One Country, Divided

Often, things are so well known that they are considered common knowledge.  Occasionally, even common knowledge can be striking when viewed in a particular way.

It’s common knowledge that our country is evenly divided.

Now, consider the chart above that shows the total votes for the Presidential candidates from the two major political parties during my lifetime.  During that period, over 1.1 Billion votes have been cast for President.  The cumulative difference between the votes received by the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate is about 1.4 Million.  That’s a total difference over 40 years of 0.12%.  Put another way, if you take all the Presidential votes for these two parties over the last 40 years the Republican candidate has received 50.06% of the vote, and the Democratic candidate has received 49.94% of the vote.  

Whether you are a Democrat during the Affordable Care Act debate of 2009 or a Republican today, this chart illustrates the same danger.

It’s helpful to understand that even if your side “won,” the country is still evenly divided.  Perhaps this is the reason that so many people on the other side seem angry.  They are angry and frustrated.  It’s a sense of bewilderment: all that happened is they lost a coin flip, and they are now being punished for bad luck.  The Democatric party paid a price for over-reaching in the aftermath of the Affordable Care Act of 2009-2010.  Today, the Republican Party enjoys a commanding position in terms of our representation.  Will they view that position as a right, or as a responsibility granted by a slender margin of votes?

I didn’t vote for President Trump.  However, I’d like for him to have a chance to lead.  I wish that one party or the other could find their way towards me in the middle.  I wish for more understanding, sympathy, and even generosity from our politicians.  However, I’m afraid we’re stuck with a bianary political system.

We’ll see who’s in power after the next coin flip.

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