Worth the read … from the Spokane Spokesman Review

foleyrodgers_graphic

Tom Foley and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Illustration by Molly Quinn) -Spokane Spokesman Review

About the polarized relationship that has moved beyond electoral partisan politics and now infects our personal relationships … this excellent analysis critical of all sides is worth the read.

Under Eastern Washington runs a fault line that has jolted U.S. politics

In 1994, 5th District voters booted out the Speaker of the House.

Nationwide, Republicans that year seized a majority in both houses of Congress for the first time since the 1950s. A now-familiar map of red states spread from the South up through the country’s midsection. The health insurance industry’s “Harry and Louise” ads crushed President Bill Clinton’s effort to reform health care. Republican leader and future House Speaker Newt Gingrich pushed a “Contract with America.” Christian conservatives flocked to the polls. Talk radio emerged as a force, raining rhetorical lava on liberals, Democrats and big government.

Voters showed the door to a generation of longtime legislators.

Most prominent among them was House Speaker Tom Foley, a Democrat, who for 30 years had represented the 5th District with bipartisan effectiveness, bringing home transforming benefits of federal power and money: farm subsidies, economic development, highway construction, social programs, environmental cleanup, higher education, military appropriations and the cultivation of foreign trade.

Even though Foley won in urban Spokane, he lost the election in the hinterlands – the same pattern now evident in the nation’s urban-rural divide.

Pundits were astonished. It was the first time since the Civil War that a speaker had lost his seat.

What were the voters thinking?

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