We’re already in the start of primary season, and Democrats have a large selection of candidates competing to be the Party’s nominee. There’s going to be a lot of horse racing commentary in the media, and polls being analyzed. None of those really matter at this time, and won’t until we get toward the end of the year. I’m not going to advocate for any candidate in this post, since I’m not even close to deciding. However I do have some thoughts for the year 2020. In addition, back in early 2018, I wrote a post with four thoughts for 2018 and beyond. Those still hold true, and I’ll be revisiting some of that in this post. What am I thinking?
If there’s been one common feature between the left and the right over the past decade, it’s that they all have an idea for what they want to see changed about the government. The specifics of those ideas depend on the particular ideological slant, but they all have a complaint with the way things are and “how it should be.” I’ve seen calls to abolish or restructure the Senate, change to a parliamentary system, changing birthright citizenship, gun ownership, balancing the budget, along with calls for a third party. Most of them come down to “we think we’re not getting our way,” and that a new form will get them that. It’s nothing new.
There was a recent report by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation that only 40% of Americans could pass a citizenship test. That’s the test we give to all people who are applying for citizenship, but not to those who were born here. That’s actually a slight improvement from previous results. I wish I could say I was surprised by that, but I’m not. In various internet forums and in person, I’ve run into a sizable number of people who have little clue about how government works and the history of this country. That would be disturbing enough in and of itself, but what is truly terrifying is the number of people who should know better, up to and including the President, who don’t.
As I get older, one of the more amusing aspects of following technology and politics is seeing various enthusiastic young people tout something they’re claiming is a new and exciting change in “the way things are done.” The reason it’s amusing is that what they’re touting isn’t new, it’s often quite old.
One of the long-time dreams of Republicans was to overhaul the tax code. They finally got their chance to do so in 2017, and rushed it through Congress. It cut the tax rate for businesses and they made a big show of how much more people would get in their paychecks, now that all those terrible tax dollars the “Tax and Spend” Democrats were wasting. Even though various economists, tax experts, and, of course, Democrats, were pointing out that the cuts for businesses weren’t needed, and that the economy didn’t need stimulus, it didn’t matter. They rushed it through, and tried desperately to run on it in the 2018 election, to avoid being tied to an increasingly unpopular President.