We’ve all noticed how ugly and personal politics can be. Often, it’s not enough to disagree with someone’s point of view or belief. Instead, politicians all too often resort to name-calling, character assassination and contempt for the other person. This is the one item in politics that seems to be nonpartisan. Both parties have candidates, elected officials and supporters who often seem to be focused on demeaning the other side instead of providing solutions to the many problems we are facing.

The insulters sometimes go so far as to call the other side treasonous or traitorous. While these attacks might rally the troops on both sides, they are detrimental to our country and demeaning to those who engage in them. Many voters are turned off by these constant political attacks, but the media seems intent on highlighting the worst behavior and thereby creating even more division and strife.

President Joe Biden has been sliding in the polls, and even Democrats are encouraging him to shift gears to avoid heavy midterm losses. Douglas E. Schoen, a longtime Democratic pollster, and Carly Cooperman, CEO of Schoen Cooperman Research, wrote an op-ed this week for The Hill titled “New polling confirms Democrats’ left-leaning policies are out of touch,” in which they shared data from a recent poll conducted by their firm. Their conclusion: “Collectively, our data paints a picture of a Democratic Party that is unable to connect with voters on basic ‘kitchen table’ issues, namely the economy and crime.”

They went on, “In his State of the Union address, Biden attempted to refashion his economic agenda in light of the Build Back Better plan’s failure and tried to sell some of the same big-spending proposals as anti-inflationary and deficit-reducing measures. Instead of repackaging a failed progressive spending bill — one that most voters either don’t prioritize or oppose — the president should make a commitment to reducing inflation by practicing fiscal discipline while also ruling out any new spending initiatives that lack bipartisan support.”

This was a warning that Biden should heed if he wants to limit his party’s midterm losses. According to the poll, inflation is the No. 1 concern (51%) of voters, with the economy in second (32%). When asked whom they trust more to control inflation, 36% said Democrats and 48% said Republicans. Only 38% of those polled approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, and 59% disapprove. When asked whom they trust more to manage the economy, 41% said they trust Democrats, while 47% said they trust Republicans.

Even worse, when asked, “Compared to what you expected when Joe Biden took office, do you feel that he has done better than you expected, worse than you expected, or just about as you expected?” the responses are abysmal for Biden. Only 19% responded better than expected, 43% responded worse than expected and 34% about the same.

Almost half of those polled believe his performance is worse than they had anticipated. Add Biden’s handling of inflation and the economy and the outlook is grim for Democrats. As icing on the cake, a vast majority of the voters (85%) are concerned about violent crime, while 56% believe that Biden and Democrats in general are soft on crime.

While Schoen and Cooperman are trying to steer the Democrats and Biden in a new trajectory, Republicans might be tempted to jump in joy and respond with glee — jeering at their out-of-touch competitors.

But Republicans should resist that temptation. They have an opportunity to rise above through their actions, demeanor and discourse. Americans deserve better leadership, and better leaders do not make fun of their opponents, demean them personally or talk about fighting internally in our country with one another. Real leaders focus on what binds us together — love for country, care for our families, desire to leave our children better off than we are — and seek to build a consensus on how to get that done.

To continually focus on one’s political opponents only increases their stature. Instead, Republicans should focus on the American people and how to make their lives better.

Especially today, as Russia invades Ukraine and we are witness to a war, we have reason to temper our comments and learn to disagree without being disagreeable with one another. We have real, honest-to-God battles to fight, and we should not distract ourselves by fighting internally. Rather, we should learn how to disagree and be strong, but not allow our contempt to outweigh our compassion for our fellow Americans.

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Teresa Chappell
8 months ago

You are absolutely right! Name calling and demeaning has no place in the political discourse. I agree, Republicans should focus on how they are going to make things better for the American people and stop pointing to the other side for their big failed agenda. There is time for that as we get closer to the Mid-terms. The American people are seeking help with the high cost of gas, inflation from rising food cost, housing, parental control of their children’s education and crime. A solid strategy with a positive agenda is what is needed in order for people to have faith in government going forward.