Now What?

A slight majority (or a near majority, depending on how you view it) of the American people decided last Tuesday, on the whole, that they did not want to be governed by people who lied and who tried to restrict their freedoms. It was, at best, a reluctant decision, but a great many Americans decided that the more liberal party was less of a threat than a party dominated by election-deniers and would-be autocrats.

Even as I write this, not all elections in the House or Senate have been decided, but assuming that the Republicans do end up controlling the House, it’s likely to be by a very slim majority, and I would not wish to be Kevin McCarthy, because, as I learned many long years ago as a Republican staffer in the House and later as a Republican appointee at the Environmental Protection Agency during the Reagan Administration, the people who can hurt you the worst aren’t the Democrats, but other Republicans.

With something like 150 election deniers among House Republicans, McCarthy will have a very hard time getting much of anything done except dead-end investigations, contentious hearings, and attempted impeachments, and those won’t suffice to keep the Trumpists and ultra-conservatives happy, not for long. That doesn’t even consider the additional divisiveness of another Trump campaign for the presidency.

Sooner or later, McCarthy may well have to threaten to shut down government to try to obtain what the far right wants, if indeed he becomes and remains Speaker. This likely won’t set well with most Americans, at least if Biden portrays the situation accurately to the people.

All in all, the next four years look bumpier than the previous four, unless the Republicans melt down into bitter feuding fiefdoms or some Republicans defect to the Democrats out of sheer self-defense, and none of that seems likely to me. But then, again, like many political pundits, I didn’t see the election turning out as it did, and given the political instability, nothing is certain at this point, except for ever more bitter rhetoric and recriminations from the far right… and, possibly, after the shock wears off, more unwanted stridency from the far left.

2 thoughts on “Now What?”

  1. Postagoras says:

    It certainly was a surprise to everyone that the fatigue with far-right beliefs in the last Presidential election, carried over to the midterms. I have to wonder at the thought process of the swing voter who can swing from voting for Trump and minions, to voting for Democrats. Wow.

    One quibble: McCarthy will have a very hard time getting much of anything done…

    “Not getting much done”, isn’t that the platform for the Party Of No?

  2. Grey says:

    Already centrist Republicans are talking about working with Democrats to elect a centrist speaker.[1] A few facts to also consider: the house rarely actually has all 435 congressional representatives due to retirements, deaths or members taking appointments in the administration. Keep that in mind when you consider that a majority of house members can force a vote on a bill that the Speaker has not allowed to the floor. The narrower the house GOP’s majority, the more fun this gets.

    House, mechanics aside, the chaos only benefits the GOP as it is an excuse to avoid doing anything. As LEM and others here have noted, the GOP currently has no policies, no plans, no nothing aside from saying “no” to anything the Democrats want to do.


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