Because Democrats are so bad at politics, we’re probably less than a decade from “The Handmaid’s Tale” turning out to be a clairvoyant documentary.
While Republicans have appointed their second Supreme Court justice in as many years, the leaders of the Democratic Party are still sniveling over the erosion of civility and political norms instead of crafting a coherent message for the November midterms or 2020 elections.
During Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination hearings, Democratic lawmakers were still crying about congressional Republicans’ obstruction of Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. They actually tried turning Republicans’ own argument back on them, that the Kavanaugh nomination should be stalled until after the midterms.
As if Mitch McConnel was sincere in arguing that the people should have a voice in the nomination via voting. As if Republicans hadn’t already proven themselves willing to ignore their stated values when politically advantageous a thousand times over. As if they didn’t just elect a president who leads a less Christlike life than Charles Manson.
Yes, Republicans cravenly stole a Supreme Court seat. That’s because they understand the point of political power, and that it’s not about being fair to people whose platform and ideology you’d like to see swept into the dustbin of history.
Power in American politics means winning control of the government through an earnest platform of ideological red meat and policies that would advance the interests of your base.
Then, it means extracting as many concessions from the other side as possible by any means available. It means crushing them totally, ceding no ground and keeping them impotent and out of power for as long as possible with no concern for fairness.
But not, infuriatingly, to Democrats. They remain focused on pointing out hypocritical rhetoric, even while on the losing side of the power dynamic described above.
They think if they own Republicans hard enough on Twitter and C-Span, conservatives and the political actors who view President Trump as a useful idiot for their imposition of corporate oligarchy
and Christian theocracy will reverse their entire worldview through the realization that Trump is a mean and dishonest person.
They know. They don’t care. They never will.
Backing Trump was a completely rational choice to advance their interests, and it’s a deal with the devil that’s paying off in spades.
They’re getting their desired tax breaks, trade wars, state-sponsored racism and abortion restrictions, and now their will is going to be imposed on the rest of us through Supreme Court decisions for at least a generation.
And it’s not as if Democrats are totally innocent of overturning norms when politically convenient. Harry Reid, slightly more realistic in his outlook on power but woefully shortsighted when executing it as Senate majority leader, eliminated filibusters on most federal appointments in 2013.
Republicans now enjoy that advantage and have expanded it in a far savvier way to include Supreme Court nominees: lifetime appointments. For at least the next 30 to 40 years, even when in power, Democrats won’t be able to undo the damage of Republican control of the Supreme Court.
If Democrats don’t come to terms with the fact that their leadership’s childish obsession with civility and fairness could destroy their entire political project, then the party is unsalvageable.
If they don’t recognize this by 2020, they’ll make a naïve attempt at a unity ticket to heal the nation and restore order or some other such nonsense.
They will nominate for president some milquetoast centrist like Michael Bloomberg, who presciently just switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic. He will lose to Nikky Hailey if Trump doesn’t seek reelection, or to Trump if he does because like all centrists, Bloomberg believes in nothing and appeals to no one.
If this happens, Republicans would then nominate at least two more Supreme Court Justices and elect Hailey as the first woman president, either in 2020 or 2024. Roe v. Wade will be gone by then, and conservatives would continue using their power to suit their anti-multiculturalist purposes, intensify class warfare against working people and finally strangle the last bit of life out of organized labor.
In November and in 2020, vote for real progressives who demonstrate an understanding of how to gain and exploit real political power to win some battles in the culture war and advance the interests of the many, and not just the few.