Resistance Letter #30
October 22, 2017
Day 276 of 1461 days
Dear Co-defendants –
Congressional Republicans in Disarray
Republicans in both houses of Congress face some difficulties in coming months and years.
In the Senate, Judge Roy Moore of Alabama will almost certainly be the new senator from that state, ready and able to bedevil Mitch McConnell. Senator-apparent Moore is an avowed opponent of both McConnell and Trump. His political and moral beliefs put him far far to the right of Attila the Hun: homosexuality should be criminalized; no transgenders should be in the military; Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress; Obama was born in Kenya,and that parts of the USA are currently under Sharia. One Fox News poll shows the contest to be close, but this poll is discounted greatly. Moore is leading by 6 – 10 points.
Roy Moore is supported by Bannon and Bretibarth News. Steve Bannon has literally declared war on the establishment Republican party, vowing to field candidates against every senator save Ted Cruz(TX); he intends to remake the Republican party in Trump’s image. To date, he has fielded opposition to John Barasso(WY), Deb Fischer (NB), Dean Heller (NV), Jeff Flake(AZ), Orrin Hatch(UT) and Roger Wicker(MS). There are more senators in his sights; Bannon is backed by Mercer and Koch money.
If Bannon finishes the fun so well begun, he may make enough room for Democratic candidates to win seats heretofore out of their reach. Despite the disparity this year in class-1 senators running for reelection – 25 Democrats (including 2 independents) and 8 Republicans — Bannon’s animosity might make the difference in the control of the senate. A very long shot, to be sure, but a shot.
In the House, things are not much better. Speaker Ryan will have an internal war in his hands when it comes to raising the national debt; he will likely be given a choice of driving the USA into financial chaos or resigning his speakership due to allying with the Democrats in the House. On a personnel front, he is facing the loss of some of his strongest supporters. Leaving the House of their own volition: Pat Tiberri (OH), Dave Trott (MI), Charlie Dent(PA), Diane Black (TN), Todd Rokita (OH), and a few others. Rep Ed Murphy of PA resigned in disgrace after he urged his paramour to have an abortion in spite of his pro-life hypocrisy.
But, listen, ye doubters, to this! Nate Silver, known for his accuracy in polling (yes, he did call Trump!), posits that the Democrats need an 8 point advantage to take over the House in 2018. With the election over a year away, Republicans are losing support at a fast clip. Politico shows the Republicans slipping from a four point advantage to seven points for the Democrats; YouGov/Economist shows the Dems stretching from six points to 11 points; Public Policy Polling (PPP) also shows the Dems growing from six to eleven points. We have a year for all this to change, but the trend line is absolutely encouraging.
Republican Party Going Extinct?
Maybe. It’s not impossible that the party will see a real split, not just an ideological split as they so heartily enjoy today. Last weeks’ speeches by MCain and Bush-2 attacked Trumpism directly; why both speakers refused to utter Trump’s name is unclear, but nobody doubts that the object of their derision and scorn in so many areas was Donald J Trump. Obama also made his first direct political speech against the man, but his motives for finally coming out of the closet is unknown. Trump and Bush however were speaking as the Traditional Republican Establishment excoriating the ultra-right within the party and administration. If Steve Bannon’s attack on establishment senators is successful, the split will become complete. If it is not successful and the senate is handed over to Democratic contenders for those seats he is challenging, the split will also become complete. Can a Republican party divided still stand, and can it govern?
Whither the Democrats?
Who knows? There is not much smoke, fire or noise coming out of the DNC under Lujan and Ellison. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden seem to be the only nationally prominent Democrats who are making any show at all. Unfortunately, or fortunately perhaps, they are both generationed out of any serious bid for high office. The best spin to put on the DNC’s inactivity is that they are standing back and allowing their opponents to dig themselves deeper into the hole they are making.
42% of the American voters declare themselves to be independent of any party; 29% call themselves Republicans, 29% Democrats. Political parties in the US are on their way to becoming irrelevant, similar to the Christian churches in post-Christian Europe. The staff, though lessened in number, is still on hand, the buildings are maintained, a diminishing faithful attend services, but the mass of people do not use the church or the party except for rites of passage.
New York Times Article re Radical Indivisible
A lengthy article in the Sunday Times looks at the progressive movement and how it is being pushed, or pulled, to radicalism by national events. The article also throws a shadow on the role of the National Democratic Party, which doesn’t even seem to be hurrying to catch up. It is instructive to note that a similar article could have been written six to eight years back about the Tea Party, but whence the Tea Party today? The Tea Party faded into the background because of its own successes in national politics; they had no higher mission than to get conservatives elected. The progressive movement, including Indivisible as one of its leaders, needs to fashion higher and clearer goals than simply obstructing and replacing Trump and his cronies. We need to see progressive government from local school boards up to national offices as our highest goal, and our tactics and strategies should be made to support that higher goal. This goal may never be completely achieved, yet it remains the goal to which we should strive.
Last Week in Congress
Both houses of congress are now back in session, or at least they will be by Tuesday. Last week, the Republicans were able to pass a Budget Resolution which, of course, included provisions for using the Budget Reconciliation Act (BRA) in future fiscal legislation. Passing the Budget resolution is almost meaningless, except for the BRA wording. The budget now goes back to House and Senate committees for hearings and mark-ups. Until these committee hearings, there is no way to see what the GOP budget will look like. Despite all their grandiose attempts to dismantle government, congress members are well aware of constituent pressure to keep many targeted agencies funded and staffed. We will keep an eye on these activities and ask you to act accordingly.
Tax reform is the elephant in the room. The Republicans are absolutely signed on to tax reform in 2017. There is yet no document outlining the ‘reforms’ they will be trying to pass. Suggestions have been floated; eliminating the mortgage deduction, increasing the standard deduction, lowering the tax brackets, eliminating estate taxes, cutting corporate taxes to 15-25%. However, no specific actionable proposals have been detailed. The White House says that they are waiting for the Congress to put these numbers out there, and that, presumably, is why Cohen, Mnuchin, Mulvaney et al have been camping in congressional halls and offices lately.
We do know that budget hawks will look unfavorably on any reforms which will increase the deficit by any amount. We do know that many many stakeholders will be pressuring and lobbying Congress for their own interests to be preserved. We do know that tax reform under Reagan took two years to hammer out.
The meeting is set for Monday, November 13 (email for address: indivisiblecedarmill[at]gmail.com). Doors open at 6:30PM, meeting starts at 7:30 PM and ends promptly at 8:30pm. Refreshments, both adult and juvenile will be provided along with a few tasty snacks. Speakers will be announced in a week or so.
L’audace, encore l’audace, et toujours l’audace!