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State of American History, Civics, and Politics

Mitch McConnell: Howard Baker (Time to Go) vs Stay the Course (Go Down with the Ship)

Will the Red Wave Be as Successful in 2020 as it was in 2018? (amazon.com)

Mitch McConnell has a decision to make…if he hasn’t made it already. McConnell is an adult. He lives in the real world. The Senate Majority leader has a transactional relationship with the President of the United. McConnell’s decision will be based on his analysis of the political situation and the November elections. Whether or not his assessment turns out to be accurate is not the subject of this post. Instead it is to examine the parameters of that decision-making.

McConnell’s political agenda is a fairly simple one.

1. Help rich people get richer
2. Appoint conservatives to judge positions
3. Don’t help, you know….those people.

His assessment of the election results will be based on how those results affect his ability to achieve his agenda.

HELP RICH PEOPLE GET RICHER

To fulfill this objective requires the support of the House, the Senate, and the White House. Following the 2016 elections, McConnell had this trifecta. As a result he was able to pass a tax cut for the wealthy. This goal already was part of the agenda for the former party of Lincoln even prior to the election.

McConnell recognizes that those days are over. That political confluence is not likely to return. If anything the 2020 census will probably make it even more difficult to attain the political trifecta. At present if he wants to help rich people get richer, he has to do so through economic recovery acts. Otherwise, there would seem to be little he can do anymore to help rich people get richer in this Congressional term or the next.

APPOINT CONSERVATIVES TO JUDGE POSITIONS 

To fulfill this objective requires the support of the Senate and the White House. During the past three years he has had exceptional results in appointing conservatives to judicial positions. McConnell recognizes that the window of opportunity may be closing here due to the loss of the Senate, the White House, or both. As a result he has been seeking the retirements of older judges so he can replace them with young conservatives. So far that initiative has not been successful. Still, one can anticipate that he continue to appoint these judges right up to the very last  moment on December 31 if he can depending on the election results.

If there is no change in the Senate and the White House, then the urgency is off and McConnell can wait to the new session.

If there is a change in only the White House, then the urgency remains and he will seek to use every moment he has left. In the next session, he will oppose the nominations of new Democratic President. He will stymie the recommendations of the former Democratic Vice President just as he had done to the former Democratic President.

If there is a change only in the Senate, then time is urgent.

If there is a change in both the Senate and the White House, then time is urgent.

So at this point, it is in McConnell’s interests to appoint as many conservatives to judge positions as he can.

DON’T HELP, YOU KNOW….THOSE PEOPLE

McConnell has had two opportunities this year to help people he does not want to help. The economic freefall as the result of the coronavirus forced his hand to provide temporary relief including to the people who were hardest hit by the virus. Now that the medical crisis officially is over and the economy officially is back from the recession, McConnell has put the brakes on any additional help. Why should expensive Democratic states that subsidize the Confederate states with their taxes get any assistance to perpetuate their wasteful ways helping the wrong kind of people?

McConnell supported the efforts of the commander in-chief to use military force to liberate Lafayette Park from the heavily-armed terrorists who had surrounded the White House.  The death of George Floyd has witnessed four previous presidents preaching unity. What an excellent opportunity for McConnell beyond boilerplate to spurn any sign of compassion or desire for unity in the country when it includes the wrong people.

McConnell needs to maintain control of the Senate so in case Biden becomes President the world isn’t turned topsy turvy and the rich are called upon to help those who aren’t rich.

SENATE ELECTION PROGNOSTICATIONS

What is McConnell’s assessment of the Senate election results?

At present the Senate configuration is as follows:

51 Trumpicans
45 Democrats
2  Independents who caucus with the Democrats
2  Republicans who caucus with the Trumpicans

Previously, I had raised the question of how Mitt Romney would caucus in the next session (Where Will Mitt Romney Caucus in 2021?). Depending on the Presidential and Senate election results, his vote could be the determining one in who controls the Senate. Now there appear to be two Republicans with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski joining Romney. Together this amplifies the power of the Republicans in determining the control of the Senate in the next session.

Consider this quite possible scenario: the Democrats lose one seat in Alabama and pick up three in Arizona, Colorado, and Maine. Under these results the Senate configuration will be:

49 Trumpicans
47 Democrats
2   Independents who caucus with the Democrats
2   Republicans.

How will the two Republicans caucus if they have the power to decide who controls the Senate? In the interim, the Trumpicans will continually demonize Murkowski as a traitor, will not support her if she chooses to run for re-election, and will not welcome her in the Trumpican party.  In other words, the Trumpicans will do everything they can to encourage her to caucus with the Democrats in 2021 where that one vote might mean the difference. The other Republican Senator already voted to remove the President from office and is on the trump list. If the Democrats prevail in the Presidential election, it is easy to imagine the two Republicans caucusing with the Democrats.

This analysis excludes the other potential seats which also may be won by Democrats. Since all the candidates haven’t even been selected yet, it is too early to be realistic about the final results in the Senate. In addition, who knows what other events will occur between now and November (or October with early voting). It’s not so long ago that the coronavirus dominated the news. Now that the President of the United States has dominated Lafayette Square as he deployed his forces to take back the country, the results of his great victory have yet to be factored into the polls. What will the reaction be when coronavirus deaths in the United States hit 200,000? What will happen in the international arena? What will the response be to the October indictments of the Deep State including Obama and Biden as co-conspirators? So it easy to understand why predictions for the Senate remain fluid.

One should also keep in mind, that depending on the election results, Trumpican Senators up for re-election in 2022 may experience an agonizing reappraisal. If the vaunted red wave predicted by the Trumpican in chief dooms Trumpican control of the Senate as it did the House in 2018, then Trumpican Senators may want to reevaluate their position.

Consider Wisconsin as an example. In 2016, Wisconsin was not Trumpican during the primary. It barely was so in the Presidential election.  In fact, the then Republican Senator won by a larger margin. Since then the Senator has converted to the Trumpican cause and is gung ho on indicting Deep State Democrats. However, also since his election, Democrats have won statewide elections for governor and a state judge. Democrats also have gained popular vote victories for Congressional and state legislative seats but due to gerrymandering have been unable to turn those state majorities into victories. That may change after the 2020 census. Regardless, in statewide Senate election in 2022, Johnson will be running as a Trumpican. Or will he like other Trumpican Senators running in 2022 see the light and have a change of heart? Will it be too late?

Everything above is based on possible scenarios. The situation is very fluid. Maybe we will try again to buy Greenland? Maybe a hurricane really will hit Alabama? Maybe North Korea will launch a missile or detonate a bomb or both? So as McConnell assesses the situation for the Senate, there are a lot of variables to consider. As we get closer and closer to actual voting, many of the variables will stabilize. Then it will be possible to get a better fix on the results. Then it may be too late to do anything about the prospective results if they are adverse to McConnell who himself is a candidate. In the meantime, McConnell will do everything he can to appoint conservatives as judges and not to help you know…those people despite everything which has occurred.

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