Democrats and Republicans find common ground

Published 9:22 p.m. Thursday

Apparently, we all agree on one thing: Washington is corrupt. That’s the central message from two challengers to Senator Thom Tillis, one a Democrat and one a Republican.

In his announcement video this week, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham says we must “reform the corrupt system in Washington.” He says, “the corruption in D.C. and politicians like Thom Tillis are standing in the way of progress” on issues like education and health care.

Garland Tucker, Tillis’s Republican challenger, says we need to “drain the swamp.” He criticizes Tillis for voting against Trump on two issues: cutting foreign aid and declaring an emergency to build the wall.

The words are different. “Drain the swamp” is Trump’s line, so it’s anathema to Democrats. Cunningham says “reform the corrupt system in Washington.”

The issues are different. For Democrats, the issues are education and health care. For Republicans, foreign aid and immigration.

But the idea is the same. Polls for both Tucker and for Cunningham found that voters believe the political system is rigged.

That’s not new. Every President since 1976, save George H.W. Bush, ran and won as a Washington outsider.

Over and over again, angry Americans have voted to “throw the bums out,” “drain the swamp” and “reform the corrupt Washington system.” Sometimes they vote for an Obama. Sometimes they vote for a Trump. Sometimes they even vote for an Obama and then for a Trump.

But nothing ever seems to change. People get angrier and angrier – at the system and, ultimately, at each other.

The question in the 2020 presidential race will be whether Democrats will come up with a candidate who addresses voters’ anger and frustration better than Trump does. The question in 2021, again, will be whether anybody can really change how Washington works and restore public confidence in our government.