A Blog on Politics, Principles, and Uncovering the Narrative

Category: Elections

The Blue Tsunami Arrived

I’ve heard many people saying that no “wave” materialized for either party. Some conservatives chide that maintaining the status quo should be a massive disappointment.

This could not be further from the truth. The Democrats had a massive blue wave, you could even call it a “tsunami.”

It just didn’t look like one because it cancelled out the red wave that seemed inevitable.


  1. In midterm elections, the party that won the White House in the previous general election almost always loses a large number of seats.
  2. Democrats generally do very poorly in midterms at any time because of low turnout.
  3. Biden’s popularity is very low and people are feeling a very strong economic sting from inflation.

Because of those three elements, Democrats, in any other midterm, would have suffered huge losses. By all rights, republicans should have not just taken control of both houses, they should have done so decisively.

In 2010, Obama lost 6 senate seats and 63 house seats.

In 1994, Clinton lost 8 senate seats and 52 house seats.

In neither case did Obama or Clinton have lower popularity than Biden. In neither case was there a recession or inflation to depress their votes.

For Biden to lose only a dozen or so house seats and to keep all his senate seats—maybe even gain one—is unprecedented at a time like this. Only one in the past 80 years has any Democrat done better in a first midterm, and that was Kennedy in 1962 (lost four in the house, gained three in the senate).

It is arguable that relative to what could be expected, Biden gained at lest 5-6 senate seats and maybe three or four dozen house seats.

Accounting for these realities, what we just witnessed was a blue tsunami.

The reasons are clear: republicans shot themselves in the foot, and Democrats, for once, took full advantage of it.

There were three major elements to the republican death spiral:

  1. They made it perfectly clear that their top goal was to dismantle democracy and fix future elections in their favor;
  2. The repeal of Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs decision; and
  3. Trump’s strategy of primarying out winning republican candidates and replacing them with election-denying sycophants and stooges who were poison to republicans on the ballot.

Democrats successfully campaigned against all three, and it worked wonders.

It didn’t hurt that Michiganders, against the will of the republicans who had rigged the state, ended gerrymandering, giving Democrats the victory that republicans had been stealing for a decade. Let’s hope that other states held in thrall by republicans vote in similar measures, if that is even possible.

The Slow and Brutal Dementia of the Right-Wing Base

It is astonishing that this race is within the margin of error.

Many on the left are astounded that so many conservative Christians in Georgia would reject a compassionate, profound, and clean-living Christian pastor like Reverend Raphael Warnock, and instead prefer the deranged and hedonistic pathological liar Herschel Walker. The thing is, this is nothing new; the phenomenon goes back to Ronald Reagan, and has only been growing since then.

People were incredulous when an actor, Ronald Reagan, who was clearly not too bright, ran for office. We believed his popularity was due to his acting skills, his charisma and charm—which, at least in part, was true enough. His supporters were perfectly willing to ignore the dim-witted nature of the man, instead creating their own image of his power and brilliance in defiance of what everyone witnessed.

But then republicans got behind George W. Bush, a privileged, former-drug-using, bullying little snot who was a serial liar, an AWOL draft-dodger, and clearly dumb as a post.

Not too long after that, republicans went absolutely wild over Sarah Palin, a corrupt, lying idiot who couldn’t answer even the simplest of questions—and even preferred her over John McCain, who, while he had his own issues, was at least pretty smart, and was a war hero to boot.

And then, of course, there is Donald Trump, who topped the chart with his pathological lying, his malignant narcissism, his appeals to violence and hatred; his cheating, stealing, and fraud; his racism, misogyny, and open contempt for disadvantaged people; his openly criminal intent, his open assault on institutions and truth, and even his hostility to democracy itself. He became not just their hero, but their savior. Their fealty and adoration turn out to have been not opportunistic but true, as it maintains its intensity even beyond his usefulness to right-wing desires.

With each of these inept, easily-manipulated, unqualified, and clearly broken people, their corruption and ill deeds just got more and more outrageous as their intelligence shrunk to almost vanishing insignificance.

Herschel Walker is nothing new; he is simply the latest in a clear trend, a progression—or, more accurately, a regression—towards a crushing singularity of lies, debauchery, and stupidity.

And so we find that an increasing number of republican voters not only don’t respond to intelligence, character, or values, they in fact don’t give a rat’s ass to any of it. All they care about is one thing:

Will they rule in my name?

