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What's Worse-- A Party That Opposes The Minimum Wage Or One That Doesn't Have The Will To Raise It?

How horrible are conservatives? This isn't about political parties-- just a barbaric and poisonous ideology. Notice the picture above; although the artist mentioned McConnell, he chose to depict two Democrats, both extremely conservative. When I typed into the google search bar "What is a conservative," the first thing that popped up was "averse to change or innovation and holding traditional values." Not a bad definition. Aversion to change and innovation is a must include. But so is where conservatives come down in the struggle between societal interests and individual interests.

There have always been conservatives, of course, but the first time the term was used to describe a collection of political positions was in 1818 when a French aristocrat, François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand-- who had fought against the French Revolution in an army of royalist émigrés led by Louis Joseph de Bourbon-- championed the Bourbon restoration.

In many ways it would seem that right now American conservatives would be in complete disgrace in the eyes of normal people. They championed and still defend an anti-democracy coup, they have turned towards authoritarianism and fascism, they have nothing to offer but ugly partisan opposition to everything and-- almost entirely for partisan reasons-- they have espoused positions that have prolonged the worst pandemic in any of our lifetimes. Only 62% of Americans-- and far fewer conservatives-- are fully vaccinated and Wednesday there were 475,831 new cases reported (plus over 2,000 deaths); Thursday saw 572,028 new cases. And yesterday-- with no reporting from Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and over a dozen other states-- the U.S. reported 443,677 new cases. Florida alone had 75,962 new cases. Oh, and let's not forget that the Republicans have accepted Donald Trump as their esteemed cult leader.

Instead of disgrace, the GOP is preparing to take over the House and maybe the Senate. Now, don't get me wrong; people don't like them. It's mostly that they don't like the Democrats-- who have basically failed to deliver on any of their campaign promises-- at least as much. According to the latest YouGov poll for The Economist, among registered voters, Trump's approval is 40%, while 55% of Americans see him unfavorably-- 47% very unfavorably. And the two parties? Again, among registered voters:

  • Democrats- 38% favorable, 54% unfavorable

  • Republicans- 31% favorable, 62% unfavorable

And that's the party the media and all the insiders say is going to win the midterms?

GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell has an 18% job approval rating and a 65% disapproval, while Kevin McCarty would rate as badly if people knew anything about him. 25% of registered voters either haven't heard of him or don't have enough information to make a judgement. Among the registered voters who rate him, 24% gave him a thumbs up and 51% a thumbs down. And when asked who they would vote for if congressional elections were held today...

  • Democrat- 43%

  • Republican- 36%

  • Other, abstain or unsure- 21%

And yet... yesterday AP ran a perfectly ordinary story that any news source could have run, about the big year the GOP is expecting at the polls in 2022. "This time last year," wrote Steve Peoples and Will Weissert, "the Republican Party was hitting bottom. Having already lost the presidency and House, the GOP would soon squander its Senate majority and watch with horror as thousands of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent attack last Jan. 6 that will be forever linked to the Republican president’s legacy. What a difference 12 months make."

