I couldn’t read or view any political news for the last week.
Too nerve racking. Too stomach churning. Too depressing.
I went to sleep Tuesday night before results for New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada were known. I awoke shortly after 3 am unable to resist the temptation to know the extent of the damage.
I was relieved then, and subsequently, by the realization the expected Republican red tsunami was more like a violent thunderstorm—damaging, even scary, but not catastrophic to our democracy or our liberal democratic foundation.
The sooner we are reconciled to Republican control of the House, even by the slightest of margins, the better we will be able to cope.
We know the GOP is coming after Joe Biden via the dark Hunter Biden tunnel.
We also know Republicans will use hearing and subpoena power to try to discredit Democratic programs and officials.
Even if Republicans gain a slim majority in the Senate they will not be able to pass regressive legislation that would withstand a presidential veto. They will try to blackmail Biden into concessions on social welfare benefits in Social Security and Medicare in exchange for increased debt ceiling authorizations. But he won’t give in.
If the government is forced into a shutdown, or if the world economy tanks because Republicans won’t increase the debt ceiling, Republicans will be blamed, just as they were for previous shut downs.
In effect, we will have to endure two years of a do-nothing, rancorous Legislature. Biden will govern by executive orders, sure to be challenged in court.
In 2024, we will be faced with the following election alternatives:
If Donald Trump runs and gets the Republican nomination, Biden will seek a second term based on a platform of Democratic programs passed during his first two years in office vs. Republican stagnation and an atmosphere of mendacity, meanness and miasma. He will ask voters to re-elect him with Democratic House and Senate majorities to implement positive progress.
If Trump’s days as GOP leader are over, a contest between the likes of Larry Hogan, former governor or Maryland, representing Old Guard Republicans, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis, representing a more confrontational and polished Trump, will end with DeSantis being chosen by party members more bloodthirsty and opposed to political compromise than Hogan’s supporters.
Biden will be persuaded that his then 80-year-old image next to a 46-year-old DeSantis will not be a winning graphic. The torch of leadership will pass to younger Democrats, specifically to either then 57-year-old Gavin Newsom, governor of California, or 55-year-old New Jersey senator Cory Booker.