20 December 2017

Worst-case scenario

Well, they did it.  No longer can we say "the Republicans can't get anything done".  The bumbling and duplicity of the process that passed tax "reform" has been amply described on many sites, and I'm not going to rehash it.  The point is, they finally got a serious piece of legislation class warfare passed.

Why did they do it?  Why did they go all out for an unpopular bill that hands the Democrats multiple talking points to use against them next year?  For one thing, as we've all heard, some of their rich donors were threatening to cut them off if this didn't pass; for another, they may have thought it would unite their fragmented base (which is frustrated by the lack of progress on the wall, ACA repeal, etc.), even if the rest of the country doesn't like it.  It could even be merely that the ideological imperative here was much stronger than with other issues -- if there's one obsession that holds all Republicans in thrall, tax cuts for the rich is probably it.

I've also seen a more Machiavellian idea suggested:  Republicans can see the writing on the wall -- demographics, Trump's unpopularity, generic-ballot polls -- and they know they're doomed to massive losses in 2018 and 2020 no matter what they do.  So they're focused on pleasing the giant corporations and the ultra-wealthy to whom they might go for jobs as lobbyists or whatever after the voters have turfed them out, rather than pleasing their constituents.

My worst-case scenario is something a little different and more sinister -- that if they know their power will be mostly gone after a few more years, they're trying to "lock in" as much of their ideology as possible in forms that will persist even when Democrats dominate again.  Cram the courts with wingnut judges, deregulate everything, cut taxes for the wealthy, cut Medicare and Social Security.  If it leaves a huge mess in the form of recession, poverty, and an exploding national debt, why should they care?  They're not the ones who will have to clean it up.  That's their vision of America -- an obscenely wealthy kleptocracy lording it over the vast majority struggling to barely get by in a Dickensian, polluted wasteland while a Roy-Moore-ized judiciary enforces the religious taboos and racial stratification that keep their hate-crazed Deliverance-mutant base happy that they still, at least, have a few groups they can look down on.  If this is their last chance to achieve that vision, they're going to go all out.

If that's the case, then 2018 will be more dangerous than we've been expecting.  We've stopped things like ACA repeal by mass public pressure -- but if Congressional Republicans are becoming convinced they're doomed no matter what they do, and thus might as well go out in a blaze of sheer Republican-ness, then pressure based on a threat of voting against them in November may not work.

Nevertheless, that remains our best mass-action tactic.  Even Republicans are a diverse bunch and don't all think alike -- just look how factionalized they are.  Even if some or most are thinking as I described, not all are.  And not all are equally ideologically committed to each part of the agenda.  Once Jones is seated, only two defections will be needed to block legislation in the Senate.  Two should be doable, for some things.  (Collins, for one, is likely to be less loyal once it sinks in that the promises the leadership made to win her vote on tax "reform" will not be kept).

The outcome of their attack on Social Security and Medicare will tell the tale.  That will arouse more fury and opposition than anything they've tried yet.  If the resistance can stop them, we'll know that the normal rules of politics still operate and at least some Republicans are reachable by the threat of lost votes.  If not, then the worst-case scenario is in effect, and we'll have to wait for a future Democratic government to restore what the Republicans destroyed as best it can, probably constrained by economic slowdown and national decline.

And, of course, in that scenario a lot of people will lose their jobs, health insurance, or lives in the meantime.

Remember too that, as with ACA repeal, every single Democrat in Congress stood against this week's abomination.  Every single one, even those often considered "conservative".  Any Democrat is more worthy of your vote than any Republican (or any third candidate whose presence in the race helps the Republican win).

Always remember -- if we fight back, we might lose.  If we don't fight back, we will definitely lose.

[Image at top found via Hackwhackers]


Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

I'm hopeful that the damage to social programs will be minimal. Dubya tried to do the privatizing of SS and that was met with fire and fury. We do at least have Loose Lips on our side. “I shouldn’t say this,” Trump said, “but we essentially repealed Obamacare.” Anyone who's insurance goes up, which is everyone, is going to now hold Republicans responsible. My rep was one of the lucky dozen who was allowed to vote against the tax scam/scheme/heist. The hilarity is that she has wingers on her FB page calling her a RINO and worse for voting against it. Hard to thread the needle nowadays. Hopefully, we can get the house back in a year and start undoing some damage. The nightmare scenario is that everything is timed to blow up around 2020.

