If you are a baseball fan you have likely noticed the game’s shift towards homeruns and strikeouts. Baseball’s most popular rookie, Cody Bellinger, tied the major league record of 19 home runs in his first 50 games, but also struck out 64 times. Added up, half of Bellinger’s 210 at bats were basically all-or-nothing.
Sports Illustrated recently called the game “obsessed with power,” and “driven by the pursuit of the most blunt of outcomes: strikeouts by pitchers and home runs by batters.” According to SI, “One-third of all turns at bat now end without the ball in play,” creating somewhat of a diluted experience for fans who would rather see extended innings and scoring rallies.
This trend is very relatable to what is happening in Washington, D.C. Beginning with Obamacare, Democrats passed the controversial health care legislation without a single Republican vote. Equally, Republicans tried the same approach to replace it just last month. Like the trend in baseball, all-or-nothing.
If you had to sum up Congress since 2010, each party offered partisan legislation and the opposite party blocked it. In essence, the cycle goes like this: One party releases a bill, the other says it is bad policy, the media reports on the most sensational quotes, politicians get cold feet then pull the bill due to backlash, all without even debating the legislation or offering amendments. It is an unfortunate cycle, and one that continues to occur. In the meantime, we continue to run massive deficits year after year.
This Fall, Congress will raise the debt limit, likely without any spending reform package attached to it. However, there are some lawmakers who have expressed a willingness to try and reach a deal on spending reforms, but have not been given the chance.
Congressman Jim Jordan said, “I think there could be the votes there, but we haven’t explored that. We all went home. When you go home you don’t discuss it, but then say you don’t have the votes. You didn’t even try.” Congressman Thomas Garrett echoed Jordan saying, “The ‘I-don’t-want-to-do-anything-unpopular’ disease affects both parties.”
Therein lies the problem. Both parties want their pure agenda to become law - anything short of that is considered a loss. However, politicians who promised a pure democrat or republican homerun are setting themselves and their constituents up for a strikeout because our founders intended the Congress to work together.
The polarized all-or-nothing approach sounds grand on the campaign trail, but realistically, working together is the only way to fix the major problems affecting our country. After all, our nation's broken tax code and mountain of debt impacts young Democrat and Republican voters just the same.
If Members of Congress are willing to put everything on the table and debate their political positions, lawmakers will begin to find there is more common ground than there is believed to be. Alternatively, if Congress continues its all-or-nothing strategy, thereby kicking the can down the road, future generations will be forced to fix this generation’s mistakes, adding to the economic burden they already face.
Few teams can win the World Series and lead the league in strikeouts. In fact, the last team to do so were the 1938 Yankees. Baseball is won by putting the ball in play. Home runs cannot sustain a baseball team or political party, and it is time for Congress to play the game the way it was meant to be played.
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Adam joined Restore Accountability in 2016 and manages the Foundation's day to day creative operations. Previously, he spent two years on Capitol Hill working for Senator Tom Coburn and Senator Jeff Flake...FULL BIO