Politicians must change their current tactics to ensure that the government truly serves the American people. The current strategies that candidates in both parties are employing for the midterm elections demonstrate the need for reform in the U.S. political system. For example, Republicans pointing to President Barack Obama’s flaws may be a valid method of swaying voters, but critical Republican politicians fluctuate on their opinions too frequently when attacking the president. They appear to be pandering to voters to gain support rather than devising concrete, consistent solutions to issues that Americans face.
During the recent Ukraine conflict, Republicans — who previously supported President George W. Bush’s actions during Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia — accused Obama of reacting too timidly to recent Russian aggression. Although either statement alone can hold validity, reprimanding Obama for abusing his presidential authority and then condemning his foreign policy for lacking authority sends contradictory messages. Furthermore, Republicans have targeted Obama for supporting doctrines — like keeping Guantánamo Bay open or yielding to corporate powers — that Republicans advocate for.
Rather than creating a dialectic that promotes citizens’ best interests, politics has turned into a game of partisan vendettas. This convenient manipulation to denounce the opposing party and appeal to voters is a tactic both parties use.
Sen. Harry Reid has recently been criticized for his hypocritical views on political donations. While vehemently attacking wealthy conservatives who donate to Republican causes, Reid neglects to acknowledge the large sums Democrats receive from liberal donors. Just as Republicans fail to defend the doctrines they support — often changing their opinions based on convenience — Democrats, too, should be criticized for their ideological inconsistencies.
Our founding fathers intended for our democracy to effectively serve the people. Instead, the American government is now plagued by deceitful tactics. The constant fluctuation of political viewpoints by our elected officials has fueled the public perception that politicians have lost touch with voters. The increasing polarization in our political system has muddled the original intent of our democracy and permits our representatives to use ideological differences as an excuse for ineffectively serving the people. The situation must change. While differences of opinion invariably exist in political discourse, constituents of opposing parties must work together to compromise.
Compromise can only occur if representatives articulate consistent beliefs that benefit citizens. Politicians should not reduce our democracy to political theater through stunts. Meaningful agreements cannot be reached if each party constantly modifies its position solely to be contrary to the opposition.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, April 2 print edition. Dan Moritz-Rabson is a contributing columnist. Email him at [email protected]