Beyond that, most republicans could care less about the person. Put a known pedophile, a rapist, even a mass murderer up for republican candidacy, the ever-growing base will vote red.

Even worse, it actually seems that the more reprehensible and asinine the candidate is, the more they vote for them. One might think that the republican base was simply voting for whomever ran on the republican ticket, but no—they actually seem to prefer lying, corrupt, idiotic scumbags.

As confounding as this may be, once you look closer at the culture, and see the contempt for compassion, the destructive “make the world a worse place” attitude, their joy in making people they don’t like suffer for their entertainment, and their unrestrained desire to serve their animal pleasure of domination of others, you begin to realize that these people suffer from a sort of sadistic nihilism. Hurting people is the whole point. Wrecking the world is what they want. And they seem to not care the least about values or consequences.

Herschel Walker, in fact, may be even closer than Trump to being the embodiment of the republican base.

We have to realize that their behavior is not an accident or even very fringe; it is, in fact, a movement in and of itself.

Democrats’ Winning Will Be Huge, But Not Absolute

So, Warnock is in and it looks extremely likely that Ossof will win. If that happens, Democrats will take control of the Senate. However, be warned: they will get far from everything they want, as the cornucopia will come with limitations and caveats. Democrats will not pass Medicare for All. They will not pack the courts. They will not even eliminate the filibuster, at least not yet. Still, there are major victories here.

What will Democrats win? First of all, appointments. With McConnell in charge, most of Biden’s executive appointments would be challenged and some would be refused—making a huge difference in who Biden might choose as the Attorney General. If Democrats control the Senate, then Biden will have pretty much no problem with all or almost all of his appointees. (AG Sally Yates?)

The big win, however, will be in judicial nominees; McConnell would have blocked every single one, but with Democrats in control, probably none will be blocked, save for anyone with a scandal erupting just as they’re nominated. 

Committees will be the next big win: Democrats will have control of all the committees, including the power to investigate and issue subpoenas. In the post-Trump years, that will count for a lot. It will also stifle republicans convening massive investigations every time Biden blows his nose.

However, what will Democrats not get? Well, the filibuster is the main thing. Manchin (D-WV) and at least one or two other Democrats have voiced opposition to getting rid of it—which means that republicans can still filibuster nearly everything, and be greatly obstructionist.

This, however, may not be as great a disadvantage for Democrats as it may seem. First, on the bright side, a Democratic-controlled Senate would actually call all these bills up for votes, as opposed to McConnell’s habit of just killing them off as they arrive. No more “Legislative Graveyard,” no more “Grim Reaper.” This is a big deal because it means that individual republican senators will be the uncomfortable position of voting to kill specific legislation in the spotlight. They can be far more easily blamed for ending popular bills (like the $2000 stimulus). This means that there will be legislation that passes, at least more than otherwise, and all other votes will weigh heavily on incumbent republicans.

Why does that matter? Because of 2022. Far more red seats are up for grabs than blue seats, and Democrats could conceivably pick up 2, 3, or maybe even 4 seats. If they can take Stacey Abrams’ campaign to the 2022 races, maybe even more. This means that a lot of republicans will be a lot more cautious about how they vote over the next two years. Maybe McConnell will herd the GOP senators capably and allow the ones up for re-election in closer races to get “hall passes” and use the remainder to filibuster. But in any case, things will be a lot tougher for republicans now.

The next question is, will the filibuster eventually get nixed? Will Manchin change his mind? Will maybe enough republicans switch sides? It is hard to say.

But if the filibuster does get scrapped, then don’t expect a progressive wish list to suddenly get passed. Manchin is not the only blue-dog Democrat. Medicare for All will still be incredibly unlikely, though a public option could possibly pass muster. On the other hand, a new Voting Rights Act might just get through (McConnell will absolutely filibuster that to death).

One last thing: blame.

Right now, the GOP is kind of devolving into a circular firing squad, and after Georgia and Trump’s expected shitstorm tomorrow, followed by his inevitable departure from D.C., republicans will be pointing fingers all over within their own ranks.

Trump’s role in Georgia will be especially hot: with the margins being so close, it seems pretty undeniable that Trump’s attacks on Georgia republicans and his minions’ calls for republicans not to vote will have made enough of a difference that at least Ossof’s race will have been lost due to Trump. Probably Warnock’s, too.

