Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Will the Presidential Election alleviate Congressional gridlock?

Many political analysts are arguing that the presidential race will lead to a compromise that might otherwise have been pushed back further.  Elected officials and policy experts are beginning to see improving odds for an end of the year deal on tax and budget issues, specifically defense and domestic spending and the expiring Bush tax cuts. 

According to this theory, there will be harsh debate from both candidates and their respective parties, but this will ultimately lead to compromise.  In his New York Times article John Harwood argues that the breakthrough would be similar to the Simpson-Bowles compromise proposed in 2010.  It is interesting that the fundamental positions and trade-offs haven’t changed in the two years of Congressional gridlock.  If Harwood is right, we would see roughly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years.  Republicans will inevitably have to accept some tax increases and Democrats would have to compromise with big changes in Medicare and other entitlement programs. 

Look for the two presidential candidates to continue to attack each other about budgetary matters until Election Day, but that battle could ultimately alleviate Congressional gridlock, no matter who wins the presidential election.


  1. The presidential election process will partially be an arena for candidates to battle out their campaigns, as well as an opportunity for the American people to voice their opinions. The Presidential election has the potential to unite the control of the Congress and the White House, which would certainly help the respective party to move forward on their plans and objectives, while public debates are be used to re-draw issue lines and voter responses help hone in on important issues.
    At the same time, Presidential elections are extremely partisan. Parties rally behind their candidates and focus in on key issues. The presidential election could further the divide of the conservative and liberal populations of the country. Elections also end with almost half of the country feeling like they “lost”, while the other side basks in their victory. The losers feel disenchanted and hostile to the government they hate, and once again partisanship leads to stale mate and gridlock.
    The presidential election could surely help eliminate some gridlock in the country, but it could also easily further entrench the debate. At least it serves to increase national debate, which may be the first step.

  2. Although there will be an abundant amount of partison debate during the 2012 election, there is still hope to find a solution for Gridlock. In this election more than any other, when Romney and Obama begin to define their stances on various issues they will need to accommodate the needs of the American people. Although congress is infected by hyper-partisanship, the American public are more centrist in many economic needs (with the exception of the elite aka "1%".