Sunday, December 20, 2020


The phenomenon of unintended and undesirable consequences
is not only well-known in politics, it is frequently ignored by
political  leaders and strategists seeking short-term advantage.

Decision-makers in both parties and in the media do this,
especially in a political period like we are in now.

Some conspicuous current examples of this are worth noting.

Beginning on election night, 2016, many Democrats attempted
to undo or deligitimitize Donald Trump’s presidential win.
The effort lasted until election day, 2020.  Most of these same
persons are now calling on Republicans to accept and “unify’
behind the presidency of Joe Biden. It in’t going to happen.

I want to make it clear that I am not here judging that the
Democrats were wrong in 2016-20, but I am pointing out that
their behavior was inevitably going to provoke the reaction
now occurring among many Republicans. Nor am I judging
here that those Republicans are right in 2020 that the
presidential election was stolen. Joe Biden, almost certainly
will be sworn in as president on January 20, 2021.

But Mr. Biden, as did Mr. Trump for four years, will almost
certainly face implacable legitimacy questions as he takes
over the executive branch of government.

Reacting to Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid’s
heavy-handed dominance of the U.S. senate, and his changing
senate rules to enhance his party’s control, when Republicans
regained control, they used Reid’s precedent to enable the
confirmation of conservative federal judges under new rules
that frustrated the traditional prerogatives of liberal senators.
When Democrats regain clear control sometime in the future,
they might use the GOP precedent to eliminate filibustering,
and thus frustrate a future Republican senate minority. At
the least, they will use the GOP rules to confirm liberal

In Iowa’s 2nd congressional district election in 2020, the GOP
candidate won by 6 votes (out of more than 300,000 cast.
After some initial recounts failed to reverse the result, but
well before she exhausted her legal remedies, the losing
Democratic candidate announced she would take her case
to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The state of Iowa has now
certified the Republican as the winner. The U.S. constitution
states, however, that each body of Congress has the final
say over its members, and the Democratic-controlled
house could overrule the Iowa certification, and seat the
Democrat. This is very rarely done --- the last time was in
1984 when the Democrats held a much bigger majority than
they do now. (Then, 10 Democrats refused to go along with
their own majority.) But even if Speaker Pelosi does have
the votes to overturn the certified Iowa result, she risks an
almost certain backlash in the next election, as well as
giving Republicans a reasonable precedent for overturning
future close elections.

In 2020, many Democrats went along with the radical call to
defund the police, as well as supported Medicare for All  and
Green New Deal policies advocated by one wing of the party.
But election results show that outside of the large urban
areas, these ideas were unpopular with voters, and cost them
several U.S. house and senate senate seats they might have

Many Democrats and some Republicans wanted so badly to
defeat Donald  Trump in 2020, and they have apparently
succeeded. But the unintended consequences of their success
might not be so pleasant. They are now in charge of a
pandemic-ravaged economy, a quarantine-weary populace, in
a world of hostile global rivals --- with a sizable portion of
U.S. voters doubting their legitimacy as much as they doubted
their predecessor’s.

Are they also rid of Donald Trump? Perhaps. But there might
now be eight more years of his presence instead of only four.

In any event, the nation continues, and for the sake of all, the
hope is that the new president can lead the U.S. successfully
through the many storms ahead.

Copyright (c) 2020 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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