Sad, just sad is the only way to describe it.
Aside from the stain last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol left on American politics, which has been thoroughly litigated by media over the past week, could there have been a dumber move tactically?
Even if you believed Donald Trump was wronged and the 2020 election was “stolen,” what was violence, loss of life and damage to public property on the grounds of the Capitol supposed to achieve?
Was the guy in the MAGA hat with the Confederate flag going to persuade Nancy Pelosi the Electoral College tally should be rejected?
There is no reason to waste ink speculating on what possible rationale was at play last week when America’s worst Civil War reenactors role-played the Storming of the Bastille on the way to overthrowing Louis XVI.
These acts of violence were something protesters on the left do. They burn down police precincts, riot and loot.
Republicans made headway during the 2020 cycle on that notion. Whatever one thinks of the Black Lives Matter cause, it had been branded in some voters’ minds as violent, a threat to property and associated with Democrats.
Whatever the reality is, the perception now is both sides engage in political violence. Be it Kenosha, Wisconsin, or Capitol Hill — no one can claim they are better than the other any longer.
In the interim, what now?
Democrats and other Trump opponents are set on punitive action. An example must be made by anything associated with the outgoing president.
In their view, not only must the events that happened last week on Capitol Hill never happen again, the entire Trump phenomenon must never happen again. Thus, they have proceeded with impeachment, shutting down websites and social media accounts.
Can that possibly work? Will those who voted Trump, some 70 million-plus, be shamed into submission?
Some will. Either out of shame or disgust with the situation, the so-called MAGA movement got smaller last week. If you supported a policy steeped in pro-American populism, you lost last week. That is the reality.
Democrats are probably making a grave miscalculation with a vindictive approach, though. There will be an element of that Trump electorate that will not go away, and the more severe the punishment, the more inflamed the response.
They can shout “insurrection” and “treason” all they want. Efforts to silence opposition through threats of boycotts or shutting down social media accounts will be temporary.
The political divisions in America will continue to exist, and it will continue to be difficult to govern for both Republicans and Democrats, regardless of who is in power.
Democrats seem to have grand ambitions — at least that was what they indicated on the campaign trail — universal health care, dramatic shifts in immigration policy, increased taxes on high-income earners, student debt forgiveness.
At the time, it seemed far-fetched. How could any of those Democrat presidential hopefuls make promises that will never see the light of day in Congress? Even if one of them were to win the presidency, it’s DOA in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.
Then there was Georgia. If you had Georgia going for Biden and electing two Democrat U.S. Senators before Nov. 3, you are genius. Republicans dropped the ball — pushing through two candidates who may have fit the Mitch McConnell pro-business Republican template, but were uninspiring.
Nov. 3 was not a mandate election. But Democrats can and probably will say, “Who cares? We won.”
Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden are in the twilight of their long and storied political careers. This is that final title run.
After Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president, they can end the filibuster. Shortly after that, they can grant statehood to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. After that, Democrats can figure out how to pack the courts — something Biden and Harris avoided discussing while on the campaign trail.
Republicans can’t count on West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. Yes, he is a moderate Democrat, but he seems to be only moderate for the sake of being flexible enough to score what is in his political interest or something that will benefit his state. (Sound familiar?)
Democrats may or may not succeed in achieving all those accomplishments, but it will not stop them from trying.
American politics is in flux. If Joe Biden wants to live up to the expectation things will calm down after Donald Trump leaves office, he will have to pump the brakes during the first 100 days.
The United States is the world’s leading superpower, despite the unrest. It is a haven for investors around the globe. Being the world’s reserve currency has allowed the United States to improve quality of life through economic prosperity. It has allowed the government to do a lot of things as well through borrowing.
If the world’s confidence in the United States collapses, those opportunities vanish. That can happen by trying to radically overhaul the country’s economy or jailing political opponents, which many on the left would like to see.
If you have rejoiced because America survived Trump — we best survive post-Trump as well.
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