There Is Nothing Inevitable About The 2022 Midterms-- Or Is Democratic Lameness Baked Into The Cake?
In a largely meh American Prospect post about 2022 primaries 2022 primaries, Alex Sammon wrote an interesting intro-- but about a different topic. "Few Democrats," he asserted, "and even fewer Republicans, expect the 2022 election cycle to be kind to House Democrats. Nursing a minuscule margin after 2020’s face-plant, and up against the twin challenges of redistricting and the typical midterm backlash against a new president’s party, House Dems will need a near-miracle effort to hold onto the chamber. Early comments from new DCCC chair Sean Patrick Maloney on their strategy-- the Republican Party 'can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters. They cannot do both,' he wrongly decreed--does not portend divine inspiration."
I disagree about the inevitability of a Democratic donnybrook. It will only happen if they force it on themselves by accomplishing nothing and by sticking with a lesser of two evils candidate recruitment approach. If they do-- and they well could-- conventional wisdom will turn out right, even if the causes never get mentioned in the coverage. Phrases like "typical midterm backlash against a new president’s party" are almost entirely meaningless but will be blamed for the Democrats' inability to:
pass a $15 minimum wage law
send out $2,000 pandemic rescue checks
safely reopen the schools (and businesses)
lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60 like Biden promised
stand up strongly in the face of conservative obstructionism-- and beat it back
These are popular positions and voters gave the Democrats the White House and majorities in the House and Senate so they could accomplish implementing them (not because they want to support slightly less corrupt politicians' career ambitions); if they can't deliver, there will be a colossal voter drop-off and the Democrats will-- and deserve to-- lose their majorities.
In her Times column yesterday, Maureen Dowd noted that "Lindsey Graham, who says that Trump is a 'handful,’' a word usually leveled at spirited women, is going to Mar-a-Lago this weekend to golf with his sovereign lord and try to explain the importance of the 2022 midterms to Trump’s legacy. But Trump doesn’t give a damn, except how he can use the midterms for revenge or self-promotion. Like Petruchio with Kate [a Taming of the Shrew reference], Kevin McCarthy lavishly flatters Trump-- opposing impeachment and making a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago-- in a vain attempt to domesticate the feral ex-president. Mitch McConnell, who loathes Trump, thought he was being Solomon-like, rejecting impeachment on a silly technicality, then declaiming on the Senate floor that Trump’s lies led to the Capitol riot. But to his surprise and dismay, McConnell-- who sees himself as the great protector of the Senate-- garnered jeers for his hypocrisy, not praise for his courage. After Merrick Garland, everyone knew McConnell could do what he wanted on the Senate floor; he was not bound by mundane procedural matters. By coddling Trump on his election fakery, the Republicans gave it so much oxygen, it led to tragedy."
Trump, the supreme ingrate, wasn’t grateful for McConnell’s nay vote. He promptly composed a masterpiece of spleen, a statement threatening to primary Mitch’s candidates and calling him “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack” who lacks political wisdom, skill and personality. Trump wanted to pile on the bile with a snippy line about McConnell having too many chins and not enough smarts, but shelved it.
McConnell should be an object of scorn. Trump could not have done anything without him. Each used the other for his own purposes. Trump’s achievements for conservatives, refashioning the Supreme Court and getting a tax cut, were really McConnell’s.
Former Guy, as President Biden called Trump, then turned his choler on Nikki Haley, who revved up for 2024 by telling Politico that Republicans should take the good Trump built and jettison the bad. Nikki, Nikki, Nikki. You thought you’d get a Mar-a-Lago audience after that?
Ted Cruz’s truckling may be the most jarring, given Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s wife and father in the 2016 campaign. But I’ve always said the story of Washington should be titled “Smart People Doing Dumb Things.” Cruz wouldn’t even study with people from what he called “minor Ivies” while at Harvard Law School but didn’t think twice before leaving Texans starving, freezing and dying to go catch some rays in Cancun and then blaming his daughters.
We’ll see if Trump can sustain this king-in-exile routine without the infrastructure he once had. Consider his asinine election challenge with all those crazy lawyers. Ever the shrew, all he has left now is his forked tongue.
A forked tongue that will soon be wagging a million miles an hour in front of a salivating audience of sycophants at this year's CPAC, which searched far and wide for a city that doesn't enforce social distancing protocols and is now scheduled to sponsor its super-spreader event for Orlando. Trumpist cancel culture looks like it will have canceled Ohio Republican Anthony Gonzalez by then. I wonder how many others. I suspect a whole lot of Republican elected officials-- other than the GangGreene crew-- will be avoiding CPAC this year. Imagine how many body guards McConnell would need to venture into that vipers' nest! Not to mention Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger.