If America’s two major political parties were determined to discourage as many supporters as possible, they’d be hard-pressed to do any better than they are these days in the frigid fog of a pandemic winter.
Most everybody is fighting somebody. In a politically perverse — and politically suicidal — manner, they’re focusing fire on fellow party members. And donors to each faction are following suit.
Democrats could be happy about capturing the House, the Senate and the White House for the first time in a decade. They could even remember what happened to them in the first midterm elections after that happened the last time in 2010.
But no. They’re feuding with each other over the $15 minimum wage, among other issues that allow them to individually signal virtue to those who care.
After a cozy family weekend at Camp David while millions of power-less Americans wore blankets against a severe winter freeze and no electricity in the house, 78-year-old Joe Biden went to a CNN Townhall to demonstrate a familiar but disturbing incoherence and mental feebleness with untruths and misstatments. Like his assertion there was no covid vaccine when he entered office. No wonder Biden’s team ended his campaign days at 9 a.m.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader who engineered Donald Trump’s legislative victories and confirmations of three Supreme Court justices plus an historic number of other federal judges, accurately described the president as morally responsible for not handling the Jan. 6 outbreak.
Then, McConnell loyally voted to acquit the president of impeachment because, duh, the man was no longer in office and, thus, incapable of being ousted from office.
Trump, who squandered a lot of post-election support and the Georgia Senate runoffs with endless and baseless complaints about a stolen election, is attacking McConnell for his physical appearance, demeanor and family.
There’s more, but you get the point. It is understandable that Democrats would be unhappy they lost so much House support that their majority became precarious. But they still reelected as Speaker a woman who’ll be 81 next month and needed help standing up at a photo op last year.
The country’s good spirits are frayed by the year-old pandemic and by the authoritarian responses of too many leaders who seem able to clearly see a microscopic virus but remain blind to the economic (and emotional) devastation they impose on virtually every street.
There was a time when a trusted media would chronicle these failings and embarrass participants into more appropriate behavior. But that trust has evaporated too because these media referees only throw flags on one side.
It’s understandable too that Republicans would be disappointed with their losses and perhaps point petty fingers at others rather than accept any responsibility for the outcome. State parties have already begun punishments for GOP members who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
Republican National Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel issued a reminder to her party’s combatants: “Republicans need to remember we have far more in common with each other than we do with the Democrats.”
But during these next 86 weeks to next year’s midterms, Trump and his adopted party would do well to recall the 1964 elections.
Democrats that year captured the White House with 61 percent of the popular vote and 90 percent of the electoral votes, while gaining over three dozen House seats and a two-thirds Senate majority.
But in the midterms just two years after that devastation, the GOP gained 47 House seats, three Senate seats and went on to win five of the next six presidential elections.
They were not, however, fighting each other then.