This is a special day for Trump. It could be the day Paul Ryan muscles through his widely criticized health care legislation through the House. It could be the day when he loses big time. In all of the back and forth, there may be a one-word clue to the reason the American democracy is in trouble. That word is politics. Here are the President's exact words, quoted in today's The New York Times: “We have a great bill, and I think we have a good chance, but it’s only politics.” Where have you heard that before? The word came from the lips of the man trump is said to hate, the man who may have made Trump run in the first place, the former president Barack Obama.

Denigrating politics

Whether the bill passes or not, downgrading politics is a virtual admission that the there is little or no value in negotiation, compromise, and hammering out solutions. This is a stunning rejection of everything that has been celebrated about our often contentious but often admirable history. We associate the state name Missouri with compromise. As recently as the 1990s some will remember the awestruck voice of Chris Matthews recounting his memories of a time when Republican President Ronald Reagan used to hammer out tough compromises with Democrat House Leader Tip O'Neill. Those days seem gone. Both Trump and Obama have almost casually rejected politics as even being on the table.

Why nothing gets done

One could argue that we have a different form of democracy today, one that is visceral, emotional, out in the open. It is fueled by social media. But consider.

How have bipartisan decisions been made? Only when there was a hammer over the entire nation have our political representatives acted together. The rest of the time it was one party or the other forcing things through. Most time is taken up with hearings to discredit either side. The notion of a political community almost anywhere in today's America seems like a pipe dream.

Today's house vote will be broadcast as a big Trump win or a devastating loss but some observers will remember the eerie similarity between Trump and Obama as they blamed politics when politics is what they should have been practicing.

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