The Wave Breaks
Purple Reign Ensues
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
November 13th 2022
One of the Weasels described this past week’s election for MAGAts as “Owning the Libs turned into Own Goal.” There’s more than a bit of truth to that. Annoying liberals became a sort of a group pastime beginning with the rise of Rush Limbaugh, and people thought the best way to deal with liberals was to be as inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending as possible, and totally missed the fact that 30% of population is liberal, another 40% are moderates and 20% more are conservative-but-still-sane. So you had 10% of the population that was nuts and/or gleefully vile, and another 30% or so willing to at least tolerate them for the sake of the extra votes they pulled in.
So the lib owners very loudly did their thing, and with the help of billionaires and the propaganda networks they formed, even got some of their own elected. What they missed was that a large portion of the population took them at their word, and assumed they were inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending. Few people see these as virtues.
There were plenty of other reasons why the GOP failed to sweep to total power this election. Nobody likes the theocrats on the Court or that surge by the fundie crowd to turn America into a pseudo-Christian version of Iran. The Republicans who weren’t MAGAts pandered to the billionaire class, promising to cut taxes on the rich and paying for it by raising taxes on the middle class and by slashing or even eliminating Social Security and Medicare. It got them campaign donations, but it turned out nobody was willing to give up their pension or medical coverage so they could see more political ads on TV.
Trump, of course, was a big part of it. As long as he held power, Republicans were willing to disbelieve or turn a blind eye to the fact that he is a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag. Yes, the thinking went, he might be a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag, but by gawd, he’s OUR loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag (Yes, I get paid by the word, why do you ask?) and he can win elections for us. In point of fact, he’s never won an election for the GOP, but the illusion of success was adequate for some. So despite his pyramid of scandals and obvious incompetence, he was able to persuade primary voters to go for his picks to run in the mid-terms, and a motley collection of losers they were. You had the election deniers, some of whom promised not to accept the results of the election unless they won. One promised that if elected, his party would never lose another election again. Others ran on openly racist themes, decrying the non-existent “open border” or complaining about crime in the inner cities. (The crime rate is actually higher in rural areas, but they aren’t black there, you see). Some appealed to fear, flogging gays and transgendered (an average child is at far greater risk from his church’s pastor than he is from any drag queen) or drifting off into the land of utter lunacy (litter boxes in school restrooms to accommodate “furries”). One snake-oil “doctor” ran on a platform of mocking his opponent for having had a stroke. Perhaps Trump can sink that low, but most people can’t. The doctor lost, costing the GOP the Senate. Back to Trump in a minute.
The Dobbs decision striking down Roe v. Wade galvanized female and young voters. Both turned out in record numbers, and voted Democratic. We’re already hearing calls from disappointed MAGAts to raise the voting age to 21. (I can imagine a case based on that reaching the Supreme Court. Alito, who already bald-faced that there is no such thing as “unenumerated rights” will probably declare the Constitution has no opinion on voting age. If he can wave the 9th Amendment out of existence, why not do the same to the 26th?) I’m sure MAGAts are trying to figure out how to deter female voters the way they try to deter African-American voters. Joan Crow, anyone?
Finally, and the least recognized reason, is that the fact is that Biden and the Democrats did a hell of a good job over his first two years, and did so with absolutely no help from Republicans. Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a 1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, and limited gun and health care reform. He managed to cap insulin prices, and gave the government power to negotiate drug and medical equipment prices. He got the 1.9 trillion dollar COVID relief bill through, which kept millions of Americans afloat and off the streets while saving thousands of businesses. He got a bill passed to forgive student loans, an execrable scam that kept millions of American in economic slavery.
I said last week that Trump’s decision to run would depend on how the election went. If the Pubs swept, all his scandals and looming criminal cases and civil suits would go away, courtesy of a morally bankrupt Congress and a stacked Supreme Court, and he would run. If Dems kept the Senate (as they have) and even won the House (which they still might) he wouldn’t run. Even he has to know the midterm results weakened him badly. His chosen candidates nearly all lost. Republicans are daring to criticize him. I believe that for now, he won’t announce. Too much risk of sparking an intra-party revolt or even a civil war. He wouldn’t mind that, understand. But the prospect he might lose will scare him off.
But don’t rule him out. He still has a rabid following, and we’ve seen instances in the past where he should have been wiped out politically for his egregious excesses (the bus conversation with Bush the Least, mocking the disabled reporter, smearing gold-star families, and above all January 6th) only to see him crack the whip and Republicans went crawling back to him like abused junkyard dogs with no recourse but to obey the cruel master. They are a cowardly and revolting lot, and answer the question, “Could it happen here?” Yes, some people are that weak and dependent on the illusion of a strong leader. So yes, Trump may yet return.
In the meantime, if the GOP takes the House (and that is probably going to happen) then the first thing they will do is shut down any further Congressional investigations into Trump or the insurrection. They may even demand that the January 6th committee turn over all evidence gathered so they can destroy it. So my advice for the committee is Publish Everything. Do it in the last day of the existing Congress. Let the world see everything you’ve discovered. All of it. Spare nobody. Republicans, after all, won’t spare you.
Depending on how slim a majority the Republicans have, and how heated the battle for Speakership and committee chairs gets (and it may be a bloody affair) and above all, who wins those battles, the House may or may not launch endless revenge investigations and impeachment hearings against the Bidens and anyone else they don’t like. Expect to start hearing about Benghazi again, because Republicans will suddenly change their minds and decide that angry mobs attacking an American government facility resulting in the deaths of Americans is a bad thing again. And of course, they’ll block anything that might help the country because they don’t want Biden to look good.
But for now, we’ve managed to avoid waltzing off the edge of the cliff. MAGAts showed Americans who they were, and Americans told them to go to hell. They still don’t like fascists.
There is hope.