I try like hell to be an optimist. I keep thinking my fellow Americans will ultimately do the right thing when it matters most. When they see the clear difference between our two political parties, they will surely choose the one that gives us the best chance of continuing to live in a democratic society and address the vital issues confronting us in the 21st century.
Unfortunately, of late, I’ve failed to maintain that positivity. I find myself increasingly in the category of folks who say the November mid-term elections will be a catastrophe for Democrats. Our current president has done a lot to move the country forward. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter to folks.
The American people are pissed. About everything, it seems. And, if I’m to be completely honest with myself, why shouldn’t they be? Inflation is out of control; the pandemic is still lurking, although we’re in a much better place than a year ago; and war is raging in Eastern Europe with a brutal dictator hell-bent on bringing back the “glory days” of the Soviet Union.
According to many economists, we’re headed for a recession in the coming months, which will add even more anxiety and uncertainty. And with Putin threatening the rest of the civilized world with nuclear weapons, how much more of this can we all take?
Of course, the irony is that none of it is President Biden’s fault. Most of the current problems we face, at least the economic ones, predated his arrival in the oval office on January 20, 2021. The pandemic wasn’t his fault, nor were the supply chain issues and inflation that goes with it. However, it doesn’t matter. The incumbent guy usually gets blamed when people pay a hundred bucks to fill up their tanks.
It doesn’t help that our mainstream media fails to remind folks of Biden’s accomplishments – at least not often enough. The jobs report every month since he’s taken office has been astoundingly good. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created, and we’re back to near full employment way faster than economists had predicted. The American Rescue Plan, which included an enhanced earned income tax credit, helped many Americans stay out of poverty.
However, it’s inflation that gets covered most. Bad news sells. The good news gets a shrug.
When the disgraced former president left office, we saw long lines at food banks. Lately, we haven’t seen that. Unfortunately, we might start seeing it again real soon. With a 50/50 Senate and two Democratic senators who seem pretty content to help out the GOP, legislation over the coming months that could help many people will probably not happen.
And then there is our current Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland. The clock is ticking and ticking fast. Yet Garland doesn’t seem in a hurry to hold those in power accountable for the attack on our democracy on January 6, 2021. I realize the issue is complex, and you certainly can’t haphazardly charge a former president with a crime unless it’s ironclad.
But my God, what else does he need? The January 6 Committee has already said there’s enough evidence to suggest that the former president committed crimes. But they’re reluctant to send a referral to Garland, sensing he might resist pressing charges if it looks like a partisan political act. Garland’s lack of action is already causing consternation among Democrats. Many, myself included, think that Donald Trump will get away with it – just as he has throughout his life in the public arena.
I realize a lot can happen between now and the November mid-terms. Sure, things could change. Maybe the war in Europe winds down, inflation worries ease, and the economy continues to surge ahead. But the trend lines ahead do not look good. Hope springs eternal, they say. But my hope is filled with dread.
So get ready for a metaphorical blood bath in November, folks. Do you like the book banning and anti-gay bills circulating in state capitals? Indeed the newly empowered GOP will likely offer up some similar legislation. Or maybe you want to see daily hearings about Hunter Biden’s laptop and even an old favorite, Hillary Clinton’s emails? Hell, we may even see impeachment inquiries into Biden as well.
After all, he’s old. Can they impeach him for that?
If you like those things, you should either sit out the election or vote for the GOP. If you want a political party with no ideas whose thirst for power overrides everything else, then those are your people.
If you think that a women’s right to choose to have an abortion is illegal, or should be, then, by all means, vote GOP. If you think critical race theory threatens white supremacy, vote GOP. If you believe that voting rights should be limited and suppressed, especially for people of color, then once again, you know what to do.
There are other reasons to vote for the GOP as well. Maybe you’d like to see more drilling in sensitive areas across the United States and increased subsidies for the fossil fuel companies. Perhaps you’d also want to see tax cuts for people like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Or maybe you might want to see Trump’s wall finally completed.
And, if you think our democracy is safe, with no need to protect against a future autocrat – one who might even be worse than Trump, then again, please head to the polls in November and punch the card for the Republican Party. Surely they will reward you for the kind of country you want.
By the way, when I say Republicans have no ideas, I’m only partially correct. Indeed, when Senate Majority Leader McConnell was recently asked about his party’s platform in 2022, he said he’d “let us know.” Unfortunately, Florida Senator Rick Scott ignored Mitch and released his 11-point plan for America. He calls it a rescue plan. I call it a plan for America’s continued decline.
Rather than bore everyone with details, some of the highlights (lowlights) include taxing poor people, so they have “skin in the game,” banning same-day and automatic voter registration, banning abortion and porn, banning trans men from women’s sports, and mandating that all government programs “sunset” in five years. I wonder if that last one means ending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? I digress.
Anyway, if you like Scott’s plan, go for it. Vote GOP. Even though McConnell hasn’t endorsed it, this plan is exactly what Republicans are all about if you know anything about politics. Scott is merely saying what Mitch and the rest of them would love to do if only they had power.
Thankfully, there is one saving grace if the GOP wins back power: We still have a democratic president who will hold the crazies in check. None of their ridiculous ideas or policies will ever see the light of day. Biden would surely veto much of it.
But make no mistake. If Republicans achieve power, you will, at the very least, see performance art politics on full display – every day. You’ll see hearings galore, followed by soundbites on nightly news showing America which one of them is crazier than the other.
If that’s what you want for your country, reward the GOP with your vote. Unfortunately, I fear that too many of my fellow citizens will do just that. Am I wrong?