Which, naturally, Trump will deny. He’ll undoubtedly blame it on Kemp, Raffensperger, and probably McConnell himself, as well as anyone who didn’t help him out. Remember, he campaigned for a GOP win in Georgia… but only just enough to say that he helped, and not nearly enough to take responsibility for a loss. He definitely gave far less than 100% in the race, and both he and his followers did more than enough damage to offset any help that Trump provided. One might even be forgiven if one thinks that Trump wanted Georgia to elect the Democrats. It would have the effect of diminishing Trump’s greatest rival for control of the GOP, Mitch McConnell. It would also mean that Trump could point to more Democratic victories in firing up his base for 2024.

The big question will be, will Trump blame republicans more than he’ll blame election fraud. He’s got motives to blame both. Right now, he’s pointing at election fraud in his Twitter feed, which feeds his own narrative about losing the presidency. After the Senate counts the votes for Biden, and Trump has nothing left to realistically fall back on, who he blames will be a strong signal as to Trump’s intent moving forward. If he blames McConnell and the GOP members who did not strongly support him, then we’ll know that he’s doing it to retain strong control over the GOP.

In the meantime… this would be a gigantic victory for Democrats, and a fantastic recovery for Biden as he steps into office.

Not to mention, we get to see all those old white racist, misogynistic senate republicans get hammered down as a black woman overrides their asses.

Trump’s Real Enemy, Trump’s Real Target

Trump seems to be almost intentionally throwing the Georgia run-off elections. He has to know that he’s hurting their chances, and that could help Democrats. So, why is he doing it? I do not believe that he is blind to what he is doing.

I think you have to consider the timing and the motives. If Georgia goes to the Democrats, then Mitch McConnell is screwed. And I’m beginning to think that this is exactly what Trump wants, as part of a larger plan to gain complete control over republican politics.

You may be reading more and more stories about republicans attacking republicans. Actually, that’s been going on at a steady frequency for the past four years with Trump attacking anyone his fails to toe his line. He demands utter loyalty, and punishes anyone who steps out of line.

As for the current state of affairs, consider an indicator that is being a bit disregarded: the conspiracy theory rumor mill. This has always been Trump’s tool of choice to motivate the masses—look at what Q-Anon alone has done. Trump does not ignore this or stand back from it; instead, he instigates and guides it. He chooses the messaging he wants to thrive, and he retweets it and repeats it. If you’re paying attention to it, you’ll see that a lot of the newer theories seem to be more about attacking conservatives. In part, this mirrors Trump’s recent messaging, but it might seem a bit extreme or misplaced. People are talking about “circular firing squads” amongst republicans.

The thing is, this all makes sense—and demonstrates that Trump knows full well that he’s going to be out of power soon.

This is not Trump resenting those who did not support his attempted coup. I don’t think Trump is simply mad at people who won’t help him overthrow the government. I think Trump knows the coup cannot possibly work. His aim is not to punish those who faled to make his plan work. This is more specific. This is political in-fighting.

This is a purity purge. 

Which means that Trump’s actions are pointed in a different direction than you might think: Trump is working hard to consolidate his control over the republican party. He’s not aiming at Biden or liberals. He is using the “Overturn the Election” campaign to draw a line, and is blasting any conservative stepping on the wrong side of it.

And McConnell is on the wrong side of that line.

McConnell, in fact, is Trump’s chief enemy. Trump knows that while McConnell has worked in Trump’s favor most of the time, he deeply resents Trump, and would like little more than have Trump wither and vanish so that McConnell can get things back on track the way he wants to. McConnell and Trump will not work together. It must be one or the other.

So Trump is trying damned hard to kick McConnell in the balls. Hard.

If Georgia goes to the Democrats, it actually helps Trump. First, it will eviscerate McConnell, making him far less relevant, far less powerful. But it will also enable Democrats, and allow them to have a lot of victories they would not otherwise have.

You might wonder, how does this help Trump?

Simple: it will outrage Trump’s base, and that will empower Trump. He will claim that Democratic victories are destroying America, and it only happened because he was robbed of the election.

If McConnell retains control of the Senate, this will hurt Trump, as it will return most of the focus on McConnell as the driving force behind republican politics, and Trump will be less relevant and will be considered less necessary. His base might begin returning to the traditional republican fold.

Trump doesn’t want this. And that actually might be good news. He is splitting the party down lines that could rob it of much of its power. Trump doesn’t mind that. He could give a rat’s ass about republican politics and power. He is only interested in his own.

In the aftermath of the election, we have internecine warfare within the republican community.

