The parties of politicians

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A year ago, the belief was that Donald Trump had no chance against Hillary Clinton. Two years ago, few gave Trump any chance to win the Republican nomination against some very accomplished conservative governors and senators.  The question is: What was missed by many, including myself?

Many saw the nation moving too far left, away from the principles that our country was founded on.

Republicans were focused on who was the most conservative.

The Democrats believed that their liberal base and those addicted to government assistance programs would guarantee easy election.

Each of the parties missed the power of populism as the greatest factor. Both parties held their base of supporters among liberals and conservatives.

The political parties did not understand that most voters are not interested in the views candidates have in the abstract. What moves voters are the issues that truly affect a family’s quality of life.

The Clinton campaign thought the voters would be moved by free government services. The Bernie Sanders campaign believed the people hated corporations.

Instead, what happened was the populist belief turned against these ideas.

People understand that nothing is free, there is always a cost — if not today, then down the road. Despite the hoopla about the Affordable Care Act, providing health service, people were seeing the cost of health care rising while co-payments were rising even higher. The claims were not living up to the promise.

At the same time there were claims of an improving job market while many had not been able to find full time employment. They realized they were being gamed by the former administration.

People understood they were being manipulated. They turned their backs on the Democrats and chose to support Trump, not because he was a Republican, but rather because he was speaking to those who were hurting.

Now the challenge is how to govern the nation. The factions are often far apart.

No clearer proof is the recent failure of passage of a replacement of the Affordable Care Act.

With the U.S. Senate closely divided, it is clear that the process must be reconsidered if our Congress is to accomplish passing legislation for the good of the country.

When our founding fathers created Congress to prevent populist ideas from moving forward without careful consideration, they allowed senators to speak on legislation as long as one desired.

They required a super majority to end debate.

Prior to 1975, one or more senators could filibuster against a bill to prevent a vote.

However, to prevent a handful from blocking a bill, 60 senators were required to break the filibuster.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the state Senate. His email address is