Looking ahead, politically
Infidel753 at Infidel753 blog had an interesting post up which I thought makes for a good read. Infidel753 can also be found at Crooks and Liars blog.
Soon the time of Trump will give way to a Democratic presidency and House and hopefully a 50-50-plus-Harris control of the Senate. Some things to keep in mind:
1. When 2022 and 2024 arrive, most of the Democratic voting base will judge Biden and the Democrats in Congress mainly by results. Has the pandemic been vanquished? Have jobs and wages (not “the economy”, which takes in all kinds of things, but jobs and wages specifically) recovered? Has federal legislation to protect voting rights from state-level gerrymandering and vote suppression been enacted? Has Medicare access been expanded or some other kind of public option been provided? Have DC and Puerto Rico become states? If the Democrats achieve results, our voters will care only that it was done, not how it was done. Conversely, if little or nothing is accomplished, nobody will much care about whatever reasons or excuses are offered.
2. Achieving such results will partially depend on two intermediate steps — abolishing the filibuster, and enlarging the Supreme Court or otherwise neutering the ability of its current McConnell-Trump-imposed hard-right majority to block progress. The obstacle that a few Democrats oppose abolishing the filibuster should be surmountable — Feinstein needs to hear, vociferously, from a few million of her constituents, and Manchin can perhaps be brought around with the offer of some major benefit for his state, etc. One or two Republicans might even be brought to support the move. But if Democrats gain control of the Senate and don’t abolish the filibuster, the reasons for not doing it won’t matter — it will just mean they’ve handed the Republicans the rope to hang them with.
3. Don’t assume we can coast through the first two years without getting things done and then enact the full agenda after 2022 when we’ll pick up a bigger Senate majority. Yes, the 2022 Senate map is very favorable to Democrats, but we could lose the House that year, especially if not much has been accomplished and our voting base is de-motivated.
4. We’re going to be flying blind for the next few elections because nobody, including pollsters, can accurately predict turnout. The surges in Republican votes that elected Trump in 2016 and saved so many downballot Republicans in 2020 were real and largely unexpected. The blue wave of 2018 was also real. Nobody knows yet what this means in the long term. Are we now in an era when Republicans do better in presidential years than in off-years? Is it some effect unique to Trump which will fade when he’s out of politics? Something else? The point is, we can’t count on polls to tell us what’s going to happen, and even less on intuition and gut feeling.
5. We did very well in 2018 and fairly well this year despite state-level gerrymandering and vote suppression. Federal legislation to stamp out those things is the surest way to boost our advantage further.
6. Stop pointing to demographics as a reason to be complacent. I’ve been guilty of this myself, but if the Republicans were in inexorable decline already, we wouldn’t keep seeing knife-edge-close results in state after state that “should” be getting bluer, nor seeing some states actually getting redder. There’s more to the demographic issue than the common liberal view of it allows for — I’ll have a post about this sometime in the next few weeks.
7. Stop trying to make everything about race and racism. Yes, racism is an important issue, but there are other important issues which have nothing to do with it.
8. Stop saying stupid shit that drives voters in the sensible center (yes, they exist) toward the enemy. There’s no way of knowing how many votes we lost because of talk of abolishing private medical insurance and “defund the police”, but it was probably quite a few. Yes, yes, I know “defund the police really means blah blah” — shut the fuck up. If you say “defund the police”, normal people are going to think you mean “defund the police”. If you mean something else, then you need to use different words that accurately express what you mean. Similarly, we must firmly squelch any perception that we are, as Bill Maher put it, the party of “silence is violence but vandalism is not”. Disagreeing with somebody is not violence. Smashing windows is violence. It doesn’t matter what excuses or explanations anybody offers. This is dangerous bullshit and costs votes we can’t afford.
9. It’s very possible that Republicans will be cripplingly divided for the next few years. A lot will depend on what Trump does after leaving office, and how long the cult-like fervor toward him lasts. But we can’t count on such divisions to smooth the way for us. One way or another, they’ll involve a split between the Trump cultists and those on the right who seek a return to reality and sanity — and the latter group may not be large enough among Republican rank-and-file voters to have much impact.
10. One factor that may help break the wingnut “fever dream” alternate reality is the future course of the pandemic. Red states are still being hit hard, and this will continue to be the case as they reject masks and social distancing and, perhaps, largely reject the vaccine as well. It will soon reach the point where a large fraction of the population knows somebody who has died of covid-19 or has survived but suffered permanent, serious harm from it. At the same time, they’ll see life slowly returning to normal in the blue cities where the vaccine is in wide use. A realization that they were wrong about the pandemic might open some right-wingers’ minds to the possibility that they’ve been wrong about other things as well. Again, though, we’d be foolish to count on this.
11. There will be some violence from the right wing, perhaps even an assassination or two. But there won’t be an insurrection or violence on a large enough scale to have a real political effect.
12. At some point, somewhere, something big and completely unexpected will happen. It always does.
Points well taken. Yes, I wouldn’t count on the “fever dream” breaking or, more to the point, don’t count on denialists finally accepting Covid19 is real/not over hyped to engender a more general questioning of assumptions. Among the denialists in my family I can say categorically that that’s just not how their minds work. For example, Trump’s early lies about Covid19 were unquestioningly accepted and never really abandoned despite Trump contracting the disease.
