The Art of Compromise

By Bob Hazard   |   December 3, 2020

The election is over, and Joe Biden won. Now is the time for all 150 million voters to get behind our new president and reach out the hand of friendship and hope.

Gwyn Lurie, CEO and Executive Editor of the Montecito Journal Media Group, has called for a bipartisan post-election response, asking us to do what’s best for our families, ourselves, and our country. Ms Lurie cautioned both Biden and Trump supporters to stop living in an echo chamber, but instead listen with an open mind to those with differing perspectives. 

My name is Bob Hazard and I supported Donald Trump. That statement alone is enough for two out of three voters in Montecito and their supporters in the mainstream media to brand me as a deplorable – an ignorant moron who still clings to my guns and Bible. Many on the Left still view our 45th President as the most corrupt, lying, uninformed, divisive, incompetent, unhinged, pathetic excuse for a president in the history of our country. 

Nevertheless, 73 million fellow deplorables voted for Trump in 2020, representing more votes for Trump than Barack Obama received in 2008 or in 2012, or who voted for Bill Clinton in either 1992 or 1996. In 2020, Joe Biden won 25 states, but Trump also won 25 states, a totally unexpected outcome. 

For the good of the country, and to heed Ms Lurie’s wise advice for unity, here is the letter that I would send to the President-elect from a red voter in a deep blue state. 

Dear President-elect Biden:

It is clear that you will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. Congratulations to you and to Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris. I am grateful that calls for unity and compromise are at the top of your list of priorities. 

I am also inspired by your pledge to bind the wounds of division, to serve all Americans, and bring our country back together. You promised that you do not see either red or blue states, but a United States. 

When first elected, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all made that same promise of unity. They vowed to work across the aisle and cooperate, but those commitments turned out to be more myth than reality. 

Our country stands ripped apart. Partisanship has become part of the DNA of our White House and Congress. It seems that every time red and blue leaders seek to find common ground on an issue, one side or the other senses they have leverage in the process, and demand resolution of often unrelated issues, in order to get to an agreement. If we could instead strive to resolve those topics where alignment can be reached and leave the balance of the most controversial issues for later discussion, both sides could achieve some progress, proving that divided government can work. 

One Party Rule. Early decisions will shape your presidency. Will you reject partisan pressure to establish permanent one-party control by packing the Supreme Court; making Puerto Rico the 51st state; making D.C. the 52nd state; abolishing the Electoral College; reducing the voting age to 16; and mailing blank ballots to everyone whether requested or not, even when the COVID-19 is no longer an issue?

Unsustainable Debt. On November 2, 2020 our federal debt stood at $72.2 trillion –– or more precisely – $72,203,384,382,939. This amounts to $211,569 for every household in the U.S. or 7.4 times annual federal revenues. Mr. Trump raised the federal debt by a staggering $7.3 trillion during his four years. Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive socialist, has called for a $97.5 trillion federal spending plan over the next decade. Approximately half of the American workforce would be employed by the government. The 10-year budget deficit would approach $90 trillion, with average annual deficits exceeding 30 percent of GDP.

 What will your administration do to control excessive government spending, the forerunner to a slow slide into socialism?

Possible Points of Cooperation between Reds and Blues

Leadership. Both red and blue voters want to restore the nation’s self-confidence and dynamism; to promote individual responsibility, integrity and hard work; and to restore the United States as the land of opportunity, personal freedom and the rule of law. Most Americans want to live normal lives without threat of violence or harm. I am sure you share those views.

Healthcare. Both reds and blues want lower prescription drug prices, coverage for pre-existing conditions and lower healthcare insurance premiums. Put patients and doctors back in charge of our healthcare system, not insurance companies. Manufacture all critical medicines and medical supplies in the United States. Protect our veterans’ health. Deliver a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021. Protect against future pandemics. Provide world-class healthcare and services.

