The next two years of hell.

There are now great gobs of evidence that not only is the Trump administration actively ignoring the pandemic, but that they are perfectly happy leaving as big a mess as possible on every level for the incoming Biden administration to clean up.

If we make it through the next two months though, I don’t really see how the next two years are anything but shameless, wall - to - wall sabotage. No one’s crystal ball is crystal clear of course:

  • Democrats, through executive order, reconciliation (maybe?), or filibuster reform (maybe?) attempt to take some basic recovery measures after close to 300k deaths from a pandemic, 10% unemployment, a recession, and a 3 trillion dollar budget deficit. To do that, they will have to (gasp!) tax AND spend.

  • Republicans - regardless of the Senate’s composition - will oppose any and all bills proposed by Democrats and strike the same posture they did from 2010 - 2016. No Republican support for anything; details be damned. Legislative victories are political victories and Democrats are not going to be allowed those.

  • Republican opposition, along with the deficit, will suddenly become a BIG PROBLEM, and will be enough for traditional media outlets to start writing “President Biden’s Agenda is DOA” pieces by sometime in March of 2021. COVID-19 deaths will also be laid at his feet and everyone that dies post, say, June will be evidence that “Biden’s plan has failed”. Those mechanisms will shut helpful (if likely flawed) programs down with the push of a button. Biden’s overtures to cooperation will have been a failure on his part and his part alone.

  • Any agenda items - large or small - that DO actually get passed via legislation or executive order will find themselves tied up in endless litigation, usually at the behest of one "independent" rightwing group or another. That litigation can then be used by Republicans to delegitimize the Biden administration at every level. And almost hilariously partisan Trump judges will have no qualms about playing along.

  • Any and all attempts to set straight what amounts to the 21st century Watergate that was the entirety of the Trump presidency will be met by so much incoherent screaming about “political prosecutions” as to make any such process pointless. Just like legislation, the GOP will be shameless in their goal to de-legitimize. Even the most Republican “independent” prosecutor on the planet will find themselves subject to endless vilification. Just ask Robert Mueller.

  • President Biden will surely commit some apostasy that will dampen enthusiasm among lefties. He won’t support the elimination of the filibuster or the electoral college, he’ll appoint John Kasich to the Interior Department, or he won’t immediately discontinue one Trump policy or another. That will keep his approval rating lower than it otherwise would be, and prevent any serious usage of “political capital” to accomplish anything more controversial than upper, upper, upper class tax increases via (maybe) budget reconciliation. And even those will be meager at best because "moderate" Democrats are terrified of anything resembling a "tax increase". Their backs will be against the wall. Someone is going to be disappointed.

  • The 2022 election will then be more than a little reminiscent of 2010, with an ascendant Democratic party laid low by an astroturfed “New, Post - Trump” Republican party that will coyly distance itself from that last iteration, but espouse roughly the same ideology. Democrats will lose their governing majority on a wave of “populist” sentiment, which will be conflated in bad faith as the antithesis of actually popular Democratic proposals.

I’m wrong about a lot, and I really, really hope I’m wrong about all of this, of course.

The big wildcard for the next two years is Trump. His actions really depend on whether you buy into the “power - mad demagogue” theory or the “narcissistic accidental president” theory. With the former, he announces his 2024 run in his concession speech (or shortly after the inauguration), and with the latter, the Trump TV network is born and (probably) flourishes until its inevitable bankruptcy. He might even split the difference - as a private citizen, he’s free to start his own propaganda network and THEN run for president again in 2024. The less brainspace we all waste on those particular possibilities right now, the better.

But the essential formula remains, probably regardless of that - a popular Democratic majority, elected by a majority of voters is going to try - and if history is any guide, fail - to enact policies with roughly
70% support of the general population. And they’re going to run into a brick wall composed of GOP extremism, a lazy media, and partisan courts.

I can’t stand it. I know they’ve planned it.


Popular posts from this blog

Simple solutions to thorny problems.

Conservatism is Trumpism

We're talking past each other.