It was the phrase heard around the world: “Legitimate Political Discourse.” The violent and deadly January 6 insurrection was deemed unanimously by the Republican National Committee as “legitimate political discourse.” Wow!
Does this compare with Mitt Romney’s “47%” gaffe in which he said during a fundraiser as candidate in 2008 that 47% of the population is made up of people who believe they are “victims,” and are “dependent on government.”? That statement, which was untrue, was interpreted to mean that almost half the country were freeloaders. He lost.
Or is it as unifying for the opposition when Hillary Clinton said half of Trump supporters belong in “a basket of deplorables.”? That spawned t-shirts and other merchandise bought and worn by Trump supporters proudly proclaiming that they are deplorable. She lost.
Only time will tell if the RNC blunder will impact the political landscape. But it may have been the gift the Democrats sorely needed to help mitigate a potential disaster in the midterms.
With this characterization of January 6, the Republican Party should be branded as the party that condones political violence. Democrats must capitalize on the GOP flub. Plus, the censure of two Republican congressman—Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—for sitting on the Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and events leading up to it has caused a fissure within their own ranks.
Leaders like Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence acknowledged the legitimacy of the 2020 election and want their party to look forward and concentrate on the midterms rather than obsessing over an election that was lost.
Last year’s attack on the Capitol “was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election from one administration to the next,” McConnell said.
"With this characterization of January 6, the Republican Party should be branded as the party that condones political violence."
Others who are tethered to Trump’s big lie want to keep litigating the election. Sooner or later there will be an explosion.
The divergence in strategy will power the primaries between Trump cultists and other Republicans. Money will be spent on ads fighting each other that will leave less to be directed against their Democratic foes. Moreover, negative ads used against one another can be gleaned by Democratic candidates for their own advantage. And if Trump-backed candidates win, they are likely to make them defeatable in a general election because they will be so scary.
To be sure, the midterms can be catastrophic for Democrats regardless of Republican in-fighting. The historic nature of midterms does not bode well for the party that is occupying the White House during the first term. President Biden’s approval numbers have been dismal. Then you add in the political effects of Covid, increased inflation, higher gas prices, supply line issues, the inability to pass the blockbuster legislation package called Build Back Better, and other factors that lay at the feet—unjustifiably in most cases—of the current administration.
The GOP is oozing with confidence that they can re-take the House for sure and stand a good chance of capturing the Senate as well. For the reasons above they should feel giddy about their prospects.
But the Democrats have a secret weapon that won’t be a secret much longer: the Republicans themselves.
Republicans would be wise to drop Trump like his torn-up
presidential documents into the toilet.
Though his base remains steadfast in their support, that fealty is beginning to leak fumes. The Republican crazies like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ted Cruz, Matt Gaetz, Madison Cawthorn and other Trump worshippers are going to help as well.
Another dynamic is the Supreme Court selection and confirmation process to fill Justice Breyer’s seat. This could be most critical politically in terms of the midterms and beyond. Joe Biden pledged to fill any vacancy with an African American woman, which would be the first such selection to the high court. It would add to his already historic endeavor with his choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate who ultimately became the first African American and Asian American Vice President.
|Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Image|
Having a Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court would, of course, stoke the base, which has soured on the President to a significant degree. In addition to the resurgence of enthusiasm that is expected from the nomination, it puts the Republican Party on a tightrope without a safety net.
No matter which person is nominated, she will undoubtedly be very qualified for the lifetime post. As they are prone to do, Republican senators will do their very best to stonewall the nominee, partake in rough questioning at the committee hearings and probably accuse her of being a socialist or radical—their go-to monikers.
However, in doing so, they could zealously appeal to the racist elements of the base and run the risk of appearing racists themselves. That will not only motivate the Democratic base but also turn off independents who the GOP is counting on in the fall. The Dems could run on that alone.
In addition, the House Select Committee on January 6 will be holding hearings in a matter of weeks that will last for months revealing the causes of the events of January 6, who planned the insurrection, who paid for it and other details. It will also cover the attempted coup by Trump and his aides to retain power against the will of the people.
Some of the hearings are expected to take place in prime time and the nation can learn of the insidious plot to destroy our democracy. It promises to be compelling. None of these revelations will help the Republicans, especially those who are pro-Trump.
That brings us to another secret weapon the Democrats have at their disposal: Donald Trump himself. Though not on the ballot in 2022, the Democrats should still treat him as if he was. Trump will be challenged to navigate the myriad legal messes he’s in and that won’t be easy. A criminal indictment here and there could shake up the entire political landscape. Keep your eyes on Georgia.
Trump continues to be unhinged about the 2020 election in which he cannot bring himself to accept defeat. The big lie that the election was stolen from him is an utter disgrace and an embarrassment to the nation. But he is unrelenting. Sooner or later, you would think his people would be tired of his con game. But will they?
Unquestionably, the Democrats face enormous challenges in the midterms including Republican-led gerrymandering and voter suppression. You would be naïve to think there would be a positive outcome. Yet, between Republican overreach and obstructionism, divisions within the party, perceived racism if they attack the Supreme Court nominee and the continued gross behavior of Trump, you just don’t know for sure.
A lot can happen between now and November, but the GOP itself seems to be the Dems’ best weapon and hope.
This gives me some hope. Thank you.
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