Skip to content

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

It is almost enough to feel sorry for Republican politicians. Americans increasingly view the GOP as the party of obstruction, while the percentage of Americans who want politicians to compromise with people with whom they disagree has increased from 40 to 50% in the last two years.

Unfortunately, the Republican base still wants their candidates to stick to their positions and avoid compromise by an almost two-to-one margin. The percentage of Republicans who want their candidates to compromise is 36%. However, this is still much smaller than for Democrats (59%) and Independents (53%).

This means that in a general election, a majority of voters wants a candidate to compromise, but in a Republican primary an even larger percentage of voters doesn’t wants their candidate to stick to their guns (at least figuratively) no matter what. So if fewer and fewer moderate, willing-to-compromise Republicans can get nominated to run for office, and in order to do so they have to take a position that makes them less popular with the general electorate, what is the future of the Republican party?

Hopefully, the Republican base will wake up and realize that compromise is the nature of politics. Indeed, the percentage of Republicans who want their candidates to compromise has gone up 4% in the last two years, but this lags behind Democrats, where the percentage has gone up 13%, and Independents, where the percentage has gone up 12%, almost as much as Democrats. Will the Republicans ever catch up?



  1. David Freeman wrote:

    One of my favorite quotes is from John Kenneth Galbraith: “the modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
    I believe this was said in an earlier day when conservatives actually did philosophize somewhat. Our modern conservatives just grab a simple excuse for selfishness and put it on a faith pedestal that cannot be questioned.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  2. wildwood wrote:

    Love that quote David Freeman.

    I am a liberal who does not want compromise. At least not until I see more of a move in that direction, (a real move, not a pretend move), from the right.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  3. rk wrote:

    I have to agree with Wildwood. Normally, I see compromise as an effective tool, but with recent developments in Congress, I’m a bit tired of seeing the Democrats compromise and keep losing important positions. Fight now, compromise later.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 12:08 am | Permalink
  4. Arthanyel wrote:

    Where is the “Like” button for David Freeman’s comment?

    As for the compromising, it is a necessity but What we see in Washington isn’t it. Compromising doesn’t mean combining multiple extreme items into a single bill and calling it a compromise.

    What both sides, liberals and conservatives who don’t want compromise, need to wake up and understand is that we are a nation of mixed feelings. Only due to hyper partisan aggression have we devolved into this binary debacle. The point of compromise is to find a win-win solution that addresses a core problem without either sides extremists getting their way.

    The gun control debate is a great example – if you make it a strict fight between the extremists that want gun control (and taking all guns out of private hands) and the extremists that demand gun rights (who want every law abiding citizen to be carrying a full automatic weapon at all times) then we all lose. A real compromise is a middle ground with both sides respected, not an assault weapons ban and a loosened concealed carry permit.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink