Reasonable People Can Disagree- Are Any Left?

The Wisconsin Supreme Court election of Wednesday, April 6th was a real squeaker…Kloppenburg, the democratic challenger has beaten Prosser, the incumbent Republican by 204 votes out of a little over 1,400,000 cast. This ensures a recount. This election has turned out around a half million more voters than in a normal off-year Wisconsin election, and certainly a huge turnout for a nominally non-partisan Supreme Court election.


Reportedly, over 3 million dollars was spent on this election, a stunning amount for such a race. (The Brennan Center for Justice puts the total from 4 conservative groups in Wisconsin judicial races in 2011 at $2,177,220 and the progressive Greater Wisconsin Committee’s spending at $1,363.040.)


Does this election, on the heels of the Republican governor and legislature there passing legislation banning collective bargaining for most unionized government workers foretell an ever more fractured electorate, both there and nationally? With a rally there turning out some 100,000 people protesting the elimination of the collective bargaining rights, it would seem so.


There is no doubt that there is huge money from very conservative billionaires behind the union-busting in Wisconsin and elsewhere. There is also no doubt that there is a substantial amount of union money and union on-the-ground organizing supporting the government employee unions, trying to maintain what they’ve gained over years.


Pulling out to the national level, witness the potential government shut down over the temporary budget continuing resolution that the two major parties can’t agree on. Until relatively recently, politics was the art of the compromise. The two major parties have now grown so far apart, and so entrenched in their positions, it seems almost impossible for them to agree on the slightest point.


Perhaps it’s time to see a modification of our at least formerly great system of government. It could be third and fourth parties at the least disruptive…perhaps serving the more moderate voters and independent voters, which actually outnumber those on the extremes in each party. A lot of younger voters seem to be leaning towards this. As one television commentator who had formerly worked in the legislative branch noted, it might even be time to take a giant step, and blow the whole thing up and switch to the parliamentary system. It could be something not yet even contemplated.


Whatever course the country ends up taking, it’s time for the great middle to start dictating terms to the extremes in both the major parties, instead of giving in to their often unreasonable demands. This is, and I hope will remain, the greatest country in the world, but we are in serious need of pulling together and really addressing our challenges.



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