Well, shit, how about those mid-terms? Could’ve been worse, right?
Sure, it’s a little disheartening that after the relentless Republican malfeasance, empty-headedness, racism, authoritarianism, transparent mendacity, complicity in a coup plot to destroy the American experiment (as detailed with such force and eloquence quite recently by the the January 6 Committee), and – oh yeah, almost forgot! – the abolition of the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy by their stacked, nakedly partisan Supreme Court, with promises of more where that came from, the Dems couldn’t even hold the House. That stings a little, I’ll grant you. Just as it smarts a bit that Americans can look at only one economic indicator – inflation – and decide there’s a Biden-manufactured economic apocalypse in the works, even though actually, U.S. inflation is part of a global phenomenon and is less severe than in most other industrialized nations at the moment, wages are also up by a few percentage points, unemployment is at historic lows, economic growth is beating the rest of the G-7, and there’ve been over ten million new jobs created since Trump was booted from office. Yeah, says John. Q. Pinhead, but gas prices are still up, obviously much higher than all those Ford F-150 owners would like, which of course means it’s the Dems, and not the profiteering pirates in the GOP-coddled oil industry, who need to be brought to heel.
It’s also not especially encouraging that despite nominating some of the most terrifyingly unqualified, frothing-at-the-mouth, QAnon-loving, conspiracy-peddling, election-denying scoundrels, bigots, and chowder-headed, Trump-endorsed maniacs ever to make Ted Cruz look like Thomas Fucking Jefferson, the Republicans still only tended to lose, when they did lose, by mere fractions of a percentage point. Reasonable folk might find that a little dispiriting, it’s true. I mean, you could just look at how Herschel Walker’s managed to force a run-off with Raphael Warnock, which is sort of like, say, Twisted Sister almost edging out The Who, and pretty much abandon all hope right there, sure you could.
Neither, I suppose, is there much comfort to be taken in realizing that most of the voting public seems not to have registered all the things the Dems still managed to achieve over the past couple of years, despite the vehement opposition of not only the entire GOP (many of whom had the cajones to run around taking credit for the very things they voted against), but also the shameless, cynical grandstanding of supposed Dems Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, all of which might have led a more, er, attentive populace to conclude that gee, if only there were more robust Democratic majorities in the legislature, just think what might be accomplished!
I’ll grant you as well that other supposed bright spots, like the “huge” youth voter turnout, look in retrospect not to have been so bright after all, the latest calculations indicating that only about 25-27% of eligible voters aged 18-29 managed to take the time to cast the ballots necessary to influence a future in which nobody has anywhere near as much stake as they do.
Yup. But look, it still could’ve been worse, right? I mean, don’t forget, the American electorate is still lousy with white males! Anything halfway decent that’s still achieved in the teeth of the white male vote is a frigging miracle. Plus there’s the Christians! And this was a mid-term election, in which the governing party, irrespective of any facts or rational analysis, usually takes a horrible whupping; compared, for example, to the Tea Party takeover of Congress during Obama’s first mid-term, in which the Republicans gained 63 seats(!) in the House, winding up with a result like this feels something like a victory:
There was supposed to be a Red Wave, after all, nay, a Red Tsunami. Ha! The MAGA monsters picked up maybe half a dozen seats. Big deal!
Yes…but. A win is still a win. Somebody in the GOP, if not Kevin McCarthy then somebody just like him, is going to take the gavel from Nancy Pelosi, and as Kevin himself, bless his pointed head, said just a couple of nights ago, they don’t give out gavels in small, medium and large. A few days back, I made a confident prediction of what this would mean:
Now, we’ve all known from the get-go that if the GOP takes back the legislative branch this November it will be an apocalyptically unholy shit show… There’ll be endless investigations, and subpoenas flying all over the place, which Democratic officials, unlike their GOP counterparts, will feel bound to obey. Everybody from the Secretary of Agriculture to the guy who empties the trash cans at Foggy Bottom will spend hours upon hours being grilled under hot lights by the assorted GOP jackals who’ll then run all the committees. Biden will probably be impeached. Merrick Garland as well, most likely, even if he doesn’t indict Trump, and certainly if he does. They’ll go after the hapless Hunter Biden with a vengeance, and Dr. Fauci, too, just for the sheer fun of it, and don’t be surprised if Hillary’s frigging emails make a comeback (no that’s not a joke – no fooling, don’t be shocked if frigging Benghazi gets another investigation or two, and they haul Hillary back for another inquisition in between votes to expel AOC and Adam Schiff from Congress)…Even worse, they’ll start in again with the games of budget chicken and fiscal blackmail. Of course they will. No raising of the debt ceiling unless Social Security and Medicare are gutted, government shutdowns, that sort of thing. Maybe this time they’ll finally blow up the entire world economy.
