The State of the Union: A Republican comeback?

Conventional wisdom says a president’s party loses seats in midterm elections. Republicans, needing few gains to control Congress, will benefit from the census shifting seats to red states, gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other cheating. But modern American politics confounds conventional wisdom. No longer conforming to a rational paradigm. Many pundits even think Trump may regain the White House. Could voters be so crazy — after January 6 — and with Republicans still steeped in that Kool-Aid?

The “stolen election” story is a pathetic joke. As if the out-party could have pulled that off. Trump (the biggest liar ever) simply made it up because his deranged ego couldn’t accept losing. Any fool could see that. But not his cultists, so unhitched from reality the lie is now literally an article of faith. It was Trump himself who tried to steal the election, culminating on January 6, and the insanity continues to warp our whole body politic. Might voter revulsion at this negate the usual midterm dynamic? Or will Republican distraction efforts succeed? (Despite being undermined by Trump’s obsessive histrionics.)

We’re also being told that if President Biden can’t get his ambitious multi-program bill passed, Democrats will look hapless. While if it does pass, Republicans will have a field day crying “socialism!” So Democrats can’t win. But Republicans will shriek “socialism” no matter what. Now needing, as we’ve learned, no nexus with factual reality for any of their shtick. Screaming that Democrats will destroy America — which Republicans themselves nearly did on January 6.

Meantime, what’s actually in Biden’s legislation is mostly stuff most voters like and want: subsidized day care, family leave, college, etc. Another thing we’re told endlessly is how Democrats don’t connect with the working class economic anxieties Trumpism exploits (without actually doing anything about).

Well, Biden’s big “Build Back Better” bill does tackle those bread-and-butter concerns. But for many voters, it’s “my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with facts.” And Republican politics today isn’t about genuine policy issues anyway. Mainly it’s demonizing and hating Democrats. “Owning the libs.”

As a longtime Republican, I have no illusions of Democrat and Biden wonderfulness. I’ve criticized him over Afghanistan, and China policy. His handling of migrants and refugees is disappointing — breaking, I feel, a personal promise. Yet Biden is still a decent, honest, responsible, sane antithesis to Trump who — on top of every other ghastly travesty — tried to overthrow our democracy. And would wreck it forever if, against all reason, returned to power.

I’d like to think it inconceivable. But that’s what I thought in 2016 — before it showed too many U.S. voters gone rogue — against all reason.

Americans are mostly admirable, pragmatic, down-to-earth, salt-of-the-earth people. But even before 2016 I warned that our being, in the global/historical scheme of things, a peaceable oasis of democracy and freedom, was not somehow ordained by God. And would not endure without citizens understanding and internalizing the principles undergirding it. Heedless ignorance, flouting those principles, metastasizes. As on January 6. And millions actually believe Trump was “making America great again.” Another pathetic joke.

I fear the power of the strongman syndrome. Bin Laden said, “if people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will prefer the strong horse.” Even if, as with Trump, it’s strength of badness. Those still gaga for him are psychologically attracted by the illusion of strength. Imagining only a tough character can solve tough problems. And voters in many other countries have made that same mistake again and again, falling for the primitivist, misconceived macho allure of a “strongman.” Like moths to a flame.

I love America. Trump’s presidency felt like watching her raped. Re-electing him would be like infidelity.


3 Responses to “The State of the Union: A Republican comeback?”

  1. Don Bronkema Says:

    Esteemed respondent seems to affirm the decency of our species. Aye see flotsam on a sea of contigencies. Bipedalism, fire, wheels, metallurgy, symbols, tek & reason just accelerate the extinction of Man via transcendance. MIT: By 2225 CE, half of this planet will have been transmogrified to data. Indeed, the information tenancy of the universe is 1×10 to the 80th power, but if used mostly as storage it would freeze, void of the energy to self-purge & recycle. We can loosen up the Ontos by restoring the Earth to an arbitrary status quo ante & willing ourselves to Nothingness. By its own hand or force majeure, ayel wager that is the fate of sentience generally.

