Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2014

Currently: 79° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sun Editorial:

One nation indivisible?

After a fiery campaign, it’s time to move past the bile and forge ahead for the middle class

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

The nation’s drastic political divide, which has widened over the past two years, has fractured civil discourse and, more importantly, any real progress toward addressing serious problems facing the country.

This campaign exacerbated the situation. From the top of the ballot down, serious discussion and debate about the issues was largely missing, replaced by a flood of negative ads and nasty campaign tactics. The entry of third-party groups with millions of dollars to spend added to the frenzy, and in the process, the truth took a beating and facts became malleable. Voters, including us, are tired of it all.

To use the tired campaign cliche: America deserves better than this.

There’s a chance for elected officials to deliver better now that Election Day has come and gone. There’s a big job ahead for those elected. The nation, particularly Nevada, needs help, and the way the campaigns were run can’t be the way our officials govern. The nation has seen the effect of that in the way Congress has operated, particularly in the past two years.

Republicans misread the 2010 election when they won control of the House, thinking it was a mandate for their ideas. Instead, it was a mandate for change; Americans wanted to see the economy recover more quickly. What the Republicans brought was more gridlock. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has acted as if it was in a parliamentary, winner-take-all form of government. And Republicans in the Senate have put politics over doing the business of government.

To use another campaign cliche: We can’t afford four more years of that.

For the nation to handle the so-called fiscal cliff, the debt and the problems with Social Security and Medicare, it will take a real bipartisan effort. The question is whether the newly elected leaders are up to the task.

Four years ago, we held out some hope that might happen. President Barack Obama came ready and offered an extended hand to the Republicans. However, he was harshly rebuffed and attacked. There has been a chorus in the Tea Party-fueled conservative movement that Obama’s policies have been “too extreme,” and thus they can’t compromise. Some people have been brazen enough to label Obama and his policies socialist, communist and even Marxist.

Seriously? Have we lost perspective? Protecting Social Security and Medicare are on the same level of the policies of the old Soviet Union?

That’s ridiculous, and that type of rhetoric needs to stop if America is to move ahead. The nation needs to have a rational discussion about the issues, and it needs to focus on the middle class, the backbone of America.

Voters understand that. Despite all the outrage from the far right about the auto bailout, which became a campaign issue, CNN exit polling showed that nearly 6 out of 10 voters in battleground state Ohio were in favor of it. It’s understandable why: Ohioans didn’t see it as socialism or some sort of extreme policy; it was good for the middle class and those dependent on the auto industry in Ohio.

It won’t be easy to push off the nastiness of the election, but elected officials need to consider what’s good for all of their constituents and not hew to a narrow ideology. We hope the newly elected are up to the task. The state and country need it.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 12 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Pie in the sky. It will never come to pass. The "divide" began long ago - around 100 years ago, to be exact - when Woodrow Wilson began to "transform" the United States and has accelerated under Osama Obama. Now, with Osama Obama given 4 more years to finish wrecking our country, I'm afraid the party's over and the "greatest" country on Earth will become the Third World State so many seem to be longing for. I hope they will be happy when the yoke of government is pulled even tighter around their scrawny necks!

  2. All the points mentioned on spot on. What we can expect is House Speaker John Bohener to move his party to take action on the up coming fiscal cliff issue, and the debt ceiling.

  3. The voter's of this great country have spoken with the re-election of Pres. Obama.We do not need any more gridlock that has been going on in the past few years in our country,between republicans and democrats

    I would hope Senator's such as Sen.Mitch McConnell Republican minority leader will dump his attitude for not wanting to work,with democrats in solving our nations problems.Early indications are he wasn't ready to roll over.

    It's not about the party's future,but more about America's future and what's best our people and country.

  4. Excellent. The GOP platform "allowed" RNC to attack topics that are NOT ISSUES. There was no call to attack women's health or rights. There was no call to invade Syria or anywhere else. But the GOP included an out-dated platform that unethical campaigners attacked. GOP overall approves of a safety net for people facing hard times but not for people who make dependency a way of life.

  5. A disturbing point that was touched on again and again last night (at least on CNN) was how much the Obama campaign was counting on a strong African-American turnout to carry Obama in urban areas. I heard no reports of a similar strategy based on overt racism about the Romney campaign (but one can presume a covert attitude was present given the now-infamous 47% remarks.)

    I say disturbing because it indicates a deliberate effort to make the election about race and also implies that voters will place that issue above all others.

    I should also point out that both camps, in fact both parties in many of the individual races, were clearly trying to put entire groups of people into pigeon-holes as single-issue voters. Consider how immigration was made to be the primary issue for (only?) Hispanics, or how support for Israel was being held out to American Jews.

    This election has taken the strategy of breaking apart our American identity into its ethnic origins even further than previous elections (and they have all done it.) I find that strategy distasteful to say the least.

  6. boftx,

    'Special interest' groups were introduced by Ronald Reagan, as a means of division. He used the term over and over as a reason for not paying attention to whoever was labled as a 'Special Interst."

    It stuck in the lexicon, and has been used ever since by both parties.

    In reality, people are going to vote their interests, regardless of how parties divide them.

    The parties themselves have been labeled with their special interests for all the time I can remember.

    I grew up with the idea that Republicans were for big business and Democrats for the rest. It still holds to this day.

    As far as ethnic origins go, there are many mixed marriages, so the ethnic pool is getting more diluted.

    The issue was not so much ethnicity as it was who people believed would to them the least damage or the most benefit.

    The reality is that the working class is all full of ethnicity, and big business is ethnic as well. There is a clear division.

    That is reality, and to pick that as a strategy is lacking and understanding of the real issues and motivations of voters.

  7. There is nothing abnormal about people thinking in terms of what is best for them. Who doesn't?

    Phooey, on politicians and pundits who think ethnicity or racism is a tool to use for their own interests.

    That is life!

  8. The overriding issue for a large majority of people this election was the economy (including jobs and the national debt.)

    Yet many, if not most, of the ads we saw were targeted at wedge issues that often dealt with gender or ethnic groups.

    This might be political life today, but why should we continue to accept that?!?

  9. I didn't accept it. I didn't watch network TV where ads appeared. I avoided most of the ads. I could probably count on one hand the ads I saw, either switched channels or laughed at the stupidity of the ads I saw.

    I hung up on surveys and polls.

    I won't play the game.

  10. Attempt to recognize a serious problem that wasn't created without benefit of government actions inspired by significant political campaign contributors, and then try to imagine the amount of excessive risk that would have been undertaken if risk takers weren't able to recognize indebted Legislators to call on in time of need!

  11. How is it not Harry Rieds's fault no compromise was done? Why not dwell on Obama and his followers holding up progress? The stock market tanked today, wiping out millions from elderly retires and middle class accounts, same as it did last time Obama was elected..there is a reason for that, Wall street feels nothing will get done for the next 4 years, it portrays our president as a "present" type person, one who can not get anything done. I do hope Obama sees change needed by the citizens and works with the Congress to get deals done. I am betting the stock market will fall another 5% maybe more..

  12. Jerry Fink is about 140 years too late in his timeline. The divide started about 10 minutes after the signing when Hamilton pulled the rug out from under Jefferson and established the central bank. federal power has expanded ever since, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. The divide is not along the lines of liberty v. totalitarianism,it is along the lines of who uses Federal power to gain for their supporters AND diminish the power of their opponents. That tide is likely still flowing in although it is possible that it could ebb in 2015 after the mid-terms. Call me a cynic but I really don't see any kumbaya moments in the next couple of years unless the Republican Party goes through a night of the long knives.