Mind you, I’d based all that gloom and doom on the projection of a GOP, flush with triumph, riding the crest of its Red Tsunami to crushing victory, and holding a commanding majority in the House, and maybe the Senate too. Instead, all they’ve won is a piddling lower chamber squeaker, with the popular vote seeming to indicate that all the usual MAGA bullshit doesn’t quite sell the way it used to. Perhaps, in the aftermath, there’d be a certain chastening, maybe the faint dawning of a realization that the extremism, the chaos, the disruptive antics, the utter absence of any of their own policy alternatives, were actually proving an obstacle to the power they crave? Listen, Mitch McConnell thinks so, and said this to the press just yesterday:
We underperformed among independents and moderates because their impression of many of the people in our party in leadership roles is that they’re involved in chaos, negativity, excessive attacks, and it frightened independent and moderate Republican voter…the perception many of them had was that we were not dealing with issues in a responsible way and that we were spending too much time on negativity and attacks and chaos. They were frightened, and so they pulled back.
Yeah! You tell ’em, Mitch! Yay Mitch! Everybody heed Mitch! Maybe they would, right? Well,
Straight out of the blocks, first thing they do is go after Hunter Biden. Next priority: investigating the very, very unfair mistreatment of those noble January 6 insurrectionists now languishing in jail, the poor oppressed freedom fighters. So that’s the way it’s going to be, then. Two years of bullshit smelling rank to the very gates of Heaven, with nothing getting done, while the likes of Jim Jordan and Marjorie Taylor Greene scream themselves hoarse about stolen elections and the coming reign of the Lizard People.
Fine. There’s still a few weeks of a lame duck session in which the Democrats could, for a change, act like Republicans, and keep pushing their agenda even though they’ve lost the election. They could take the debt ceiling off the table, either raising it to levels that won’t ever be attained, or abolishing it outright – it is, after all, a ridiculous anachronism, and nobody in the American public understands it, or cares the first thing about it. They could fund the war effort in Ukraine to the tune of a couple of hundred billion, so it won’t matter if McCarthy and his fascist cohort of Putin-fluffing, America First isolationists decline any further support (up in the Senate, it’s even likely they could get McConnell’s buy-in on something along these lines). They can pass badly needed reforms to the Electoral Count Act, thereby foreclosing the sort of nonsense that attended the certification of the 2020 election. They can do everything possible to make Kevin McCarthy’s path to the Speaker’s chair just as rocky as it can be, perhaps by peeling off a few GOP members to vote for somebody more reasonable, and anyway making Kevin fight so hard for it he’s sorry he ever went after the poisoned chalice in the first place.
It’s not too late to do some good. Then, we’ll see whether two interminable years of the GOP clown show net them any gains, or instead run them into the same buzz saw that shredded that awful bastard Newt Gingrich, back in the day, after he decided to go after Bill Clinton. I know, I know, things have changed. This ain’t 1998. Yet Bubba, waving his willy all over the Oval, abusing that poor kid Lewinsky, and then lying about it under oath, had something coming to him in a way Biden simply never will, not by a damn sight, and still the vitriol and perceived persecution blew up in their puffy, bloviating faces. It could happen again. We’ve just seen for ourselves that the non-MAGA majority might be waking up and running out of patience. Maybe the coming spectacle is just what the broader public needs to see.
Try to be optimistic along with me, now, can’t you?