Education. Both reds and blues want the U.S. to offer the best school system in the world. Develop practical curriculums that relate to future job needs and successful management of personal finances. Enhance efforts to provide school choice. Expand practical use of online learning. Allow states to experiment and develop best practices. Develop strong junior college and vocational school programs.

Legal Immigration Reform. Create a bipartisan legal immigration reform package that addresses the demand for high- and low-skilled labor, the legal status of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the country, border security, and interior enforcement. Continue to fight illegal immigration by securing our southern border, deporting MS-13 Mexican Mafia and other gang members, dismantling human trafficking networks and fighting for a legal immigration plan that puts the jobs, wages, and safety of American workers first.

Free Enterprise. Recognize and encourage small business as the engine of job creation and economic growth. Reduce punitive and burdensome regulations, while supporting law and order. Win the race to 5G and establish a national high-speed wireless network.

Shared Values. At his best, President Trump was an unconventional non-politician, distrustful of the press, who loved his country and wanted to “Make America Great Again.” He tried to restore pride in America and improve the lives of ordinary American workers – factory workers, auto mechanics, truck drivers, teachers, small business owners, police officers, and homemakers who still believe in the “American Dream” of upward mobility through hard work, personal responsibility, and law and order. In your 50 years of public service, our greatest achievements depended on compromise and working across the aisle. 

Restore Economic Growth. Mr. Incoming-President, your biggest challenge will be to restore the U.S. economy. In case you missed it, and most of the media did, the Census Bureau reported on September 17, 2020 that the median U.S. household income in 2019, the year before COVID-19, grew a whopping 6.8 percent – the largest annual increase on record… ever.

Real median U.S. household income in the year before COVID rose by $4,379 to $68,709. In dollar figures, this is nearly 50 percent more than during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Median household incomes increased more among Hispanics (7.1 percent), Blacks (7.9 percent), Asians (10.6 percent), and foreign-born workers (8.5 percent), compared to whites (5.7 percent). Median earnings increased by an astounding 7.8 percent for women compared to 2.5 percent for men. 

Poverty fell 1.3 percentage points last year to 10.5 percent, the lowest level since 1959, and declined more for Blacks (-2 percentage points), Hispanics (-1.8 points), Asians (-2.8 points), single mothers (-2.6 points), people with a disability (-3.2 points), and no high-school diploma (-2.2 points). The Black poverty rate of 18.8 percent and the Hispanic poverty rate of 15.7 percent were the lowest in history. Income inequality also declined. The bottom quintile’s share of income grew 2.4 percent.

Energy Independence. Under President Trump, for the first time, the U.S. gained energy independence while reducing its carbon emissions over the last four years without draconian limits on the use of fossil fuels. The United States is now the world leader in shale oil and natural gas production and a net exporter of natural gas. This has made our country more secure, put more money in our pockets, and in rural areas has led to an economic explosion not seen in generations. Are we really the polluters and climate change deniers that progressives accuse us of being? Be skeptical of any energy plan that powers airplanes with windmills.

Law and Order. President Trump was tough on crime. He supported peaceful protests and principled dissent, but not systematic looting, burning of businesses and police stations, or injuring police officers with baseball bats, hammers, and Molotov cocktails. When a community turns on its own police force, officers become more risk-averse, early retirements soar, and crime rates rise dramatically. 

International Affairs. In the last four years, Trump prevented a major homeland terrorist attack, stood up to China, brought jobs back to America, required NATO countries to pay their fair share for defense, strengthened Israel and brought the Arab nations to the table with the possibility of greater peace in the Middle East. Resist undoing these positive steps.

Mr. President, the election is over. Now comes the hard part – creating respect and cooperation out of chaos; fighting an historic and unprecedented pandemic; and rebuilding an economy for sustainable and inclusive prosperity. There are millions of red and blue adherents watching your first steps and cheering for your success. Govern from the center; build unity and compromise – and you will be judged for greatness.

Sincerely,

Bob Hazard

 

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