Entering a pivotal election year, a resurgent GOP is poised to reclaim one, if not both, chambers of Congress and retain its lock on dozens of state legislatures and governor's offices. While victory is far from assured, the GOP’s confidence is fueled by President Biden's underwhelming poll numbers, a Democratic economic and social agenda that’s faltering, intensifying concerns about inflation, and deepening frustration with the pandemic, which is unleashing yet another wave of infections upon an exhausted nation.
But at its most basic level, the Republican Party’s optimism is born of the same political headwinds that have shaped U.S. politics for decades. The party that controls the White House-- Democrats, in this case-- has a tremendous disadvantage in the first election of a new presidency. Adding to that challenge, Democrats are struggling to prevent a far-reaching Republican campaign to make voting more difficult for core Democratic constituents while installing a slate of election officials allied with Trump.
GOP leaders are brimming with confidence.
“We’re going to have a hell of a year,” said Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who leads the national GOP’s Senate campaign arm. “Every state that Biden won by less than 10 is now a battleground state.”
Lest there be any doubt, Republicans dominated the off-year elections this fall across Virginia, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, where Democrats in races from governor to county recorder of deeds were defeated-- or barely held on-- in regions that Biden had comfortably carried by more than 10 percentage points a year earlier [less a red wave than <>a blue evaporation<>]. Perhaps most disturbing for Democrats, suburban voters and independents who fled Trump’s Republican Party in recent years shifted back-- without him on the ballot.
Democratic strategists privately concede that the party will be lucky to hold either congressional chamber in November, although the House may be in the most immediate peril.
They point to the surge of recent Democratic congressional retirements, dozens of Republican-controlled state legislatures that are actively reshaping House districts in the GOP’s favor, a struggle to enact all of Biden’s campaign promises, and a disengaged political base-- especially African Americans. Their priorities on policing and voting rights have gone unfulfilled in Democratic-controlled Washington, even after last year’s supposed national awakening on race.
Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison [an expert in one thing: losing elections] said too many Americans believe the country is moving in the wrong direction. But he attributes the pessimism to lingering anxiety from a pandemic that will soon enter its third year. With new COVID-19 medication coming onto the market and expanded vaccine access for children, he predicted the country would return to a sense of normalcy by the end of March.
“We know that the economy is roaring is some aspects. But it’s about how you feel at this moment,” Harrison said, noting that many people are still grappling with fear and anxiety. “I believe in the midst of the first quarter, end of the first quarter, that feeling will start to shift.”
While Republicans believe the dynamics work in their favor, they face their own formidable challenges. Democrats believe that GOP efforts to curb access to the ballot, combined with a Supreme Court decision expected next summer that could dramatically erode or dismantle abortion rights, could suddenly galvanize Democrats’ most loyal supporters.
But for the GOP, perhaps no challenge is bigger than Trump himself.
The former president has waged an unprecedented war against fellow Republicans whom he deems insufficiently loyal, encouraging primary challenges against sitting members of Congress and governors in more than a dozen states. At the same time, some Republican operatives fear that Trump’s continued lies about election fraud could depress turnout among the millions of loyalists who believe his baseless conspiracy theories.
“We just have to limit the damage that he’s causing,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who sits on the executive board of the Republican Governors Association.
“If we have big battles in primaries, either we’re going to nominate people who are unelectable in purple states or swing districts, or we’re going to beat up our incumbents so bad that they lose the general election,” added Hogan. He isn’t seeking reelection because of term limits but plans to travel the country promoting Republican officeholders in Trump’s crosshairs.
That includes Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The most vulnerable may be officeholders such as Herrera Beutler, who was among 10 House Republicans voting to impeach Trump for inspiring the January attack on the Capitol.
Two of the 10 have already announced they’re not seeking reelection.
Republican officials tasked with leading the GOP’s 2022 election efforts are disturbed by Trump’s sustained attacks on fellow party members, although few are willing to speak out publicly against him. Instead, Republican candidates in Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and elsewhere are battling each other in increasingly nasty primary contests for Trump’s favor.
With the primary election season running from March through September, GOP infighting is likely to dominate the narrative for months even as Trump’s role in national politics probably still continues to grow.
...Prominent Black leaders have become increasingly concerned with the Democratic-controlled Congress’ inability to enact federal legislation to supersede restrictive state laws. Senate Republicans have effectively blocked such efforts, while Democrats have resisted calls to bypass Senate rules that require at least 60 votes to advance legislation.
Many Black voters, a group that represents Democrats’ most reliable supporters, are equally frustrated by the party’s inability to enact policing reform in response to the national outcry that followed George Floyd’s murder more than a year ago.
“Yes, we have to do more, and we want it to be faster,” said Stacey Abrams, a Democrat making her second bid for Georgia governor. She said Democrats must have “deep conversations” with the Black community-- “not preaching, but having conversations about what’s being done and what it’s going to take to get more done.”
“I understand why people are despondent right now. This has been a terrible two years,” Abrams said of the broader political landscape. “It’s been hard for so many. And the promise of hope can be sometimes disappointing. But this is going to take a while. It took four years to get us where we are. It’s going to take a little longer than a year to get us out of it.”

Now is the time for the most crucial part of the equation for Democrats-- nominating the right candidates. The DSCC and DCCC is once again pushing an entire slate of Joe Manchins and Kyrsten Sinemas for the Senate and Kurt Schraders, Abigail Spanbergers, Jim Costas and Josh Gottheimers in the House. If those are the candidates, millions of Democrats and independents will just not vote, enough to hand the House and Senate over to the GOP. There are House candidates and Senate candidates who can win. As always, though, the DSCC and DCCC would rather see Republicans win than progressives.

By, the way, writing for the conservative anti-Trump website, Bulwark Thursday, Jonathan Last predicted that the GOP will pick up over 50 seats in Congress this year. He also wrote that if you told him that "the Republicans would capture the House and then Kevin McCarthy would lose the speakership race to Jim Jordan or MTG or some other loon, it would almost be worth it. Sure-- it would be terrible for the country. But at least we’d have McCarthy’s failure and humiliation to keep us warm. But while McCarthy is certainly vulnerable, I ultimately think his weakness is what wins him the gavel. Kevin McCarthy has no power within the caucus. But that may ultimately work in his favor, because everyone legitimately believes that they own him. Why bother overthrowing someone you can control? Especially if that means installing as speaker someone with their own independent power base, who might lord their power over you at some point in the future? Better to just let Kevin have his moment and then ease him into retirement in January 2025 in favor of Trump’s hand-picked successor after Trump is sworn in again... Happy New Year."


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