Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Difference Does It Make that Ossoff Lost?

UPDATE II: For another pitiless skewering of the Democrats, consult "Democrats Seethe After Georgia Loss: ‘Our Brand Is Worse Than Trump,’" by Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin:
Others in the party were far more caustic, calling Mr. Ossoff’s defeat a warning to Democrats who see red-tinged suburban districts as the keys to winning power, and saying that Ms. Pelosi would undermine the party’s candidates for as long as she holds her post.
I agree. Pelosi became Speaker after the Democrats took control of the House following the 2006 midterms. She brought the Dems back, the story went, because she ran Blue Dogs in the suburbs. Well, Ossoff is basically a Blue Dog, and he didn't win. Maybe if he had been an ex-football star the outcome would have been different.

In any event, even if the Dems can Blue Dog their way back to a majority in 2018, the base is hankering for new leadership right now. After decades of centrist messaging and the steady drift rightward into the suffocating embrace of Goldman Sachs, the Democratic rank'n'file is not going to achieve any climax until there is a Momentum-like purge of DNC apparatchiks.

Problem is there is really no way to accomplish this. So expect business as usual: more hearings about Russia, more unchallenged troop deployments abroad to an ever-expanding list of conflict zones and possibly the end of Medicaid.

It is going to take another Bernie run, and then Bernie being blocked again by the DNC, for the party of Jackson to finally, thankfully, come to an end.


UPDATE: An accurate yet scathing mainstream indictment of the Democrats post-Ossoff can be found in Rick Klein's "Democrats face disarray after going bust in Georgia":
Nancy Pelosi emerged as a more effective messaging foil for Republicans than Donald Trump was for Democrats. The Republican establishment effectively rallied behind its candidates despite Trump’s polarizing presidency and the continued concerns over his leadership from inside that establishment.
Democrats don’t have a cohesive message or a road map for arriving at one. They surely haven’t proved that the House will be in play in 2018 — though it may well be — and Trump and his GOP brethren now feel emboldened for their governing agenda in 2017.
“Race better be a wake up call for Democrats -- business as usual isn't working. Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future,” Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., tweeted Tuesday night, in a widely noted piece of commentary. “We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent not a smaller one.”

I work with a young guy. I think he has Asperger's. From what I can tell he stays somewhat informed of current events. Yesterday as we were getting ready to close the office I asked him if he had an opinion on the Ossoff race in Georgia's 6th CD. He said no. I was reminded of a laconic query he put to me last winter when it looked as if Marine Le Pen was a shoe-in to win the French presidency, prompting a spiel on my part about France leaving the EU. "What difference does it make?" he asked.

What difference does it make that Ossoff lost yesterday? For starters I think the chances of Trumpcare clearing the Senate improved exponentially. Republicans are going to stay firmly planted on Trump island as long as he continues to win. He inserted himself directly in Georgia's 6th CD, something he did in the primary as well, the race was a referendum on Trump, and the Republican Karen Handel won.

How bad Trumpcare will be is yet to be decided. We won't know, assuming McConnell gets something through the Senate, until the House-Senate conference reconciles the two versions. It will be bad, but maybe Medicaid will only be pared back and not turned into a block grant. If it is block-granted, it will pull down one of the pillars of the Great Society.

The GOP is probably smart enough to phase out Obamacare's Medicaid increases over a long period rather than taking a meat ax to the program immediately. The latter route guarantees Democratic takeover of Congress even if the Democrats are feckless.

Democrats in the Senate now will be under even more pressure to do whatever they can to block Trump given that Republicans are not going to abandon him anytime soon. There should be a complete change in messaging. Clearly the neo-McCarthyism has been a total failure. It is an enervating distraction that signifies nothing; enervating because the Democratic Party effectively no longer has a peace wing. What gave the party a competitive advantage in the past, going all the way back to '64 when LBJ disingenuously ran against Goldwater by saying he would keep the country out of war, is that it was the peace party; that, and it was the party of working class. Now it is neither.

As a commentator wrote on The New York Times website this morning:
The Democrat[s] didn't have a prayer. In the end, Americans want Trump, tax cuts for the wealthy and their Heath insurance rates to go up or...

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