by Jeffery Rendall
Heading into Memorial Day weekend perhaps it’s fitting to step back and reassess the political situation in American politics today.
The weather is warm, the economy is good and gas prices are still low enough for Americans to feel confident hitting the road for the three-day holiday with the reassurance they can spend a few bucks and not blow a gaping hole in their family budgets. The Trump tax cuts are taking effect and many families will likely be sharing their windfall with retailers, recreational providers and the hospitality industry very soon.
In other words, life is good. Not everything’s about what’s happening in Washington these days.
President Donald Trump’s approval ratings remain mired in the low 40’s – but that’s not bad considering it’s higher than for most of the three years he’s been in politics. As of earlier this week the generic congressional ballot showed Democrats with a solid (though shrinking) lead of D+4 and political experts seemingly revise their forecasts for the fall elections every day (note: The Dems’ lead completely vanished in the Reuters poll.)
Conservatives are heartened by the mostly rightward direction of the Trump administration and Republicans are optimistic they’ll at least survive this November. What about the left? Well, it turns out they’re happy too. Liberal Juan Williams wrote the other day at The Hill, “Populist Democrats are no longer afraid to call themselves liberals. According to a March Pew Research Center poll, 46 percent of Democrats now identify themselves as ‘liberal.’ In 1998, that number was just 28 percent.
“The surge in Democrats’ passion for liberalism comes as 56 percent of women now say they are Democrats or lean Democrat. That is the highest percentage since 1992. Also according to Pew, a whopping 70 percent of women millennials (women between 22 and 37 years old) now identify as Democrats…
“Trump has revamped the GOP. It was once the party of free trade, low deficits and support for immigration. Now it is clear Trump has also changed the Democrats. He has made them so mad they’re finally speaking up.”
That Juan, he’s always good for a laugh, ain’t he? Williams has the gall to claim Democrats are finallyspeaking up? What, did he think they were silent all this time and abstained from criticizing Republicans and conservatives just to promote civility? And they refrained from calling themselves liberals out of fear? Donald Trump changed all that?
Democrat former senate leader Harry Reid’s been in the news recently (due to health issues — Reid had surgery a couple weeks ago to treat pancreatic cancer), but he made headlines for years ripping into George W. Bush, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell and just about any conservative or Republican he could sink his liberal fangs into. Reid didn’t need Trump to come along to launch his heinous attacks against those who opposed him. The man’s nasty. Most people who know Reid would just as soon embrace a spiny cactus as hug the curmudgeon from the Silver State.
Similarly, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton have never been reserved in their rhetorical musings about their political opposition over the years (neither was Barack Obama and his cronies), attacking Republicans in very personal ways and all-but plainly stating that the GOP stands for racism, sexism, homophobia and every other -ism and -phobia imaginable.
As far as more Americans now identifying as liberals – Democrats’ demonizing of Trump and Republicans has certainly altered the political discourse in America. It’s no longer considered taboo to launch unfair and offensive assaults against the president – and his family too. Simply put, the rules of decorum are different where the Trumps are concerned. The hate was pretty bad under George W. Bush as well — but it’s gotten significantly worse with former reality TV star Trump in the White House.
Liberals think they can literally say anything and get away with it.
It appears people no longer appreciate what it means to be “liberal” or “conservative” or “moderate” anymore. “Liberal” in today’s politics (as Williams truthfully points out) means favoring socialistic government takeover of the health and education sectors. Single-payer healthcare is in our future if/when Democrats regain control of Congress and the presidency – and we all understand that liberals want to provide “free” college tuition for all (though in fairness Republicans aren’t exactly fiscal tightwads either).
Someone else will pay for it – the “rich”, right?
At the same time, does anyone grasp what it means to be “conservative?” Many Republicans won’t even adopt the label thinking it would lump them in with the “wacko birds” (Sen. John McCain’s term for conservatives) and tea party-types. The limited government movement’s been so stigmatized by Democrats and the media that merely peacefully assembling to protest higher taxes and government spending is depicted as racist and sexist by America’s establishment news organizations.
It’s true — liberals could possibly be growing in number, but they’ve never been silent.
Needless to say, if Democrats retake the House this November, they’ll be saying – and doing – plenty come next January. Laura Barrón-López wrote in the Washington Examiner, “Democrats right now are in a strong position to retake the House in November, and if they succeed, the most effective tool they’ll have to provide a check on Trump is oversight. … In a world where the House is under their control but the Senate and White House are not, there are limits to what the left side of the aisle can accomplish…
“In conversations with more than 30 House Democrats representing districts across the country, many listed infrastructure, gun control and healthcare at the top of their legislative wish lists, but there was little consensus on the execution. Do they push a gas tax to pay for a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that includes rural broadband? Do they reinstate the individual mandate or ditch it and go for Medicare-for-all?
“They do agree on one thing: As the majority party they want to be a check on Trump and exert their status as an equal branch. Passing legislation out of the House will only go so far with a Republican Senate and White House. But on day one of their new majority, Democrats would have unilateral authority to subpoena Trump’s entire administration. And they intend to use it.”
