In a Republic, politics require both the voters and the elected officials to understand that you cannot get everything that you want and you need to work with those who do not share your opinions. In nearly every political arena, you are going to find those who agree with you and those that don’t. Very few issues which politicians vote on will have a strong consensus one way or the other.
From the time of our Declaration of Independence to the present day, the vast majority of the laws and political agendas in this country require compromise. Our beloved Constitution is a document filled with compromises. I don’t think a single paragraph did not have some kind of compromise required to get it approved.
Which leads us directly to the discussion of principles. The large cry of today is “No compromise on principles!” but exactly what does that mean? All political beliefs and agendas are based on principles. If you are supporting or opposing a bill or law, it is because of your principles. If you take an attitude that you will not bend on your principles, then you will not bend on any proposal that you make. Additionally, if you run as a candidate with the mantra of “I will not compromise on my principles!”, be ready for failure. You will either be totally ineffective because you get nothing passed, or you will be condemned if you make any compromises because they will be seen as “compromises of your principles”.
Which leads us to the discussion of principles and goals. What is important is achieving your goals and promoting your overall agenda. Your principles need to be aligned with your overall goals and your goals need to be aligned with your principles. As long as you are moving toward your goals, compromising is an effective tool to use. The criterion, however, is that the compromise is not a total betrayal of your principles and that you are much closer to your goals because of the compromise. This is a smarter approach to take, rather than just basing every compromise on principles. We should not be so fixated on a single principle that it prevents us from achieving our goals. An intelligent and careful approach to political processes can ensure you achieve your ultimate aims, even if it is not a straight path.
Which leads us to the discussion of GOP and compromises. This current mantra on principles started because most people are upset that the GOP decided it was better to get Liberal votes rather than sticking to conservative principles.
For one, it was based on a lie. The GOP never had conservative principles. They had conservative slogans and marketing programs that resonated with their conservative base, but the leadership of the party is only interested in two things: winning and money. Since winning elections results in more money, winning elections became their only principle. Conservative principles were always just slogans, not something that they actually believed in.
Secondly, you can see very clearly that the GOP was using compromises to meet their goal of increasing their presence with independent and moderate liberal voters. They were (correctly) working to achieve their goals and willing to compromise on “principles” to achieve those goals. They had a game plan and worked the plan flawlessly. While I have major issues with their plan, I cannot fault their execution. Looking at election results, you can see that they were fairly successful in achieving their real goals.
Which leads to the discussion of how to compromise and still achieve your goals which are aligned with your core principles. For me, the problem became a question of “When” versus a question of “What”.
This issue directly relates to the Second Pillar of our new strategy. It says:
We feel that: “Government is the most ineffective, inefficient, and most expensive way to get anything done.” As such, we are offering innovative and effective non-government solutions to the country’s social spending issues.
When I discussed how we might implement this strategy, I spoke about how we need to slowly transfer the current social spending done by the government to the private sector. The first step was to take away the current tax for social spending and change it to a mandatory payroll deduction. It would allow the payer to choose what programs and organizations they wanted to donate to but still require a mandatory payroll deduction.
From a pure principle point of view, my suggestion would be considered unconstitutional and rejected. If we strictly viewed this as a compromise on our principles, it would then require us to oppose such a move. In doing so, however, we would condemn the program to failure. Americans are not ready for a full and immediate switch from our current socialist system to a 100% free market system. Trying to switch everything in a single day would result in disorganization, mismanagement of funds, and (most importantly) would put those who are currently depending on government funds in severe hardship. Your chances of passing that: 0%. Then what? You would be stuck with the current system and no closer to your goals. Now, you can feel good about sticking to your principles while we go deeper in debt and our party is being rejected as being to radical and reckless. Good for principles, bad for goals.
Now, if we allowed the compromise to take place, we would be one step closer to our goal. We would then allow that system to continue for a couple of years. Once Americans see that it is working and that it is a better system, we can start removing the unconstitutional components of the program by making more voluntary. Slowly and surely, we are moving toward our goals. This is why it is important to start thinking of “when” rather than “what”. If we can be patient and know we are progressing toward our goals, the compromise is not a compromise but simply a responsible delay.
Which leads to the discussion on how to ensure that you don’t paint yourself into a corner. We need to have clear goals and agendas. We need to ensure that our politicians are men and women of principles and they share our goals and agendas. Then we need to do the hardest thing ever: we need to trust them. We need to allow them to do their jobs and understand there are a hundred things that go on behind closed doors which we never see, but are important to getting things done. It is just the way that it has ALWAYS been done. George Washington did it, John Adams did it, and Thomas Jefferson did it. Any successful politician and political organization have done it.
Compromise is politics and all politics is compromise. This is the reality of politics and not the fictionalized version Hollywood and Conservative Talk Show Hosts would like you to believe. Once you understand how it works in politics and can utilize it effectively, it becomes a powerful tool that we can use to get everything that we want.
Do you agree? Please give us your comments and feedback.