In this increasingly divisive time, the American people have lost faith that our government can make any meaningful change. They’re not wrong. We’ve crammed a mosaic of national ideas and innovations into two political parties that force ideological purity and hyperpartisanship. Wedging our great American experiment into two extremist camps just might ruin the future of our country.
The problem is in the incentives. The truth is this: Winning elections is not linked to finding solutions. Congress’ approval rating is at just 21 percent, yet over 90 percent of incumbents win reelection. Why? Because 88 percent of seats in Congress are noncompetitive: either one party or the other wins. Every. Single. Time.
So, if you’re a member of Congress, all you have to do is appeal to the 10 percent of people who show up to your partisan primary. Keep the extreme wing of your party satisfied, and you’re safe. Frustrate them? You’re gone.