Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Political Infidelities And Their Consequences

     Just now, quite a lot of Americans are experiencing “voter’s remorse:” the political analogue to the “buyer’s remorse” one feels upon discovering that he could have gotten better and / or cheaper at the place across town. The Republican caucuses in the Senate and House of Representatives are giving them ample reason, though for many the knowledge that the Republicans are the sole practical alternative to the Democrats will likely “keep them in the fold” in the 2018 elections.

     The Democrats, you see, have been reminding “their” voters how little reason there is to trust them with power:

     The loss in last week’s special congressional election in Georgia produced predictable hand-wringing and finger-pointing inside the Democratic Party. It also raised anew a question that has troubled the party through a period in which it has lost political ground. Simply put: Do Democrats have a message?

     Right now, the one discernible message is opposition to President Trump. That might be enough to get through next year’s midterm elections, though some savvy Democratic elected officials doubt it. What’s needed is a message that attracts voters beyond the blue-state base of the party.

     Ye gods! Candor from a Main Stream Media outlet about the failings of its favored ones! Surely the Apocalypse is at hand. But every now and then a little truth will leak through the barriers. Of course, whether it will penetrate the “fact-proof screen” (Eric Hoffer) around the minds of Democrat allegiants is quite a different story.

     On this subject, our favorite Bookworm deposeth and sayeth:

     For those looking to make a sale to Trump voters and undecided voters, though, a Democrat party emphasis on the economy is going to be a hard sell. It’s only the base that’s honest enough to admit that, from the top down, the only economic goal the modern Democrat party has is full frontal socialism:
     For progressives, the answer to this problem is clear: a boldly liberal message that attacks big corporations and Wall Street and calls for a significant increase in government’s role in reducing income and wealth inequality. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been aggressive in promoting exactly that, as he did during the 2016 campaign, with calls for a big investment in infrastructure and free college tuition at public colleges and universities. He has said he intends to introduce legislation he calls “Medicare for All.”

     The other article, which comes from The Hill, notes that some Dems, seemingly those not on the hard Left, are pushing their congresscritters to stop talking about Russia all of the time.

     Taking these two articles in conjunction, there is little doubt that, subject to a small (and easily ignored) subset of semi-sane Democrats, Progressives (aka the Democrat Party) see talking about Russia as far more edifying than the economy. One can’t help but be fascinated by what the Democrat Party power brokers mean to do if they “turn towards the economy.” How does one push socialist ideas while denying their socialism, even as the base is screaming “We love you, Karl Marx”?

     So both major parties are currently disappointing the electoral cohort they need to achieve their aims: the one whose members are desperate for substance plus commitment. You know, statements of intentions that those whose support they hope to win could trust? You’d think the strategists and kingmakers who steer those parties would have done the obvious by now....except that “obvious” really means “overlooked.”

     In this regard, the GOP is actually worse off than the Democrats. GOP campaigners do promise particular outcomes...and then fail to produce them. That leaves those who supported GOP legislative candidates with a foul taste in their mouths. With the Democrats, voters other than masochists, State worshippers, and Marxist ideologues tend to assume betrayal from the outset.

     Clearly, lying to those whose support you need is not a viable long-term strategy. You’d have to be brain dead to think otherwise. But there is this to ponder: political aspirants don’t think long-term. Their horizons are bounded by the upcoming election season, which will determine whether they get to keep the power and perquisites they’ve acquired.

     Here we can see a difference between the major-party candidates:

  • Democrats who gain legislative offices strive to cement themselves into power irremovably.
  • Republicans who gain legislative offices subsequently become fearful of “rocking the boat.”

     The Democrats of the Obama years embarked on a fevered campaign to socialize as much of the American economy as they could. They did so in the belief that their enhanced ability to hand out favors and freebies would keep them in hegemony. The Republicans surprised them by winning back control of the House of Representatives in 2010, and the Senate in 2014. However, they did so by promising a sharp rollback of those Democrat initiatives...a rollback they’re now terrified would cost them their hegemony.

     Which is why the Right side of the electorate, given an incredibly strong and varied field of Republican presidential candidates from which to choose, selected “outsider” Donald Trump...and why the American people installed him in the White House.

     At this point, only President Trump can justly be said to have kept his campaign promises. Granted that he seems to have backed away from a couple of them; granted that there’s some reason to be disappointed on those scores. However, Trump’s executive actions to reverse the tide of economy-smothering regulation, unshackle the domestic energy industries, liberate the construction of critical oil pipelines, and advance a plan to dam the tide of illegal (and threatening) immigration are genuine fulfillments, for which we who supported him – in my case, with trepidation – should be grateful.

     Among my reasons to be grateful is that Trump’s successes and fulfillments have put the “gray heads” of the major parties on notice. The strategists know that the people are watching. Those impressed with a president who actually keeps (some of) his promises are more likely to give other “mavericks” a better shot at the brass ring. While in politics nothing is certain, the prospects for renewal, in the GOP at least, are better than they’ve been since Warren Harding.

     President Trump could still foul his own nest. However, it looks as if he really did mean what he said while campaigning. Perhaps all the promises he made in 2015 and 2016 will be fulfilled eventually. He’s got at least three years left in which to see to it – and those shadowy ones who’ve made “Republican Party” a synonym for “terrified pensioners’ club” have a reason to fear for their coffee and cakes.

     We shall see.

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