Sunday, July 14, 2019

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: Unintended Consequences Everywhere?

The 2020 election cycle is becoming a cycle of unintended
consequences, especially for Democrats, who are so determined
to be rid of President Donald Trump --- either by impeachment
before November, 2020 or by defeating him at the polls next year.

But their ire and single-mindedness are routinely frustrated by
likely unintended outcomes almost everywhere they seem to turn.

For some Democrats, including their newest presidential candidate
billionaire Tom Steyer,  the highest priority is impeachment.
Because the liberal party now controls the U.S. house of
representatives, on paper they have the majority to vote the
impeachment (indictment) --- but zero chance for a conviction in
the U.S. senate controlled by the president’s conservative party.
Furthermore, impeachment is not very popular among many U.S.
voters, especially so late in Mr. Trump’s first term AND with the
campaign for the next term now already underway. The Democrats
probably don’t even have the votes to impeach in their own party
caucus because so many new members in their majority are from
districts carried by Mr. Trump in 2016, and if they voted for
impeachment, could easily lead to their defeat in 2020 --- thus
giving back the majority to the GOP in the next Congress.
(Speaker Nancy Pelosi understands this, and has consistently
resisted putting impeachment on the U.S. house agenda.)

Another strategy to block Mr. Trump is to require by law in
individual states that he make public his tax returns (which he has
so far refused to do), but as John Ellis writing in the presidential
briefing page in Ballotpedia ( ) points out, such
a move likely would backfire since states that have done or would do
this are already heavily Democratic --- not being on the ballot in them
would be no real penalty to  Mr. Trump and would enable him to
claim the national popular vote total to be incomplete and irrelevant.
Mr. Ellis also points out that removing Donald Trump’s name at the
top of those ballots would likely also help down-ballot Republicans
who would be otherwise hurt by the president’s unpopularity in those

Still another attempt to thwart the president has been to block his
attempt to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. While
Democrats feel they have fair arguments for doing this, the 2020
census has no impact on the 2020 election (but it will impact 2022
and 2024). Although they are winning this argument in the courts,
this controversy enables the president and his party keep the volatile
immigration issue front and center, and thus motivate their voters to
show up at the polls. The White House has now abandoned the effort
to put the citizenship question in the census, but it almost surely
bring up the issue throughout 2020 when Americans will be
answering other census questions.

The Democrats have understandably welcomed the relentless
support of most of the establishment or liberal media. When I
coined the phrase “media coup d’etat” prior to the 2016
presidential election, I had no idea that anti-Trump media bias
would become an escalating, long-term phenomenon AFTER
the election ---and ultimately counterproductive as even many
non-Trump voters found the total negativism heavy-handed ---
and less and less credible. The evidence for this is the dramatic
decline in viewership and readership of the worst offenders
which continues even as I write this.

U.S. senate Democrats from day one have blocked many Trump
appointments, both for judicial and executive posts. To be fair,
Republicans had done this during the second term of President
Obama, and in response, the then senate majority leader (Harry
Reid) changed the senate rules. When Republicans took control
of the senate, and faced a liberal blockade of conservative
presidential appointments, they used the Reid precedent to adopt a
so-called “nuclear option” on confirmation procedures. The result,
under the current GOP majority leader (Mitch McConnell), has
been 127 federal judicial court, appellate and district, confirmations
and a belated speed-up of sub-cabinet confirmations --- an
unintended result of original Democratic strategy. (Of course, if
Democrats win back the White House and the U.S. senate, the
Republicans will face an unpleasant unintended consequence of
their own.)

One current unintended consequence favoring the Democrats is the
success of the GOP confirming conservative judges. Pro-choice and
other liberal voters will likely be motivated by this issue to go to the
polls in 2020.

Finally, the current internal insurrection in the Democratic Party, led
by a few outspoken young U.S. house members and some of the U.S.
senators running for president threatens to upend the apparent
opportunity for the liberal party to win the 2020 presidential election,
as well as keep its U.S. house majority and win back control of the
U.S. senate. The outcome of this ideological revolt is currently
unresolved. Standing in the way of the more radical liberal wing for
the present is not Donald Trump, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
who is trying to make this term her “finest hour” --- to protect her
party and her colleagues from a possible disaster that none of them
wants to happen.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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