Full disclosure of bias: I’m vice president of USD College Democrats.
I’m only 20 years old and have parents who are aggressively apathetic to politics. So my knowledge of the state of politics begins with the first election of former President Obama, and only really forms into any sort of consciousness around 2011.
All of my memories of politics involve frustration with the Republican Party being so unwilling to work with President Obama. Whether attempting to eliminate the Affordable Care Act at what felt like every corner, or more recently refusing to hold a hearing for Merrick Garland to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat.
This was always frustrating because it seemed so childish. I understand fighting what you believe in. For instance, while I support the ACA and think Garland should’ve received a hearing, it’s the responsibility of legislators to oppose whatever legislation they choose and vote against a well-qualified Supreme Court nominee. But it was frustrating that every issue had to be made a fight over largely unrelated issues just so Republican legislators and officials could gain some partisan brownie points for opposing the Democratic president.
Now, our party doesn’t have the Congress (like most of the Obama years), the presidency and it’s likely left-of-center justices will be a definitive minority in the Supreme Court before 2020. Perhaps we can gain ground in 2018, and there’s certainly evidence of a liberal groundswell, but we need to accept that we don’t have the best hand this round.
That said, Democrats still have the ability to make life a lot more difficult for Republicans. This disadvantage isn’t in the party’s best interest, but if it had to happen, it happened at a good time. We’re seeing a time where the Republican party is barely holding itself together and seems more or less incapable of uniting around any major portion of the conservative agenda.
Odds are, Republicans won’t be able to make any major moves against the core values of the Democratic Party anytime soon. The attempt at healthcare reform fell soundly on its face. The courts continue to stop attacks on immigration. So, for now, let’s not be toxic jerks. I don’t like President Trump more than anyone.
But I don’t want to be part of the obstructionist party. It would be very easy to take the petty route and exact revenge. Frankly, it would probably be the more enjoyable thing to do. However, that’s not the option the party should take. It’s really easy to complain when you don’t have the power to change things.
Instead, let’s seek our commonalities with more centrist members of the opposition. Let’s make compromises instead of challenges. Our country faces a great deal of issues, and we probably always will. I think the only way to fix them is for the country to take a few steps left.
That said, we must be patient. So, let’s work with the people who are in power where we can, get things done and come back strongly on the moral high ground. If nothing else, history will remember us in the right.