  2. fgsjr2015 Says:

    “The ‘stolen election’ story is a pathetic joke. As if the out-party could have pulled that off. Trump (the biggest liar ever) simply made it up because his deranged ego couldn’t accept losing.”

    Some people could claim that there WAS electoral fraud committed — in Trump’s FAVOR, in the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections. They simply find it unfathomable that so many Americans had voted for him both times (and especially last November after experiencing his first term helter skelter). They have no real evidence to back up their claim, except for the fact that Hilary had ‘lost’ in 2016 and Donald garnered 70 million or so votes — results that were impossible unless electoral fraud was committed.
    But, seriously, were there not scrutineers from both political camps monitoring the election, including ballot counts, last November?
    Long before election day, Trump was saying he may not respect a Biden win, as though preparing his voter base for his inevitable refusal to leave office, whatever the vote-count results may be. The rioters (and Trump) may simply have been enraged enough at his defeat by the supposedly ‘socialist’ Biden that they were now going to raise hell. Or perhaps those supporters consciously or subconsciously believe that he has to remain in office for some perceived greater good — perhaps to save the nation or even to do ‘God’s will’ — regardless of his democratically decided election loss.
    It may be a case of that very dangerous philosophy: the end justifies the means. Without equating Trump or his base supporters to any of history’s genocidal maniacs, the most frightful example of that philosophical justification is/was the pogrom, the primary implementers of which know they’re committing mass murder yet still genuinely perceive it all as part of an ultimately greater good.

    “… Republicans will have a field day crying ‘socialism!’ So Democrats can’t win. But Republicans will shriek ‘socialism’ no matter what.”

    Unlike a few social/labor revolutions of the past, notably the Bolshevik and French revolutions, it seems to me that virtual corporate rule and the superfluously wealthy essentially have the police and military ready to foremost protect big power and money interests, even over the food and shelter needs of the protesting masses.
    I can imagine that there are/were lessons learned from them — a figurative How to Hinder Progressive Revolutions 101, perhaps? — with the clarity of hindsight by big power and money interests. They, the police/military/big-money, can claim they must bust heads to maintain law and order as a priority; thus the absurdly unjust inequities and inequalities can persist. …

    I seriously doubt that the Biden administration would be permitted to make a notably practical improvement in poor and low-income Americans’ quality of life, regardless of how much Biden may want to deliver such greatly needed assistance. I believe that the DNC refuses to allow a Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy, regardless of what Democratic Party members/voters want. For example, every county in West Virginia voted for Sanders in 2016, yet the Democratic National Committee declared them as wins for Clinton, the latter candidate’s neo-liberalism, unlike Sanders’ fiscal-progressiveness, already known for not rubbing against any big business grain. Fiscal conservative ideology/politics, big business interests and most of the corporate mainstream news-media resist sufficiently progressive ideas from actually being implemented. They seem to favor big money interests over people. Republican representatives may also be manipulating the Democratic Party hierarchy into making the latter’s fiscal politics/policies more conservative.

  3. Don Bronkema Says:

    Yet alles ist nicht gelossen. Wager Joe, Chuck & Nancy will cobble a $1.9-2.1 TN framework this week & return in 2023 to finance the 2nd half. A levy of $190 per metric ton of CO2 is ineluctable–the carbon cabal will be broken on the anvil of history. Yes, 300-400M could perish, but terraman will live & Earth will cool fast w/NASA’s geostationary orbisols. Musk projects an ion-thrust-enabled 125K at Colonia Martialis by 2150. Then? Haldane said to reach the stars, one must first imagine them. Sci-historian respondent failed to anticipate the social revolt of 1966-72, but his many adumbrations [1941-2021] justify serenity. Indeed, a blind kosmos means despair is pusillanimous. Wittgenstein’s striking insight: grammar [i.e., coherence] is salvation. Viz: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [1921].

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