An idea for your consideration: During the 19th century, the commanding issue of financial politics in the United States was the interrelation of the money supply with a national bank. Andrew Jackson, for one, hated the idea of a national bank.
It’s hard for us to understand today how seriously this issue was taken, how deeply it divided American politicians, and how long it lasted. Party platforms were built around this, and whole sessions of Congress debated it at length and with great bitterness.
The issue lasted for three-quarters of a century, such that seventy years after Jackson rose to the White House, William Jennings Bryan could campaign on the still-controversial issue of a bimetallic currency.
And then came the creation of the Federal Reserve. At which point the issue dried up altogether. Poof.
Not everything works that way. The other great question of the 19th century in U.S. politics — slavery — was even larger, and it was only solved via the bloodiest conflict this hemisphere has ever seen. So I don’t want to suggest that every political issue has such a straightforward solution.
But it’s worth considering: what’s the piece of policy that would erase Issue X, Issue Y, or Issue Z as a bone of contention within U.S. politics? Or within international affairs?
Please, ladle your thoughts upon me in the comment thread.