Everywhere I turn, I see division. Many people I talk to say they can’t identify with the loudest voices of their respective political parties, be it Bernie or Trump.
Recently, I was talking to a leading Republican here in Charleston and he said he was thinking of switching and being a Democrat. Roughly a week later, Howard Schultz announced his candidacy and got obliterated by the Democratic left. I took screenshots of some articles and comments and texted this person, asking, “Are you sure you want to be a Democrat?”
I’m over Republican politicians moving to the extreme fringe of our party. The mayor of San Diego, arguably California’s highest-ranking Republican, recently suggested that the state GOP needs to present a different version of the national party to California voters to stay relevant. The Republican party in the state that gave us Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan is on the verge of extinction.
I’ve had enough with the name calling. I’ve had enough with Bernie Sanders and AOC blaming everything they feel is wrong with America on Donald Trump or the “elite.” I’m tired of Donald Trump, the most powerful person in the world, having temper tantrums on Twitter.
Are both parties making credible arguments on issues? I guess? Maybe? Democrats want to do everything in their power to get Trump out of office by any means necessary. And Trump folks still want to lock up Hillary. How is either of these positions unifying America?
Meanwhile, we have serious issues to talk about. Democrats want sweeping government approaches to climate change, a topic high on many voters’ lists. Most Republicans just deny the subject matters at all.
Democrats want free college. Republicans refuse to acknowledge the conversation around the cost of higher education.
State legislatures across the nation want to regulate and decriminalize marijuana or at least make room for its use medicinally. Here in South Carolina, we have untraceable dark money campaigns smearing the likes of Republican Sen. Tom Davis, essentially calling him a pothead.
In a scenario that only a few years back would have seemed bizarre, Charleston is represented by a Democrat in Washington, and he’s a member of his party’s fiscal conservative caucus. Yet, under Trump, Congress has run up our trade deficit, budget deficit, and ultimately the national debt. I was outraged when President Barack Obama was outspending all of his predecessors. Now, Trump is on course to outspend Obama.
The truth is that this country is hurting. Not only is this country divided in seismic ways on race, party affiliation, religion, and gender, but also in discourse and finding palpable solutions. The Democratic ideas to change or eliminate the electoral college to make it easier to regain the White House aren’t solutions. President Trump’s executive orders to bypass Congress aren’t solutions.
The only real solution is that the center of these two parties must take back the narrative. Would the mainstream media allow that though? Because it appears that folks would rather listen to talking heads on MSNBC, CNN, or Fox instead of doing their own critical analysis (I, too, was once one of these people). People on the left and right are guilty of this.
It’s a bit of food for thought, but when extreme viewpoints are the loudest, reason seems to lose.
Rouzy Vafaie is second vice-chairman of the Charleston County Republican Party.