Democrats may think they’ve won something Tuesday night.
Oh don’t get me wrong, control of the House is better than not having control of the House. But they are about to be hit with the “McCain” problem and don’t realize it yet.
When control of a body is close—and 25 votes in the House is close—real power no longer resides with the majority, but with the tiny minority who can derail votes by either sitting them out or siding with the other side. Remember the Senate vote on Obamacare repeal? Remember John McCain’s “thumbs down?”
Or how about the vote on then Judge Brett Kavanaugh when it came down to the final confirmation? It all eventually hinged on a dispeptic, bitter, alienated Arizona loser and an out-of-the-mainstream Republican liberal. Yes, they made the right decisions, but it should never come to that with a “majority.”
The Democrats are about to learn there is a spider in their birthday cake. I cannot tell you the characteristics of this spider—whether it is the far-left lunatic fringe of the Democrat Party (no, I’m not repeating myself) or whether it might be a cadre of “somewhat” moderate/centrist representatives who just want to get reelected. Either group could seriously disrupt any Democrat agenda, if they manage to actually come up with something besides “Impeach!”
That said, Democrats are well-known for their iron discipline. In the 2009 Obamacare fight, Obama managed to bully more than half a dozen (supposedly) “pro-life” congressmen into supporting the health care bill. They all had to know they were committing political suicide, and all lost their seats. But Pelosi is not Obama, and it remains to be seen if, on a major issue where she leads a majority she can in fact bully her whackadoodle caucus.
Moreover, even in her sagging mental state, Pelosi has to know that nothing the House passes has a remote chance of gaining Senate support unless it is, well, reasonable. That is a foreign word to this crop of Democrats but we shall see.
Meanwhile, ballots are still being counted and re-counted around the country. In Arizona, over half a million votes are yet to be counted with Martha McSally (R) holding a slim lead over her Democrat opponent. Based on where the votes have come from, I think McSally will emerge the winner. If so, my senate projection of “4-7 pickups” will be barely reached. But for the Republicans, this was a mammoth blown opportunity. John Tester has no business ever winning an election in red Montana; in Ohio where the Republican congressmen held their seats and Mike DeWine won the governor’s race comfortably, Jim Renacci could not defeat Sherrod Brown; and in West Virginia, the amazing Joe Manchin hangs on like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible opener, clinging to a sheer cliff wall without breaking a sweat.
Even so, Republicans swapped out four Democrats and a neverTrumper Republican for solid Trump supporters in Indiana, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Dakota. And looking ahead to 2020, the Democrats know they are already sitting on one sure loss in Doug (“I didn’t get near no school yard”) Jones.
At any rate, Pelosi can spend two years attacking Trump and ensuring his reelection or she can craft some kind of useful legislation that adds to Trump’s luster and . . . ensures his reelection. It’s a great problem to have.
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House Republicans Hoping to Get Americans Back to Work By End of April
It’s a aspiration, not a plan.
House Republicans are considering plans that would help Americans get back to work by the end of the month. Kevin Brady of Texas told reporters on a conference call that the caucus is preparing preliminary plans that phase the workforce back in at the end of April.
“Our focus is on locking down the virus while we’re taking the steps now to prepare to reopen the economy by the end of the month if the virus permits.”
Brady was careful to qualify that there’s no guarantee the public health situation in the United States would allow such a development.
“I think we should all expect the jobs, the unemployment in the GDP numbers to feel brutal over the short term. It’s because they are. This economy is taking hits like we’ve not seen in most of our lifetimes. But it is just a short-term hit.”
Initial social distancing guidelines set forth by the White House in conjunction with the CDC were extended from two weeks to April 30th earlier in the week, suggesting the executive branch may be cautiously looking towards the end of April to begin phasing out the unprecedented disruptions to everyday American life.
It is worth noting that an early cease to social distancing and commonsense measures to deter the spread of the Chinese coronavirus could prove to be even more harmful than the negative impacts to the economy since the beginning of the virus-related recession. This can’t be rushed. But the consequences of the economic damage are real, and all Americans should look to get everyday economic life up and running against as soon as possible.
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