Chris Holbert

Political Gridlock

Chris Holbert, the Majority Leader for the Republicans in the Colorado Senate, gave a speech in the general assembly on political gridlock. “Gridlock” is defined as, “any situation in which nothing can move or proceed in any direction” (http://www.dictionary.com /browse/ gridlock). With this in mind, political gridlock is where politicians, whether it is at a state or national level, are unable to decide on bills, so they are stuck on one idea for a long amount of time.

 

In a part of his speech, Mr. Holbert had everyone guess the percentage of bills passed in 2016 and 2017 to determine how much people knew what political gridlock actually was. When everyone stopped writing their estimates, he asked everyone what they said. Mr. Holbert was able to see that the majority of people thought that there are high amounts of political gridlock. However, in 2016, 56% of bills were passed, while in 62% were passed in 2017. His point, that political gridlock is not as prominent as the press and media may make it out to be, was incredibly clear.

 

As a general rule, the media tends to show how the government is in political gridlock because it draws more attention to their articles. This can be seen through an article called “Gridlock in Congress? It’s Probably Even Worse than You Think” by Aaron Blake on The Washington Post. He talks about how, “Congress today will raise the debt ceiling for a very short period of time, leaving it to do the same thing again a few months later. It has also taken to passing a series of brief ‘continuing resolutions’ rather than passing an actual budget” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/05/29/gridlock-in-congress-its-probably-even-worse-than-you-think/?utm_term=.9cb33300ff71). With all of the harsh criticism that politics receives today from the media, this article being only one example, people are more likely than ever to believe that politicians today are not getting much done.

 

Media has a huge influence over people’s beliefs in this world, because it is where the majority of people receive their information. The Pew Research Center shows this through the statistics of how, “15% [of adults] do not get news on any digital device” (http://www.journalism .org/2016/07/07/pathways-to-news/). This means that 85% of people get their information from some sort of digital device, whether it is from the T.V., laptop, or mobile device. This information greatly influences their decisions in all sorts of fields, especially politics. Because the majority of people listen to the media, they are more likely to believe that political gridlock is a prominent issue in today’s politics and society. This is why many people said that they believe there are high amounts of political gridlock in the general assembly. However, with Mr. Holbert’s statistics, it can be seen that the majority of bills are indeed passed, which means that political gridlock is much lower than the press and media make it out to be. Overall, this emphasizes the importance of making sure that all sides of the issue are being presented fairly in a way that can avoid biased impressions and dishonesty in everyday information.

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Author: Sierra Snyder