PLEASE CREATE MYS POST AND THE PEERS POST:
Reflect on partisanship in the Congress and discuss the proper role of the minority party in each house of the Congress. Is the frequent use of the filibuster for ideological purposes an act of patriotism or partisan politics at its worst?
Also discuss the proper role of the majority party in each house of the Congress. In responding to your classmates, discuss if you think its members should exclude the minority party whenever possible or try to compromise with them.
PEER 1 POST:
The chief job of the minority party is to become the majority, being the minority can be crazy and face paced at times because you can lose and still feel good, whereas in the majority you can win and not feel so good because you had to compromise away so much.The minority, they take full advantage of free speech periods on the floor and the amendment process to exploit the majority party’s weak spots. The minority party in Congress has been largely ignored in the past by journalists, media, and political scientists, and when it has been looked at it’s usually the Senate where the minority is more empowered using holds and filibusters. Why is the minority party doing so many things if they are so powerless? To be in the majority; to influence policy; to protect procedural rights and powers; and to achieve party unity. To accomplish these goals the minority party devotes its energies to campaign related activity like candidate recruitment and fundraising; to legislative activity, through floor amendments, to highlight differences with the majority: and to public position-taking.
There is no getting around the fact that members of the majority party typically decide the most crucial questions presented to Congress. Furthermore, members of the majority party also primarily control what will be considered by their chambers daily. In the end, the fact that a member can vote does not really matter as much if he has no control regarding what the questions will be.
The House majority determines the bills that are considered in committee as well as on the floor. Whenever a bill comes up on the floor, majority party leadership can exercise complete control over the amendments that can be offered by House members.
PEER 2 POST:
Partisan, Noun – an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance.
Adjective – of, relating to, or characteristic of partisans; partial to a specific party, person, etc.: partisan politics.
I thought starting off with the definition of partisanship, particularly the wording in the last part of both meanings above, might help illustrate the strict thinking involved in being a true political partisan. “…especially a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance,” is my personal favorite. Emotions, most times, deny logic and rationality. Beliefs and facts are rarely the same thing with one being provable and the other, most often, is not. A belief that radical conservatism or liberalism is the only way to “save our country” is an unproven ideal on both sides, but it is the belief in these extremes that keeps the home fires burning in both camps.
If any of you follow the slightest political ramblings on social media, there are very few people who argue that both sides have their good points and their ridiculous beliefs that make up most of their bad points. But it is this oil/water dynamic that keeps the political currents circulating. Some years there is more oil, some, more water, but never an equal mix. In this dichotomy, the role of the lesser is to remind the greater that they do not have exclusive authority, that they are trying to become the dominant force in controlling the flow of power and usurp incumbent place of authority. While the methods of the minority are limited, the filibuster is an important tool. Though its use can only be qualified as patriotic or a detriment to democracy depending on one’s personal viewpoint on the legislation that is being debated. Both liberals and conservatives have used it to their benefit and to their chagrin. Keeping that in mind, and that the government is designed to be inefficient to provide as much debate as there can be, the filibuster should be considered a valued tool of American Democracy.
The majority is given the ability to direct governmental efforts to reflect their ideology and further their party’s agenda. But this power is tempered by the moderates within the parties, those that are not ideal extremists. Though, through the course of the past 35 years, I have seen these representatives grow fewer every election. As people have become more polarized, they insist on the same from their elected officials. Bi-partisanship and reaching across the isle is becoming a political death sentence for many elected officials. Fear of becoming un-re-electable has always plagued those who dare challenge their party’s stance on any issue, and by that nature are becoming an extinct species of political dinosaurs.
But this is the same fight, the same tale of Federalists vs Anti-Federalists. The names and costumes have changed, the stage is cloaked in modern drapings and the audience is comprised of live streamers that enable billions more to watch (and criticize) the performance, but this is the same story that we have been enraptured by for 243 years. It is the ultimate audience participation venue and we are all very fortunate to be able to play our small, but vital role.