21 December, 2017 10:10  
Blogger Dave Miller said...

Kevin, Infidel and whoever else...

They're coming for entitlements and they're gonna use the budget the GOP has historically exploded as justification.

I'm not thinking Trump will tell them no just to keep his promise to not cut Medicare or Social Security.

BTW... since Trump, in a single moment of honesty did talk about ending Obamacare, where is the fix, that will "cover more people and be cheaper" we were promised?

Anyone... anyone at all...

21 December, 2017 12:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Kevin: For whatever it's worth, McConnell says they're not going to try it in 2018.

Dave: May well be so, despite McConnell -- so we need to be ready to fight back.

21 December, 2017 12:54  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

That's exactly what they will try to do ... they are going to blast through everything they can in as short time as they can. I pointed this out myself, time and again throughout postings on my blog over the last several years, how fast these GOPers are going to move once they gain a majority control, Hell, I been reading and listening to their platform and everything else for several years ... they made it clear as day, to anyone paying atencion, how fast they were gonna move. The GOP dont f*ck around ... I would love to see progressives move like they do! And in order to challenge these folks, if you are "left" at all, you will have to be as gung- ho and bold as they are, or lose your ass ... you cant use a featherweight to fight a heavyweight. I get so sick of hearing some Democrats, with this wimpy f'n attitude in past ... about compromising ... compromising f'n what!!? Do we think these MF's are going to compromise? ... Hell no! ... they dont f*ck around. I voted straight Democrat in 2016 for a reason, even while planning to vote Green Party ... not because I love Democrats, but because of what the GOP had planned. And these f'n oligarchs put us in this situation by making sure they financially fund both parties and have them in debt to them.

As far as the tax deal ... they made alot of revisions to it, too much to get into here ... you got what should be a 50 pager at like 500 pages or so. Many corporations/ banks, are quickly handing out bonuses to middle and higher level employees to try to counter some of the negative publicity. I dont even trust that ... AT&T here in Dallas started it the other day, $1000 buck bonuses, then a flood of others joined in ... nice, eh? Less than 24 hours after that announcement, AT&T then said they will be laying off a few hundred at the Dallas office february. The reason I dont trust this generosity, love or whatever, is I'm missing something ... they have some loophole on something, somewhere ... these folks are misers, they dont do NOTHING without REA$$ON. You know what's really f*cked about this tax bill ... all the side shit that was thrown in at the last minute ... this has been a growing habit under neoliberalism in Washington these dayz ... I mean, that add all kinds of shit on the tail of the damn bills, that are totally irrelevant to what the bill was initially supposed to be about. ... Enough from me ... my apology to your readers and yourself for being so outspoken, but I dont know how else to talk about this crap.

22 December, 2017 06:55  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

I have to go with your worst case scenario, and they are going to fight like cornered rats to cause as much damage as they can in the limited time they have left. They will deliberately leave the country as mutilated as possible on the assumption that the Democrats will have to expend all their energy just getting the country back to normal, as Obama had to, so that by the time the country is stable, people will have forgotten what criminals the Republicans are, and they can come roaring back to power. After all, that is exactly what happened after 1929- it took the country until Reagan to forget what Republicans really are, but once their memories faded, the Republicans' rich backers gladly financed the morass of lies, smears and vote rigging it took to get them back in control, and here we are again, on the verge of a depression deliberately caused by Republican greed.

My greatest regret with Obama: I believe there was a point where he really could have stuck in the knife and killed the Republican party once and for all, and done the greatest service he could ever do for the United States and the people of the world. Instead, he backed away, and as a consequence his time in office will be remembered as a pleasant interlude in our descent into evil, rather than the end of something truly malignant which has plagued our country for a hundred years.

23 December, 2017 11:00  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: I would love to see progressives move like they do!

We may get the chance. People are fired up, and assuming we get Congress back in 2018, the pressure will be on to reverse as much of the damage as possible. People have learned about the power of public pressure and they'll use it to prod the Democrats into action if need be. Unfortunately 2020 is the earliest we can get the Presidency back, barring some unusual scenarios.

Green: I hope the lesson will last longer this time, given what an abomination Trump has been, but I expected that after Bush II as well. But as I've said before, anybody who's still spouting the "both parties are the same" horseshit need to just be written off. If what we've seen from 2000 to today hasn't opened their eyes, they're unreachable.

24 December, 2017 06:15  

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