Get out your popcorn and enjoy it.


This Guy’s Not a Real Liberal

Joe Biden has officially crossed the Rudy Giuliani line. When confronted by reporters about Pete Buttigieg, a frustrated Biden shouted out:

“Oh, come on, man! This guy’s not a Barack Obama!”

Honestly, this guy can’t go very long at all without invoking Obama; essentially, a lot of what he says is a noun, a verb, and Barack Obama.

But here’s the thing: Biden ain’t no Barack Obama either. Obama didn’t have a creepy old man vibe, and his gentle, compassionate voice was better than Biden’s as well.

The thing is, what Biden is invoking here is a sense of comfort, of nostalgia, or more specifically, all the good stuff that we remember about Barack Obama.

The problem is, all of that is overrated. Obama seemed like a godsend after George W. Bush, and seems in hindsight a true genius and a moral paragon comnpared to Donald Trump, who followed him into office.

The fact is, however, that Obama was not all that fantastic. Oh, culturally and socially, he was. He had a way to make people feel like the world was stable and right again. You felt like adults were running the show again. He was scandal-free, and acted with great appropriateness, at least in terms of legalities and practices. He was a model president on TV.

However, his primary achievements—the Stimulus and Obamacare—were both watered-down compromises, and both took place in the first few months of his presidency when he had not only both houses of Congress, but a supermajority in the Senate. Yes, he brokered the Iran deal, and that was great. His work on the auto industry was also a big win. Getting Osama bin Laden was a victory, but more of a PR win than a blow to global terrorism.

The fact is, he failed to do a lot of stuff. He never closed Guantanamo, he did too much military adventurism and way overused drone warfare. He never really cleaned up Wall Street, never jailed a single executive. He eventually did the right things for immigration and LGBTQ issues, but he more followed than led in matters such as these, his accomplishments far less and far later than we would have preferred.

Even his accomplishments were half-done: he compromised on health care and gave away half the store to republicans, who then gave him not a single vote, and similarly watered down the Stimulus with less infrastructure and assistance for the jobless and poor, while hiking up tax cuts for wealthy people—again, without republicans giving him a single vote in his favor. Obama negotiated by starting from the middle, and then giving away half the deal without getting a damned thing in return.

True, a lot of this was the republicans’ fault—they shot down everything Obama did as much as they could, and blocked him at every turn even when he did stuff they would have otherwise wanted. Had republicans just been the loyal opposition instead of actively sabotaging his presidency, he could have done much more. But that’s not the way it happened.

Overall, Obama’s legacy was a calm between two storms, but otherwise somewhat of a centrist, neoliberal custodian. He was no liberal champion, to be sure.

And that’s what we need: someone who will not futilely pivot to the center-right in a vain and unsuccessful attempt to appease the uncompromising right wing, but rather someone who will move the dialog to the left, who will fight for the people before the corporations, who will move the national dialog back to the left even if—and probably especially because—they propose initiatives that are way too far to the left to ever get passed as proposed.

We don’t need someone who triangulates for the center in an attempt to appear not liberal. We aren’t the “Not Democratic” Party, were not “Not Liberals.” Right-wingers don’t try to run away from who they are, why should we?

We need someone with broad appeal and mature responsibility like Barack Obama, but what we really need is a liberal president—something we haven’t had for at least half a century. Someone who is marked by the fact that they fight for the people, they see to the people’s needs first and foremost, and don’t buy into the idea that corporations are the most important constituents.

So, no, Joe. Buttigieg is not Barack Obama, and neither are you—but we really don’t need an Obama, either, at least in terms of policy.

We need a strident liberal, an actual liberal, a good and balanced liberal such as we may not have seen since FDR himself.

That’s Why They’re Trying to Steal It

One more reminder: if your vote doesn’t count, then why are republicans striving so relentlessly to take it away from you?

Just yesterday, a conservative judge, who had ordered 200,000 likely Democrats to be purged from the voter rolls, doubled down and cited the election board for contempt for not caving in to a republican-led attempt to cage these voters and rob them of the legal rights. Members of the board were to be fined $250 a day until they stripped the right to vote from a group of people who are mostly democratic and legitimate.

Fortunately, they could—and did—appeal to a court that was not avidly playing for one side, and both the purge and the contempt charges were set aside.

For now, those 200,000 voters are hanging on to their right to vote… but conservatives are never going to give up on stripping democrats of their rights.

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