Saturday, November 12, 2016

Reasons for hope

Amid all the fear and worry about what Don and the Republicans will do to the USA, there are a few things that suggest they might fail, which would be good since that would mean success for ordinary Americans. Those potential keys to failure are all of their own making.

Most of the domestic agenda of Don and the Republicans can be accomplished without the support of Democrats, and they intend on ramming through as much as they can early next year in a special Budget reconciliation move that cannot be filibustered by Democrats and only needs a simple majority to pass. But that will happen in the early, heady days of Republicans’ absolute control of the federal government.

What happens later could change everything.

Teabaggers are teabaggers first and always

The Republicans’ bellicose and belligerent teabagger caucus is restive and always angling for a fight. They saw off John Boehner as Speaker, and they’re preparing to get rid of Paul Ryan, too, all because they didn’t consider either one 1000% ideologically pure while also prone to commit what the teabaggers think should be a crime punished with the death penalty: Compromise. To these extreme extremists, it’s always and all ways their way only, end of story.

Sooner or later they’ll get angry and demand that their overtly fascistic agenda be pushed through. They may be willing to shut down the government yet again as they throw yet another child’s tantrum. But with a Republican in the White House, even though he’s a buffoon, the mainstream Republicans won’t be in a mood to tolerate that and will turn to Democrats to end the teabaggers’ games.

That will require a price: Nearly anything the Democrats demand. That will enrage the teabaggers even more (the capital crime of compromise, remember), and it could lead to a permanent split in the House Republican caucus, meaning real Republicans will need the support of Democrats to stay in control, and that would mean a more moderate agenda.

Things are different in the US Senate, where in most cases Senators need votes from Democrats and Independents in order to keep their jobs, and they can’t afford to risk angering them just to appease the teabaggers. Such Senate Republicans will calculate that the threat of the teabaggers and rich oligarchs and plutocrats putting up a Republican primary challenger is less than the threat of losing their jobs in a general election after pissing off mainstream voters.

If the teabaggers behave themselves, however, the moderating brakes won’t be applied. Even so, it’s distinctly possible, given the self-centred arrogance of the teabaggers.

Update: Teabaggers are already "warning" Don about his pick for Chief of Staff, especially Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus. One of their main problem with Priebus is that he's a close ally of current US House Speaker Paul Ryan, whom they loathe.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely

With Republicans controlling all three branches of government, including both houses of the US Congress, they can’t blame anyone else for their failures and mistakes. Sure, they’ll try, but voters aren’t that stupid: You screw up, you pay the price. The likelihood that they’ll screw up is very high given their total control of government, and that means that they could very well bring about their own defeat in 2018.

No one likes a bully

Sure, the roughly one-quarter of American voters who backed Don thought his boorish, bullying behaviour and bigotry was funny during the campaign. But will they still think so when he’s supposed to be a dignified president instead? And what of Republican leaders who can’t help but insult everyone they don’t agree with? Their supporters could very well begin to feel like they’ve been taken for fools—and for a ride. This matters for 2018 and 2020, but won’t do anything to help before those elections provide opportunities for voters to give their response to the bullying.

Three quarters of America did NOT vote for Don

Finally, it’s important to remember that the vast majority of Americans did not vote for Don, even though some of those who didn't vote at all would have backed Don. What this means is that there is a vast number of voters who did not love Don (or hate Hillary) enough to go vote for him. That means one thing: Opportunity.

If opponents can get their act together, avoid silly infighting and focus on the biggest thing they have in common—defeating Don and the Republicans—then they can turn things around and repeal all the bad things Don and the Republicans do.

Best of all, Democrats don’t need to win over all that many voters, and the pool to draw from is vast. This is something that can happen, and it must.

Amid all the fear and worry about what Don and the Republicans will do to the USA, there are a few reasons for hope. We need to focus on those.

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