I have never seen anything like this. Let’s say that you decide to give politics a try, and run for a seat on the county library board. There are 1000 different ways you can lose that race, and you don’t even know 999 of them. But the only way to win is to run a smart, successful race.
But once you’re in, it’s a different story. How many times have I quoted the fact that the retention rate for the US congress, both houses, is something like 94.6%. You already convinced enough people to vote for you to win, all you have to do is to never give them a reason to not want to vote for you, And the laws for both election funding and corporate lobbying are enough to feather your nest against anything but the most well funded challenger.
Usually, being a politician isn’t all that hard. You have to understand, most politicians haven’t had an original idea since they took a sudden shine to their potty training. The traditional meme for a politician is someone who licks a finger, holds it up to see which way the wind is blowing, and runs like hell to get out in front, turns around, and loudly convinces everybody that the whole damn thing was his idea in the first place.
Which makes the complete and utter meltdown of the incumbent GOP caucus, especially the US Senate, such a complete mystery to me. From where I’m sitting, there are two separate things that could their abject terror, fear of Trump, and the issues. Let’s look at each of them one at a time.
Fear of Trump – This is one that I’ve never gotten. Somehow or other, the media allowed Trump, in 2016, to perpetuate the myth that he had assembled a huge army of previously uninterested voters. This is nothing more or less than complete, unadulterated bullshit. GOP registration didn’t go up in 2016, the only thing that Trump did was to take already registered GOP voters who were too apathetic to show up for the primaries, and bring them out. That’s it. And let’s not forget that Trump lost the national popular vote by almost 3 million.
Do, why are these GOP Senators so terrified of a stupid Trump tweet? Unless you were elected in 2016, in which vase you’re not up for reelection this year, what does Trump mean to you? You already won your seat before Trump ever came along! Which means that you already have your base. enough people already liked you and your message to send you to Washington before Trump ever came on the scene. As long as you keep spouting the kind of empty, GOP claptrap that these people want to hear, do you really think that a bad tempered tweet from His Lowness is going to make them leave the Senate spot blank? You were there first. People can like Trump, and still disagree with him where you’re concerned. Besides, how huge is his brain dead army in your state? It has never made any sense to me that these people were so cocky that they could get elected, yet so insecure that they would fear that a tweet would topple them.
Measuring the wind – Remember what I said earlier? A politician remains successful by finding which way the wind is blowing, getting out in front of the crowd, and taking credit for leading the movement. This has become incredibly difficult in the era of Trump, simply because there is no cohesive strategy of agenda to rally behind. But because there is no positive agenda to get behind, the GOP is instead turning to and whole heartedly supporting two things that are spectacularly unpopular instead.
The Affordable Care Act was passed in 2009. It was immensely unpopular, due mostly to Democratic bungling in messaging while the bill was under consideration. The new law remained unpopular for years, which was to be expected, since the way the law was written, it would take four years for the most popular and beneficial clauses to take effect.
Since year 5, the ACA has steadily climbed the ladder of recovery, and is now statistically far more popular than unpopular. It turns out that in a depressed job market, people actually like being able to keep their kids on their insurance until they’re 26. They like the idea of an exchange if they change jobs, and they love the removal of lifetime caps on coverage and the ban on preexisting conditions.
But this is the table that the Republicans have set for their banquet. They have spent the last decade swearing on all that is holy that they would uproot the tree of Obamacare, toss it into the fire, and piss on the ashes. And regardless of how popular the law has become, this is the one promise that the GOP Senate has decided that it must keep, even if it means suffering through a Die Gotterdammerung that costs them all their jobs. Especially when considering that they are actively advocating stripping millions of Americans of insurance during a global pandemic.
Which brings us to the even more egregious error, the appointment of Judge Amy Coney Barret to the Supreme Court. But let’s be clear. The GOP has only spent a decade actively advocating for the overturn of the ACA, no matter how popular it has become, You can’t say that about abortion.
The GOP’s opposition to the landmark Supreme Court decision re Roe v Wade goes all the way back to the very day the decision was announced. And it really gained steam under the tutelage of moron Newt Gingrich’s Moral Majority movement, geared almost exclusively to Evangelicals, and their assorted flotsam and jetsam.
But then, a funny thing happened on the way to the quorum. Things, changed, attitudes changed, public mood changed, and most importantly, women changed. They became stronger, more independent, less reliant on a patrician male overlord, and more insistent on control of their own bodies, and the choices that they made. And while more and more women wanted to enjoy the pleasures of sex, but without the constraints that an unwanted pregnancy could entail, opinion started to shift.
Right now, the majority of the country feels that the winner of the general election on November 3rd should choose and seat the next Supreme Court justice. But more importantly, nearly two thirds of the country believes that Roe v Wade should be left standing as it is, and a smaller number advocate for expanding it’s rights and protections. But the Republicans are so subservient to this reliable but shrinking base, that they can’t walk away from that prize when it is in reach, even if it means their destruction as a party.
I told you at the top, I have never seen anything like this. At their core, politicians tend to be shallow, venal people. They like talking all day about how brilliant they are, that’s how they manage to get elected. But they also know how to get reelected. But the current iteration of the GOP seems to be intent on doing some sort of political Jonestown. They are willing to follow a man they should have no reason to fear, if their popularity is strong, and they will die on the hill of two ideas that national popular opinion is clear that the people don’t want changed. Fine, so be it, Fuck ’em, they don’t belong in the Senate anyway, if they aren’t going to represent their constituents.
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