Donald Trump’s unprecedented – and unforgivable – efforts to subvert the will of the American people and somehow cling to power continue. With every case laughed out of court, and every state or local official who draws the line at an outright coup d’etat by noncertification, however, his odds of success move closer to zero with each passing day.
Let’s keep on hoping and believing that at noon on January 20th, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States.
Looking at all the chaos and destruction Trump is leaving in his wake, however, we can be sure this won’t be the end of our long, national nightmare, but – as the saying goes - only the end of the beginning.
And then the real work will begin.
Right out of the gate, newly inaugurated President Biden will need to deal with both the coronavirus pandemic and the economic pandemonium it has created.
He’ll need to re-establish America’s position in the world.
He somehow needs gain a modicum of trust – however grudging – of at least a few people who’ve stayed on the side of the fence until now…but haven’t completely lost their minds and sold their souls to Trumpism.
Beyond that, serious work will need to be done on climate change, judicial and policing reform, voting rights, taxation and wealth inequality, health care, social security, our tattered safety net, Russia, China, Iran, the Middle East, Brexit, growing right-wing domestic terrorism and the corrosive effect of what President Obama recently called, “truth decay” – to name a few.
And each and every one of these things is critical.
Fortunately, Joe Biden seems to have a good understanding of most – perhaps even all - of them, and a host of solid policies ready to go.
The bad news, however, is that pretty much nothing will happen if Moscow Mitch McConnell remains as majority leader of the Senate and picks up again on the obstructionism on steroids policy he pursued during the Obama years.
A growing number of Americans are coming to realize that there are two issues upon which the survival of the United States as a functioning democracy will depend.
The first is if Trumpism, and the information warfare machinery behind it, can start to be unravelled and the people caught up in it return to reality.
The second is if McConnell’s toxic grip on the Senate can be undone.
The defeat of Trumpism – and its underlying causes – is a complex and multi-faceted matter about which I will probably have a lot to say in the coming months. In regard to the defanging of Moscow Mitch’s grip on the Senate, let me throw out four potential courses of action team Biden might pursue:
1. Conquest – Win both senatorial seats up for grabs in Georgia on January 5th, end the filibuster, and tell McConnell and his minions to kiss Stacey Abrams’ lovely you-know-what. This would be an ending to the election season right out of a Disney movie…and literally nothing in the world that could happen would be better.
But I’m not holding my breath. So…
2. Co-option – What should be done in the all-too-likely event that the Republicans hold on to at least one of the two seats?
Right now, it looks like an almost impossible thing to suggest, but is there any way that two (or more) Republican senators could be lured away from the evil grasp of McConnell & Company? Are there not two of them – just two – who have finally reached the point where they cannot stand it any longer, and are at last willing to put the interest of the country over that of their party and their personal political futures? Two people for whom Trump’s overt effort at a shameless coup d’etat and bid to permanently maintain complete control over the Republican Party and everyone in it is – at last – the straw that broke the camel’s back?
pipe dream scenario I propose, these two senators would not have to leave the
Republican Party and become Democrats.
That would clearly be too much.
Rather, I would suggest that they leave the current McConnell/Trump
Senatorial Caucus and set up a new one of their own. They could call it the
Independent Republican Caucus, the Real Republican Caucus, or something like
that. I’m sure the Lincoln Project would
help them find an ideal moniker and define its basic identity and goals.
Without question, it would take a LOT to persuade these two senators (more would be fine, of course,) so how about this? VERY quietly and discreetly someone from our side could approach Mitt Romney and make it clear to him that if he can convince at least one other GOPer to join him in this Quixotic endeavour, the Democrats would support HIM to be leader of Senate. Crazy, but it would open up the possibility of a genuine government of national unity, just at a time when it is most needed.
And, if they are gamblers, it would be a bet that once Trump has to publicly face all the civil and criminal court proceedings on the horizon, his brand will collapse and those who jumped ship first might be in the best position to lead a reformed party.
What should the Democrats demands be in the unlikely event comes to pass? Only this – No obstructionism. Bills brought up from the House and judicial and other appointments be given a fair hearing and vote. In short - a good faith effort to work with the administration to find solutions to the issues facing the country and the world – compromises okay.
3. Cooperation – Joe Biden seems to think that he will be able to get McConnell to negotiate with him in something approaching good faith on at least some issues. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it, but if you think you can pull it off Mr. President Elect, hey, go for it. If anyone can do it, it’s probably you.
– But if Moscow Mitch stays true to form and rejects Biden’s overtures - as I
for one expect he will, then Joe will need to liberate his inner LBJ – find
ways to make McConnell suffer, badly, every time he obstructs.
Has Kentucky had some bad storm damage or flooding, Mitch? I think Trump might have left some paper towels from Puerto Rico around here someplace.
some highway or hospital funds? The line
starts back there…hope you brought along a good book to read and some snacks.
Oh, and maybe the investments and political influence of your wife, Elaine Chao’s, father could stand a deeper look by the independent justice department and the IRS. And how was it again you got the nickname “Moscow Mitch,” Mr. McConnell?
You get the idea.
In other words, if it comes down to it…no more Mr. Nice Joe. No more political bean bag. For once the Democrats will have to learn how to bring a bazooka to a knife fight.