WORDS: 1,756 — So, now what? Well, certainly it means at least a couple things besides the obvious of Dems losing and Republicans gaining. Strategies on both sides are about to change radically for the next two election cycles. As I suggested in a past post title, it’s all about Trump, yet it’s not. The parties will have to pick their weapons now for the next faceoff, realizing that this time the Dem’s weapons of choice were not as effective as they thought…. and the Republicans bringing new weapons onto the battlefield this time that could easily be used next time.
Over the last couple months I’ve done a couple past posts where I suggested that my perception was that the public wasn’t all as interested in the two life changing bills being currently argued through Congress. I presented that the public’s set of priorities seemed to be far more about…
…the pandemic in general (How much more of this do we have to live with?)
…living with the shadow of the ongoing pandemic (latest vaccines, vaccine boosters, etc.)
…our children and the pandemic (safe schools, mask mandates, when will there be a child-safe vaccine?, etc.)
…the economic results of the pandemic over the last 18+ months (growing inflation, empty shelves at the grocery store, distribution delays, etc.)
…the social impact of the pandemic (deaths of loved ones with this first Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays with empty chairs at the table, shifting job and career goals and lifestyle choices forced by the shutdowns, etc.)
The bills languishing in that eternal Manchin/Sinema “drain clog” idiocy, and even the ongoing investigation of the January 6th insurrection by the select committee, are not high in the public interest when compared to the above list. This election showed exactly that. Not only those elements above, but there’s not a lot Biden is doing that seems to truly matter to the immediate bread & butter issues. The public… “I care about climate change… but there’s some immediate needs for my family right now.” and “Trump was bad for the country and we do need to call out his responsibility for Jan. 6th… but there’s some immediate concerns for my family right now.”
Loyalty Has It’s Advantages… But Not With Dems
Look, even if those two bills manage to pass Congress… I would not expect any public hailing of the Biden administration. Much has been speculated that regarding the reason for the public polls not showing grand enthusiasm for the Biden bills is due to simply the administration not getting the message out as to how wonderful these bills will be for the nation and in people’s lives; a need for more public education of the bill benefits. It’s my perception that the polling has failed to take into consideration there’s a general disinterest because of personal priorities.. listed above. More like, “Yeah, that’s great… but I’m more concerned at the moment with family survival, not an ongoing political fight in Congress about bills not immediately important to me.” There’s also the other avenue in this… the petty disgruntled infighting in Congress among the Democrats is just yet another disparaging bit of media coverage adding to all the other ills feeding the nation day after day. Maybe some of this is also, “Just pass the damn bills already so we can get on with real issues.” Trump gets more out of his minions with threats and intimidation to insure loyalty than any loyalty the Democrats can muster.
I fully expected the withdraw from Afghanistan, for as sloppy as that turned out (and I personally think was an amazing feat as it was) would be quickly forgotten as any sort of follow up priority for all the reasons given above. The public… “I’m glad we are out of that conflict, but no Americans were really getting killed lately anyway. Maybe we could have held off all that for a while longer to address issues here at home.” Whether I or some other political/military wonks might have a deeper context to that interpretation of events, most of the public tends to see those things on the surface… and it can reflect negatively in popularity and/or the polls.
All Politics Is Local
In the areas included in yesterday’s election there was also the addition of local issues, specifically that of education, with the debates regarding masking mandates, but mostly that of various applications of critical race theory by school boards wishing to be more objective and equal in teaching about America’s past. Right or wrong, accurate or not, the fervor exists and it certainly didn’t help McAuliffe when he stated that parents shouldn’t have a say in their child’s education. Maybe that remark had a greater context to his entire point, it doesn’t matter and it’s another of those “surface” perceptions that are easier to believe. Again, the poor performance of the Democrats in general sure seemed obvious to me and I wasn’t shocked at the outcome. Now.. let me explain my concern that extends from this.
