Former Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Gov. John Kasich addressed the partisan divide in U.S. politics at the University of Delaware Tuesday.
Both say the nation’s political discourse is broken because of eroding of social norms and political parties taking extreme positions, and took turns blasting both the Trump administration and the media for the state of politics today.
Biden traced the breakdown of civility to the Gingrich revolution and the impeachment of President Clinton in the 1990s - and says it continues to worsen. He says normal ways of behaving are being abandoned at our peril.
“There’s a reason why we have certain basic social norms. They’re the arbitrator of how we work together. The thing I find the most debilitating about what’s going on now is the destruction of these norms and it’s generating chaos,” said Biden.
Kasich says that’s especially true in Congress, which he argues needs to return to being a place where people with different opinions can work together.
“Nobody is telling anybody what their behavior ought to be. The grownups have somehow disappeared and when that happens, there are no rules," said Kasich. "And Joe, it’s interesting what you say because there are some fundamental rules of human behavior that have been violated and they cannot be violated.”
Kasich says base politics are one reason why young people don’t want to go into politics and he advised students in the audience to establish themselves before dipping into politics.
Biden says students can still serve their country even if they decide not to become public figures.
Biden added that world leaders are watching when President Donald Trump tweets or calls the leader of North Korea “Rocket Man.”
He also told students at UD their challenge will be finding ways to filter out “fake news” and other efforts to undermine the country’s political process.
The event was part of the Univ. Of Delaware Center for Political Communications ongoing fall National Agenda series on divisions in the nation and produced along with the Biden Institute at the university.