Politically drawn House districts, the increased influence of social media, an agenda-driven media, and a polarizing president have all led to the gridlock in Washington, Judd Gregg writes.
While most Americans say they don't mind the slow movement of legislation in Congress, which is understandable given "the damage that has been done by a government constantly moving left," there are also downsides since it means the country is missing out on real tax and entitlement reform, Gregg says in an opinion piece for The Hill.
The former New Hampshire governor and three-term U.S. senator offers four reasons why this is.
Gerrymandering in House districts has resulted in at least 60 percent of districts being drawn according to party affiliation. This means congressmen are more beholden to "their party's base" if they hope to get re-elected. As a result, it also means that lawmakers are less likely to work with the other party and compromise.
"The base on both sides does not tolerate reasonable action, only purity," the three-term senator writes. "The House is thus locked down."
While social media has been a "great boon," Gregg argues, it also allows "the political fringe" to have a much louder voice than in previous decades.
"The shouters on the left and the right have taken center stage with the largest megaphone in history, the Internet," he adds.
"They use it with incredible zest, dominating blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and all other forms of exchange. They shout down anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them."
The other major hurdle "is the reawakening of advocacy media."
Gregg explains that this type of media used to be the norm up until the Civil War, but the increase in advocacy and the lack of objective reporting makes thoughtful discussions difficult, which makes it harder for a divided government to make progress.
Lastly, he cites the class warfare that has been drummed up by President Barack Obama, which Gregg says the president is using to "intentionally" divide the country.
"We have a president who is openly, and rather meanly, trying to set one group of Americans against another group, those who are very successful," Gregg concludes.
"We are a nation of many, made into one, built on the values of the founders. It is a nation that cannot be governed if it is being divided by its president."
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