What issues are Republicans and Democrats ignoring at their peril?

American flag and voting sign
Precinct 14 (Photo courtesy Matt Abe)

Dissatisfaction with the the two major political parties in the US is high. A new poll from Gallup indicates that a record number of Americans view themselves as political independents.

The survey, based on more than 18,000 interviews conducted throughout the year, found that 42 percent identified as independent, the highest figure since the polling firm began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. …

The shift toward increased independent status has been more damaging to the GOP than the Democratic Party. Since peaking at 34 percent in 2004, Republican identification has now fallen to 25 percent — the lowest level in 25 years.

Democratic identification has also declined in recent years but at a lesser rate, falling to 31 percent from a high of 36 percent in 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president. (NPR)

Today’s Question: What issues are Republicans and Democrats ignoring at their peril?

  • bob hicks

    Not a question of ignoring, it’s a question of entrenched diametrically opposed interests and corporate influence that ensure little or no progress on major issues.

    • Fair point, Bob. Ignoring might not be a part of the best question on this issue. Is there a better way to limit monied interests in politics?

      • Ralphy

        How about for every dollar spent on a campaign by a PAC or a candidate, the spender has to match it with a contribution to a public campaign finance pool that is divided equitably among all the candidates.

  • PaulJ

    1) How they present their messages.
    2) Labor rules are local but laws governing capital are global.
    3) Giving anything to a Politian can be seen as a bribe.

  • betsy

    They are ignoring the people who hire them and NOT ignoring the lobbyist who pay them.
    We can all see how transparent this money game is and who is losing out.

  • Jamie

    Both parties are ignoring the constitutional limits placed on the federal government.

  • Jim G

    Both Republican and Democratic parties are ignoring the people who voted for their representatives in the hope that they would uphold their oaths of office. But it seems that they have forgotten they serve at the will of the people, serving them, not exploiting them to enrich themselves and the monied interests who have secured for themselves, the privileged few, a system that rewards only the wealthy and powerful. They have forgotten these words written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776.

    “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

    The Declaration of Independence 1776

  • Rich in Duluth

    Both sides are ignoring the fact that they represent all of the people in their districts. This means they represent even the people who did not vote for them.
    They owe these people representation through the hard work of compromise on issues.

    • Bill

      I agree completely. I was going to write the same thing. We have lost representation. The lobby groups with the big money control our representatives.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rich. Do you think a third party could do better, or does the problem transcend partisan politics?

      • Rich in Duluth


        I don’t think a third party is the answer, because I’m not sure a centrist party could gather enough votes to do anything. Extremists will find a way to block reasonable legislation.

        Yes, this dysfunction transcends politics. It is a thinking problem on the part of the voter. We, the voters, elect these people to office. Therefore, regardless of all the negative comments we hear and say about our representatives, the dysfunction in Congress is our responsibility. People should do more than just pay attention. They should think through the consequences of sending ideologically “pure” representatives to Congress. Someone who says or demonstrates that they won’t compromise doesn’t belong in Congress, whatever side they represent.


  • Me

    Programming provided my MNSure….

    Thanks MPR

    • I’m not sure what your point is. It feels a bit off topic to me. You can read the MPR News editorial guidelines here: http://mprne.ws/sqX4L

      If you feel there’s been a violation of MPR News standards please make a specific case to the newsroom. newsroom [no spam] mpr.org

      Future off-topic posts will be deleted.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Keith

        Not to stir the pot, but I think the comment refers to MnSure promos airing along with normal MPR sponsorship promos. With the perception that MnSure is not working as advertised and involves taxpayer dollars (and thus focus by the legislature), and by airing a promo, it makes it look (perhaps rightly so) that some of those dollars are paying for MPR sponsorship, thus a potential conflict of interest. Plus shouldn’t all of MnSure’s funds be used for fixing MnSure and not extraneous (some might view MPR sponsorship as frivolous) advertising? Just speculating….

  • Beth Bailey-Kingdon

    All of the important ones.

  • Oliver Steinberg

    Both parties are ignoring the popular demand for legalizing, or rather, re-legalizing cannabis. Medical cannabis plebiscites have won in 12 out of 15 state contests since 1996; medicinal herb proving more popular at the polls than the last three Presidents in their own political strongholds. In the 2012 elections, cannabis reform ballot measures were voted on in five states and their average support exceeded both Obama and Romney; adult-use legalization passed in 2 out 3 states–and all this despite 80 years of government propaganda; 30 years of intensified legal repression and arrests numbering hundreds of thousands annually FOR DECADES; job discrimination; drug testing; school anti-drug propaganda indoctrination; an atmosphere of intimidation and fear for anyone defying prohibition; a fact-averse media that either ridicules or ignores proposals for reversing prohibitionist policy; a unanimous front of opposition and denunciation from every professional politician except Ron Paul–considered a fringe figure anyway. The snooping, spying, repressive police state–something else the professional politicians won’t talk about–follows all too logically and inevitably the template of legal precedents and of technological intrusion pioneered by the drug witch hunt with its abrogation of the Bill of Rights in the name of “public safety.”
    Ending the drug war would help restore both civil liberty and respect for the laws; it would reduce crime and the expenses and suffering attached thereto; it would help communities and neighborhoods restore peace and it would bring jobs and prosperity; it would provide new sources of revenue for government at all levels; it would promote domestic agricultural and industrial development; it would restore better international relations especially in this hemisphere; it would depopulate the American Gulag and maybe put for-profit prisons out of business . . . . but before this can happen, there will be a pretty clear-cut demonstration of the extent to which the political influence of the law enforcement lobby has become the single dominant element in our electoral. legislative, and judicial institutions. Despite the increasing public disillusion with drug prohibition, despite the expressed will of the people in plebiscite after plebiscite, the narco-fascisti would sooner scrap the democratic process itself than accept the re-legalization of cannabis.