Politics And The Art Of Compromise

1186 words - 5 pages

Politics and the Art of Compromise

Politics is referred to as the "art of compromise". It

is essential to a democratic society. Elected officials meet in

legislative chambers to hammer out policies that all constituents

can live with. Successful politicians learn early on the

survival value of compromise. Economist Donald Wittman (1995:

154) correctly observes, "That is what good politicians do:

create coalitions and find acceptable compromises." Also

political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain (1995: 61) states "But

compromise is not a mediocre way to do politics; it is an

adventure, the only way to do democratic politics."

II. Reasons why compromise is essential.

Politicians need to be able to compromise and be good

at bargaining with other elected officials. One reason is that in

order to get what is important to them, they must be willing to

negotiate with others who also want support, it's is a trade off

in that each wants support for the their cause and in turn, must

support someone else's cause as well. They must do this type of

bargaining in order to win enough support to get the votes

necessary to win for their constituents. If the constituents

don't see that the elected official can bring home the bacon,

they won't vote for them in the next election. In other words,

without compromise, nothing will be acheived for the

contituency, and as a result the official will not likely

continue to hold office for long.

By the same token, no politicians or voters, will get everything

they want. There must be a majority to implement policy, which

means that means that almost every time supporters of policy will

have to give up something of value to others in order to win

enough support for their cause. This is referred to as

"logrolling." In order to function well, Congress needs members

who understand the need for and have the ability to compromise;

who are willing to be team players and fight for what they

believe without demonizing their opponents, so that they may work

with them again on different issues. A politician who refuses to

compromise is typically labeled as an "ideologue", a title which

has little prestige among members of political class.

III. Backlash of compromise and the role politics play
in regard to effectiveness of compromise.

Politicians who are known for compromise are less

attractive in the public opinion. The public prefers rigid

adherence to principles they believe are important, and don't

generally understand the essential need for compromise, or how

necessary it is to get things done. Because compromise is

essential to being effective for the constituency, each

legislator is confronted by the difficult task of being an expert

compromiser in legislatures while appearing to voters to be an

uncompromising champion of...

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