes leadership should be moral, sound, fair and just…it’s the proverbial needle in the haystack.
        But I know our system…he got elected, let’s just move on….

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will not ever argue with the fact that you are simply a nice person, Julie. 🙂 I read the responses from folks across the blogs and don’t always comment.. but I can see in spite of the fact you are a Trump person, you’re conflicted enough on the subject to honestly want to see everyone get along… and not a fanatic conservative. I will accept your opinion… not that, that is important by any means, but it acknowledges that I can understand where you are coming from. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate that Doug…
        I’m certainly no rally attending, hat wearing, defiant Trumper…I went with what I felt was the lesser of the two evils…because you’ve got to admit…our choices were slim pickens…
        I never could nor can get around Benghazi with Clinton.

        I also believe in our system…we vote for our leaders and whoever wins, wins…be that good or be that bad.

        I’m a Christian Doug…so my faith and my view of politics is a lot like wrestling with an alligator…a bit frightening and certainly frustrating.
        We are a Nation that has turned its back on the Creator…as has most of our Western Civilization kinsmen…there will be repurcussions. Any one with any sort of Biblical knowledge knows this.
        But of course not all believe any of that as many simply do not believe.

        I pray for guidenance and direction…just as I continue praying for our leadership…
        God is greater then all of this and so my trust rests in Him…

        Liked by 1 person

      • And I certainly am not worthy or qualified to debate one’s chosen religious proclivities. But I guess I have a general comfort zone in giving humanity a first blush benefit of the doubt; I’ll accept a politician’s intentions as being just until such time as it’s proven otherwise.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we are all well past the “let’s compromise”. The GOP certainly wasn’t wanting it when they held both houses for the last two years. The only issue is Trump himself and his behavior… not his agenda. The House will assume their role as a check and oversight to presidential excess.. and there is a lot to challenge. Little will be done in the next couple years as it relates to actual legislation because the Senate will kibosh anything sent from the House. We have yet to hear from Mueller’s final report.. and as of today the WSJ is reporting solid evidence of campaign spending irregularities with Trump’s payoffs to the porn girls.
    You are likely very correct that impeaching Trump would be stalled in the Senate.. but NOT because of unconvincing evidence.. the Senate GOP could care less about that. They worship Trump and simply will stall any impeachment effort on that alone. But for the next two years Trump.. and the American people… are going to suffer big time.

    I might recommend my last post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aside from emotional upheaval, what suffering are you experiencing due to President Trump? And in what ways do you expect to suffer personally because of President Trump over the next two years? J.


      • What personal suffering am I (or have I) experienced with Trump as President? Intrinsic suffering… so far. What can turn intrinsic into “real” could very easily be the result of some buffoonery either in his inability at diplomacy, or some bonkers agenda thing that materializes down the road as a bad result. The intrinsic suffering…. his embarrassing the hell out of America, cheapening the office by his poor impulse control and rhetoric, never taking responsibility for his actions (or inactions), and a total disrespect for the traditions of the office he is holding. He’s a visual and inexperienced bombastic clown.

        On the other hand… Obama’s effect on me personally was also intrinsic for the most part… but it was in a positive way. He exhibited behavior traditional with the office and maintained the status quo regarding my own personal living… and made me proud to have him representing America. Was he the best? All a matter of personal preference. He certainly was not the worst… the worst is what we have now.

        Now.. one might presume to ask.. why would I feel both presidents didn’t really affect me personally beyond the intrinsic? Pretty much because I take responsibility for myself and my actions; I can survive on the existing playing field of life and while I have experienced the same economic ups and downs of many Americans.. I don’t sit and wallow in my self-pity.. but I pull myself up and continue on. I grasp at opportunity.. or create it for myself. I don’t sit around and wait for government to bail me out. The most important “gift” given to me is having the health and determination to do all that through life. My “loyalty” can’t be bought by some president who thinks a few hundred dollar tax break is going to make me swoon all over him… or some closed factory is suddenly back up and running when I should have had the responsibility of getting a new job or career on my own… or some stupid wall is going to make some imagined problem of immigration better for me when there are existing laws that just need to be followed. To me.. if the country is going good then I am ok with that. Right now it is good.. and maybe there’s a few industries not giving out pay raises. Get another damn job then. If there’s international trade disparities then that’s called diplomacy; work with our allies.. fix those issues. Don’t create chaos and turmoil. Fix the damn national deficit!

        But hey.. that’s just me.


  3. I am curious to see how things work out. I am not too confident in human nature, yet changes are in the air. Everywhere. So who knows. I’ll keep my fingers crosses. Expect nothing, but hope for the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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