“A realization that they were wrong about the pandemic might open some right-wingers’ minds”
That won’t happen since 95+ percent of the infected don’t get that sick. Many people will still have personal experience that allows them to say “see, it was not that bad.”
Meanwhile in countries that knew how to wear masks, locked down, and the people stayed home . . . Crowds fill streets in China’s pandemic-hit Wuhan, celebrate New Year!
I expect/believe/hope that Trump will fade from the news. The news bubbles will not weaken, though. Even though Dems are better for the economy, more than half of registered voters will never know it.
Holy shit! Great article. Thanks. I had made a New Year’s resolution to give up AB for 2021 as a useless waste of time, but then I read this and decided to stay on. Sorry for those that will be disappointed in that change of mind..
Unfortunately, the Senate elections did not go our way. Even if we get two seats in GA it will not be enough. Manchin has clearly stated he will not vote to end the filibuster, so we can look forward to the lack of any progressive legislation.
And while competency in the Cabinet can make a lot of good things happen, I doubt that Executive Orders can make any big change. Mainly because of the Supreme Court.
Biden is going to need a lot of attorneys.
I fear that you are totally correct.
Could you please stop that :<) ???
Happy New Year, anyway.
If one yet lives, then it is not all over for them.
don’t count on it.
while i largely agree with the post, i wonder if the author notices the contradiction between the unpredictability of voters…and the worship of a temporary majority. a time could come when the filibuster works for our side. meanwhile it seems like it might be hard to get rid of voter suppression and gerrymandering given that the bad guys control the majority in their own states.
nor does it look like the dems are ready to give up their worship of what’s good for wall street is good for the country.
as for making everything about racism: works well enough for the
Dems, otherwise we could fix things like cops murdering people just by prosecuting the cops without ever mentioning the race of the victim.
Happy New Year! to you, Ron.
Unfortunately, the future is fairly easy to see. Just replacing Cabinet heads with competent leaders is going to be great, but I am afraid Biden is screwed for the most part.
Meanwhile, losing Trump made me look forward to the New Year until I went to the mailbox and found a envelope from my MIL’s attorney. My MIL passed away in April. Will had her estate to be divided between the 3 daughters. Now, there is a codicil basically taking my wife out of the will. And the majority of the estate going to her youngest sister who, with her family, had been living at my MIL’s house the last couple of years.
My wife is crushed, though there had been implications of something going on for awhile. So much so that we have already hired an attorney to contest the will.
The codicil? Signed in an ICU less than 48 hours before her death. Written by the younger sister; one unknown witness signature, and the attorney states that while the younger sister didn’t sign the codicil, she will attest to it.
Gonna be a rough year. Saddest part is my wife has no children, and her family was everything to her. She is going to lose most of them.
You did not say if the MIL signed the codicil. If the youngest is the executor, her signature could not make it legal even if witnessed by someone who is not a part of the Will. MIL has to sign it. Furthermore without the MIL’s signature, your wife could not be cut out of the Will either. Then there is the issue of whether the MIL was still cognizant 48 hours before she died. In any case, that is a pretty poor way of doing something.
I assume you have a good attorney. Otherwise I can ask a friend (up by you) to recommend someone. He was a former partner and occupied a floor of a building in downtown Chicago.
My wife’s siblings are mostly a pain in the butt, but no knife in the back. When their dad died they were left the estate evenly split along monetary value and then bartered to keep the mountain cabin in the family, for a while at least. The two youngest are screw-ups and my wife later had to bail one out of prison with about $28K in lawyer fees and saved the other’s home with a “loan” yet to be repaid of $100K after taxes from her 401K. My wife could only afford those two dependents because I have been paying all the bills leaving her to her “charities.” Leeching and betraying are not the same thing even if they seem to have the same result.
With Trump gone then I will call it even. Oh, the kicker is that both of the leeches are Trump supporters. Figures!
The youngest sister is also a Trump supporter.
I see a pattern.
Then I do literally feel your pain. Well maybe. Then maybe I got the worse end. My wife has a gag order on me when it comes to her family. So much for free speech. It does not apply to in-laws in my home, but maybe you are luckier than that.???
Coberly: it seems like it might be hard to get rid of voter suppression and gerrymandering given that the bad guys control the majority in their own states
Federal legislation could do a lot. It might be as simple as putting some teeth back in the Voting Rights Act. Most of this stuff has erupted since it was de-fanged.
a time could come when the filibuster works for our side
If Republicans legitimately win a majority, so be it. That’s democracy. In any case, a future hypothetical Republican majority would abolish the filibuster if it suited them, whether or not we do it first and get some of the benefit for ourselves.
Yes, the MIL appears to have signed the codicil. And the codicil states that the youngest was to be the Executor. Of course, the codicil was written by the youngest sister.
My wife and I had our last contact with my MIL via Facetime three days before her death. She was incapable of rational thought and/or speech then. She had been on dialysis for years until her veins could not handle it anymore and her kidneys shut down. She died within ten days after stopping dialysis. She was on narcotics and our attorney has subpoenaed her hospital records.
He is based in the county in PA and comes highly recommended by friends back there.
Sorry to hear of the family drama, it is always disheartening, and the turmoil comes at a time of grieving when people are vulnerable. Good luck on this as bad results will result in a lifetime of bad feelings. Just checking in with you.