Yeah, maybe I got something right, but that’s the greatest part of what concerns me about the Dems and the Biden administration. My perception hitting some mark worries me from the standpoint that I am NOT (quite obviously) any sort of political strategist so I claim NO sage wisdom in what I say as being a candidate for being carved in granite for the ages. I have an average ego for simply sharing my meandering thoughts publicly on a blog. If you agree with anything I might slap up here then.. yippee, there’s two of us! I simply express opinion from the vantage point that I have. I also assume my opinions are not original.. that I am not unique, and many might have the same perceptions. So when I get something like this seemingly accurate it makes me pause and wonder about who is exactly advising the Biden administration on political strategy to get all this wrong. I assume these people who work daily in the environment of politics, with years of education and experience in these matters, know far more of what they talk about than me. Politics is political science. A sitting president should have the smartest of the smart advising him, and his/her party. Maybe the Prez is not listening to the advice?
My larger concern… Trump and his Trumpianism should never return to the White House. His vehement Right Wing supporters have jumped all over Trump’s crazy rhetoric and have embraced the wild extremes of populist white entitlement and exceptionalism who don’t want to see a vanishing white majority. The January 6th insurrection can and still might happen again at some level. I believe in the Constitution therefore all this Big Lie garbage is a threat to democracy. While all that is simply my opinion, it is nonetheless my ongoing push in my own meager way to contribute to the defeat of Trumpism. What about the Republicans’ “new” strategy.?
They’re So Excited, And Just Can’t Hide It…
It seems that the Republican base has a demonstrated passion and excitement toward what they see as a way to defeat the Democratic field. The Dems, on the other hand, are simply bogged down with progressive factions and lack the fire and will, on top of the dividing and bickering within the party. The poor showing with McAuliffe and his strategy of using Trump as a reason rather places doubt on a future strategy of pushing Trump-the-bad-man as the overriding theme to not vote GOP. Seems Governor-elect Youngkin managed a bit of a Trump two-step without ticking off the Old Orange Man in the process. In spite of McAuliffe trying to push the Trump identity onto Youngkin throughout the election, Youngkin himself managed to null the effect of Trump adhering to a number a smaller strategies. One was seldom, if at all, mentioning Trump’s name. He also focused some typically Trump Conservative issues like mask mandates, CRT in education, et al, and presenting it in an umbrella of parental control. This seemed to cater to the traditional Trumpian voter and at the same time bring onboard parents.. mothers… across a political spectrum. McAuliff’s flub-not-a-real-flub about parents should not be involved in their child’s education, just served to enhance angst of parents. The other strategy Youngkin used was keeping Trump himself at arm’s length… no direct campaign involvement. With his win he’s now perching on the ledge of political superstardom. What remains is how he might govern given he’s not “used” Trump directly yet he managed Trump’s endorsement. The unknown is if he will lean “Trump” confrontational or be a more moderate Conservative.
There’s two sides to that. On one end did he just use a “Trump” affiliation to get Trump supporter votes while all the time knowing he had no interest in the overall Trump message? That might suggest among Trump supporters some sort of untrustworthy political image of.. well, a politician, or in the vernacular of Trumpism, a “traitor” to the cause. On the other hand, if he spreads more Conservative GOP wings he might just set up the route.. or more like an exit ramp,.. to future Republican candidates who envision Trump a political liability but want to avoid his rage and the rage of his supporters. If this is the case, then Trump himself is on a slow fade away from relevance on the active political scene. Perhaps quicker if some of his legal problems get real, or the Jan. 6th committee concludes a Trump criminal involvement in the insurrection. I’m all the more convinced Trump himself will not run in 2024. As for 2022… ?
If future Republican candidates continue to focus on issues rather than echoing Trump bluster of the Big Lie and disgruntled victimization, things for 2022 could change in a big way. If the Democratic candidates can avoid the temptation of villainizing GOP candidates as extensions of Trumpism and stick to the issues as well.. well, a lot can happen in a year. Is Biden now being cast as a liability in the same way Trump is a liability to the GOP? I think Biden has to do much more than just wrangle those two bills to fruition. The Democratic party is a divisive mess, at least in Congress, and it would seem he’d want to fix that and get the base fired back up again, just as much as Republicans need to put some distance from Trump.
Time will tell. Right now I do not see the Dems gaining seats, and very likely losing some, in 2022. This could change for any number of possible reasons. But I sense Trump’s influence will begin to fade, which suits me just fine. Let’s not lose the vigilance in the meantime.