Imagine the following scenario: One political party holds the White House, the House of Representatives and — by a razor-thin margin — the U.S. Senate.
They have big plans: major, sweeping legislation. There’s a problem, though. Or to be precise, there are four problems.
First, the president is very unpopular; we’re talking mid-30-percent approval. And the thing about unpopular presidents is they have a hard time getting people to do what they want.
Second, the politicians who make up this congressional majority have wildly different political concerns: They have different constituencies, different weaknesses, different personal ideologies. They’re not on the same page and it’s not even clear they want to be.
That leads directly to the third problem: They have no clear plan. What does their party want? What are their top priorities? What do they even believe in these days?
No one really agrees what should come next; they’ve been making all kinds of promises for the past four years but they never actually got together to make sure everyone was talking about the same thing — and all that would entail once back in charge.
Finally, there’s the fourth problem: a deep and abiding, years-long grudge between a crucial senator and a senior leader of the party. read more