A couple of notable progressive celebrities (who I won’t mention by name because I’m not interested in going to war) have recently mentioned that they’re sick of the whole “right/left” and “red/blue” divisiveness in America. Mostly, it’s a cheap excuse for them to entertain the idea of a protest vote against the president in November.
While, yes, we should be able to rationally communicate with the other side, I always get worried when liberals start shitting all over “both sides” and take on the “lesser of two evils” meme.
It always happens. When Republicans are in charge, we take the gloves off and fiercely attempt to replace them with a Democrat. But when Democrats are in charge, too many liberals take on this too-hip-for-the-room attitude and either criticize the arrangement of the two party system or insist that both sides are evil. Neither side is flawless, however, one side is much closer to our values. The other isn’t even close.
Shitting on “both sides” only serves to weaken the closer side — the Democratic side.
Could a third-party president do a good job of managing the bureaucracy? It’s highly unlikely. The modern presidency has become a partisan presidency, in which presidents rely on partisan ties to staff the White House and the upper layers of the departments and agencies. And that’s a good thing! Because the truth is that presidents have a hard time finding people to trust in those positions. Partisan ties don’t just depend on loyalty; they also create incentives to people to do a good job so that they can be rewarded by the party in the future, either by moving on to more important jobs in the next administration or by going to work for party-aligned groups or think tanks.
See, any time that a president appoints someone to an executive branch job, there are at least three interests involved: those of the president, the agency, and the appointee. And while presidents should certainly be aggressive about monitoring what’s happening, the truth is that they must rely on others to do much of that work, and they can’t necessarily rely on those others, either. Partisanship doesn’t entirely solve that problem, but it at least helps to align the interests of the president and political appointees.