by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
I do not think I am going out on a limb by declaring that our politics is not restorative. It is vacuous, mean-spirited, Manichean, and omnipresent.
We are approaching the point where candidates for the presidential office spend more time campaigning for the White House than actually occupying it. If we factor in all the behind-the-scenes jockeying that candidates undertake before formally declaring, we may have already passed that point.
This is in the interests of campaign consultants who can charge more for their services, news outlets that have a “story” to cover, and egotistical candidates who enjoy basking in the glory of adoring crowds. But the permanence of the campaign has not elevated our civic discourse. Far from it. It has divided and polarized us. After all, most of the campaign is spent speaking to primary voters, many of whom are on the ideological poles and absolutely detest their political opponents.
Think of about it: If Warren wins the presidency in 2020, she will have spent about 18 months campaigning for support among her fellow Democrats and just four months campaigning among middle-of-the-road voters. The same dynamic happens in the Republican party, where GOP candidates absolutely loathe leftists and must win over conservatives who disagree quite a bit with average voters.
This undermines the ability of the president, once he or she is finally elected, to serve as the head of state, i.e., the representative of the national interest.