I found it harder to have a civil objective conversation on politics in 2020. There seems to be few that are not blinded by hatred for the other side; willing to accept the bad to avoid the worst. Volumes have been written to explain this divide, but it seems to come down to two different views of events. We continue to read for confirmation, not information. We no longer read the same stories, with the same frequencies. The media has found money in clicks and outrage. It is easier to know your audience and deliver them the outrage they crave.
Find the few sources that you can trust and avoid the rest. I would avoid TV news totally.
My political thinking begins with ideology and then progresses to policy then competence and then character. I believe most voters reverse the process and never get to policy or ideology, rationalizing those constructs to fit the character they can relate to. This is a reality that I have come to accept and it makes political conversations difficult.
A competent virtuous candidate that I oppose on ideology and policy will not get my vote. A candidate that fails to articulate an ideology may stumble on some correct policy decisions and may just as easily be pulled in a different direction. It would take an exceptional candidate that can translate ideology into policy that is understood and acceptable to the voters and enables the trust that comes with competence and character.
I wonder how we manage a population that trades benefits for votes. How do we resist leaders who promise benefits without paying for them? Can a leader even win a primary when he or she articulates the necessary limits of government rather than its solution to every conceivable outrage?
In our obsession on issues we have lost the brilliance of the constitutional means to manage our differences. It still asserts itself as it just did in the election, but our commitment to those noble means has certainly been wounded. It seems that when we sacrifice the means to achieve desired ends we will not be happy with the ends we end up achieving.
Each side justifies divisive means to achieve their ends; but even when you win a race to the bottom you end up at the bottom.
Perhaps our problems are not so new, and they were well considered by the framers of our constitution and our founding principles can be clarified by their absence. A limited and divided government devolving power in a federalist system was meant to address many of the problems we now face. We may need to review the owner’s manual.