Barrón-López deserves a lot of credit – her article is thorough and fairly detailed as to what would/could happen if a blue wave actually does materialize, the Democrats surge to the House majority and Nancy Pelosi gets her pampered 78 year-old hands on the speaker’s gavel once again.
In a nutshell, just about every Trump administration official should expect a flood of subpoenas, endless document requests and the various House committees would embark on one massive treasure hunt searching for the president’s tax returns. No stone would be left unturned by a gaggle of ideologically driven witch hunters pursuing political mud to sling at Trump (and Republicans in general, though there’s little mystery where the true focus would lie).
Oddly enough it doesn’t look like impeachment would be on the front burner for the Democrats – party leaders are apparently downplaying the possibility and the few members who still actively push it are somewhat hush-hush as to their plans should they get back in power.
One thing is splendidly clear: anyone who values limited government, a strong market based economy and accountability should work like crazy to ensure Democrats never get the opportunity to pile this rubbish on the American people. Legislatively speaking the Pelosi-led Democrats couldn’t do much damage; senate Republicans wouldn’t likely go along with the more extreme Democrat demands (gun bans, single-payer healthcare, a $15 minimum wage, repeal of the tax cuts…?), but the current minority party could make life very arduous for those working diligently to drain the swamp.
Putting the Democrats back in power would be akin to unleashing a hundred wildlife preserves’ worth of creatures back into the bog. Rep. Maxine Waters would be the new head of the Financial Services Committee, for example. Is this something any American would benefit from?
Democrat leaders pledge to “work with” President Trump in areas where they can find common ground, which might include amnesty for the “Dreamers” – and who knows, maybe even new gun restrictions. Trump’s lack of ideological grounding could become dangerous with Democrats sending him bills to sign. I don’t see Trump changing overnight, but if Republican congressional leaders won’t budge on something he wants passed it’s conceivable he’d deal with the Democrats to fulfill a campaign promise.
Of course, thus far Trump has been remarkably consistent in keeping his word on policy. There have been exaggerations of facts and Twitter outbursts from time to time, but deep-down people realize they’re getting everything they bargained for with the (relatively) new president. Trump isn’t a polished politician and sometimes his odd speech patterns, personal mannerisms and gestures distract from what he’s really doing.
No worries; the people knew it all along. Victor Davis Hanson wrote at National Review, “For good or evil, the trash-talking and candid Trump challenged progressives. They took up the offer in spades and melted down — and America is getting a good look at where each side really sits.
“In the end, only the people will vote on Trumpism. His supporters knew full well after July 2016 that his possible victory would come with a price — one they deemed more than worth paying given the past and present alternatives. Most also no longer trust polls or the media.
“To calibrate the national mood, they simply ask Trump voters whether they regret their 2016 votes (few do) and whether any Never Trump voters might reconsider (some are), and then they’re usually reassured that what is happening is what they thought would happen: a 3 percent GDP economy, low unemployment, record energy production, pushbacks on illegal immigration, no Iran deal, no to North Korean missiles pointed at the U.S., renewed friendship with Israel and the Gulf states, a deterrent foreign policy, stellar judicial appointments — along with Robert Mueller, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and lots more, no doubt, to come.”
You could advance a good argument that voters will realize ahead of time what they’ll get with Democrats back in power again. They’ll see a mainstream media praising everything coming out of the House and condemning whatever emerges from the senate or White House. They’ll witness a non-stop sequence of Trump officials paraded before their ideological inquisitors and relentlessly brow-beat over micro-details that aren’t illegal or unethical and no one cares about.
And maybe if Democrats are dumb enough they’ll welcome another impeachment trial. With the Robert Mueller investigation unraveling literally before our eyes, it’s not clear what “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Democrats would come up with. For all we know Pelosi & crew will charge Trump with having too much hair and an orange tinge.
Despite the lack of authentic scandals – or smoking guns — Democrats plan to make “corruption” the focal point of their campaigns this fall. Caitlin Huey-Burns reported at Real Clear Politics, “Democrats are returning to an anti-corruption message that helped win back the House of Representatives in 2006 against the backdrop of scandals involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff and lawmakers Tom DeLay and Mark Foley…
“’President Trump, when it comes to draining the swamp, has been a complete and total disappointment,’ Sen. Chuck Schumer said Monday on the steps of the Capitol, where he discussed the new message. The minority leader called for ‘closing the Cohen loophole’ to prevent a president’s associates from selling access, and he referred to the current administration as ‘the swamp Cabinet.’”
In light of recent revelations of uber-corruption in the Obama Justice department and intelligence agencies, Democrats have a lot of nerve to depend on this line of persuasion.
But that’s what Democrats are renowned for: saying anything to coax the overly emotional to vote them back in office. Juan Williams could be right – Trump is motivating liberals like never before; when push comes to shove, however, are American voters really going to buy what they’re selling?