Governing is Compromise

by Manuel B. Quintal, Esq.

Symbols of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party | Image courtesy of World Atlas

In politics, the blame game is an integral part of the interactions between and among political parties. It exists between and among the interest groups within the respective political parties. Despite their claims to the contrary, everything they do is done with the next election cycle in mind or to score some “political points.”

The blame game is, or, becomes more intense as the election nears, when the stakes appear to be higher, and the political branches of government — executive and legislative — are under the control of opposing political parties. Parties, or as in the United States, the two major political parties, try to win the electors’ support through legal and the questionable legality variety. Even the supposedly non-political branch of government, the judiciary, is drawn to the political struggles.

“To win, political parties present what they claim is what the people want. Or, maybe, it is what they want the people to like. Whichever it is, they are trying to appeal to particular sectors of the American people. It is a truism that not all ideas appeal to an individual or group of individuals.”

To win, political parties present what they claim is what the people want. Or, maybe, it is what they want the people to like. Whichever it is, they are trying to appeal to particular sectors of the American people. It is a truism that not all ideas appeal to an individual or group of individuals. Arguments that appeal to both extremes of the political spectrum do not get the majority of the electorate’s nod. Whether of the left or the right of the political spectrum, extremist ideas do not win votes outside of their constricted circles of support.

At the risk of oversimplification, the Republican Party traditionally identifies with business and society’s financially-secured sector. The Democratic Party, as more for the workers-for-wages sector. But within those political parties are individuals or interest groups that neither identify nor support ideas held by the more rightist or leftist. These individuals or groups can work with individuals or groups who belong to the moderate group in the other or opposing political parties. These are the individuals or groups who can better compromise, reach the middle way, and deliver what the governed wants from their government.

At some point, our elected leaders will have to compromise and agree on the middle way or the common ground to achieve part of the goals they have presented to the people.

“At some point, our elected leaders will have to compromise and agree on the middle way or the common ground to achieve part of the goals they have presented to the people.”

Recently, at the risk of stopping the government’s operation because the parties could not agree on a budget for next year, an agreement was reached to provide funding until the end of this year. This same scenario had occurred in previous administrations where different parties controlled the White House and the Congress.

The first stimulus funds were to help people survive during this COVID-19 pandemic resulted from a hard-earned compromise. Neither party got what they wanted, but they were able to alleviate the sufferings of the governed. As of this writing, there are still ongoing negotiations and exchanges of offers and counter-offers between the two political parties’ leaders on the projected second batch of the stimulus. One involved in the talks rightly observed that it would be “difficult” to agree so close to the election.

Given the current economic situation in the United States, it will be best for the people for the political parties’ leaders to compromise and reach a common ground with an election coming in about three weeks. It may even be beneficial to them. Candidates of either party may be able to sway voters to their cause.

“The simple truth is, governing is possible only through compromise. Any of the groups in the political spectrum’s extremes, the hardliners, should learn to accept that.”

We can never accurately predict and, for certain foretell, the results of this coming election. Whatever it will be, compromise and a search for common ground will be necessary, whether within the political parties or between them.

The simple truth is, governing is possible only through compromise. Any of the groups in the political spectrum’s extremes, the hardliners, should learn to accept that.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Manuel B. Quintal, ESQ., practices law in New York since 1989. He is active in the community as a member, an officer or a legal adviser of various professional, business, and not-for-profit organizations. He was a columnist of Newstar Philippines, an English language weekly newspaper published in New York, from 2006-2009. He was Executive Editor of International Tribune, an English language weekly newspaper for the Asian community, based in New York, from 2010 to 2012. He is admitted to practice law in the Philippines and New York State. He has graduate degrees in Political Science and an LL.M. major in International Law.

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