Wednesday, June 27, 2018

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Time To Set Foot On Earth Again?

Since election night, 2016, many Democrats have been on a fantasy
flight at zero gravity somewhere in space. It’s time for them to
return to earth and set foot on solid ground again.

After a political baptism in controversy and congressional stalemate
throughout most of 2017, President Donald Trump and his
Republican colleagues are enjoying a remarkable series of political
victories, some of which were enabled by many Democrats
abandoning the fields of political battle for a chartered flight of
denial in the clouds.

Elections mean a lot more than just getting the most votes. They
give power to the winners. This had been true in 2008 when the
Democrats took back the White House. Republicans, of course,
were not happy, and some of them got sidetracked in an empty
controversy over a birth certificate. But after Obamacare was
pushed through the Congress, the GOP eschewed a flight into
denial space, and went to work. Capitalizing on the unpopularity
of Obamacare, they won mid-terms in 2010 and 2014, and almost
defeated a sitting president in 2012. Even the latter defeat did
not prevent an upset victory four years later by Mr. Trump.

The most current consequences of conservative election victories
come from the non-elected branch of government which the
elected branches have the power to appoint and confirm, the U.S.
supreme court.

Within only a few days, this court handed down historic decisions
on the president’s travel ban, the rights of pro-life clinics, and the
rights of non-union public employees not to be forced to pay
union dues. In spite of being heralded as a “swing” vote on the
nation’s highest court, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the
conservative majority on all three votes, and then announced his
retirement. His replacement, to be named by President Trump,
will almost certainly strengthen the conservative majority. There
will be a partisan battle over whomever the president nominates,
but even if the confirmation vote is delayed until after the
mid-term election,  a credible conservative will take Justice
Kennedy’s place.

These developments, welcomed by most conservatives, are
equally and understandably disliked by most liberals. The
problem for the latter is that the Democratic Party seems, in
the current primary nominating season, to be moving strongly
and often to the left. This movement pleases some in the
Democratic base, but faces opposition from many in the
liberal mainstream. Most risky of all, it might well turn away
otherwise sympathetic independent voters, usually the key
group to winning competitive elections.

Republicans have only a narrow majority in the U.S senate, but
they have a clear advantage in the 2018 races, where so many
more Democratic incumbent senate seats are up for re-election.

U.S. house members do not confirm presidential appointments,
including supreme court nominees. U.S. senators do.

Wafts of socialistic and other radical programs are filling
reports from many primary contests in several states, egged on
by some of the most prominent potential 2020 Democratic
presidential nominees. These would seem to be cases of new
political flights into electoral denial.

The argument for a mid-term ‘blue wave” is now seemingly
evaporating. Is another kind of wave on the horizon?

Copyright (c) 2018 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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