Asked during a taping of “The Tonight Show” whether he thought Republicans were happy with their presidential nominee, President Obama had a quick answer.
“We are,” he said to immediate laughter.
“I don’t know how they’re feeling.”
But while Obama and fellow Democrats are feeling more confident about the general-election matchup shaping up between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Obama said that what is good politics for Democrats in the short term isn’t necessarily good for the country.
“I am worried about the Republican Party,” he told host Jimmy Fallon in the interview, which will air in full Thursday.
“Democracy works; this country works when you have two parties that are serious and trying to solve problems.”
Obama said the public should want a Republican nominee “to be somebody who could do the job if they win” — implying he does not think Trump could.
One might take the cynical view and regard Obama’s expressed concern as wholly disingenuous. Perhaps it is.
Regardless, the point he articulates has merit. A healthy political discourse does require opponents who each make serious attempts to solve problems. Since government is almost always divided, for it to function at all requires some overlapping purpose.
Of course, Democrats share plenty of the blame for the expanding ideological gulf between the parties. They keep tugging theirs further and further left, inviting evermore radical counter moves such as the nomination of Trump.
Things would work out a lot better if the parties competed to see which could provide the highest degree of liberty. Instead, it too often seems as though they compete toward the opposite, differing only in the polarity between beneficiary and victim.