An internal debate has broken out in the Democratic Party in light of the mixed results of the November elections. Some moderates have argued that progressive ideas like Medicare For All and the Green New Deal hurt down ballot Democrats. In addition, there is concern that the GOP’s phony charge that Democrats want to defund the police was another factor in the outcome of the election.
The reality is that the reasons for the mixed bag for down ballot Democrats are multi-factorial in nature — you can’t point to any one factor. What actually occurred is that the Republicans recruited a lot of good female candidates and ran better campaigns. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans went door to door despite the pandemic. What’s more, over $2 trillion in stimulus prevented another economic depression and propped up Trump’s approval ratings on the economy.
What has gotten lost in this discussion is that the Republican Party is the true radical party in the U.S. Prominent political scientist Norm Ornstein accurately (and presciently) described the GOP as follows in 2012: “The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges.”
As a starting point, Trump and the Republicans’ refusal to recognize Joe Biden’s decisive victory indicates that they no longer believe in democracy and majority rule. The Washington Post recently contacted all of the current GOP members of Congress. Only 27 out of 229 members who responded believe that Joe Biden won. The only members of the Nebraska delegation who recognize reality in this instance are Ben Sasse and Don Bacon.
The GOP’s refusal to accept the outcome of the presidential election sets a chilling precedent for the future. Any Republican who accepts a Democratic victory in an election in the future will probably face a primary challenge from the radical right. Moreover, any Republican who loses an election — like Trump — will file countless frivolous lawsuits and appeals to steal the election. This refusal by most D.C. Republicans to accept the outcome of the presidential election doesn’t bode well for the Biden Administration and the American people.
If the likes of McConnell, Fischer, Fortenberry and Smith can’t accept the election results, they will not be cooperating with the Biden Administration in ending the pandemic and fixing the economy. Nebraska’s Congressional delegation will most likely join McConnell in a toxic attempt to obstruct Biden and wreck the country in an effort to regain power. It’s rule or ruin for the Republican Party.
If the GOP succeeds in regaining power, it would be another disaster for the country. It is no coincidence that this is the second consecutive Republican administration to lead the United States into disaster. This is the direct result of the GOP’s bankrupt governing philosophy that rejects science, expertise and government itself. The Republicans like to tell us that government doesn’t work and then they wreck government in order to prove it.
Republican policies when in power stem from their fervent belief that rich people don’t have enough money and that the poor and middle class have it too easy. The following Republican policies since 2009 are evidence of this belief:
- They voted over sixty times to take away insurance from 20 million people and end pre-existing condition protections. D.C. Republicans even voted to do this during a deadly pandemic!
- The GOP voted numerous times to turn Medicare into a voucher system to fund a tax cut for the wealthy.
- The failed 2017 tax cuts provided 80% of the benefits to the top 1%. The tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations are permanent and the middle class tax cuts expire beginning as early as next year.
- The Republicans in Congress shutdown the government in 2013 and again in 2019–20. In 2011, they threatened to stiff America’s creditors. This procedural radicalism was aimed — in part — at cutting programs like the ACA, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
A revealing way to evaluate the GOP’s radicalism is to compare them with other major conservatives parties in the modern, 1st world democracies. The Republican Party is the only major conservative party that doesn’t believe in universal health coverage, the science behind climate change, gun safety laws and marriage equality.
The Democratic Party is also quite reasonable when we are compared to the modern GOP. Like every other major party in the 1st world, the Democratic Party believes in universal access to health care, fighting global warming, banning guns designed to hunt down people, as well as social justice and equality for all Americans.
As Democrats, it’s our duty to compare our reality based platform to the dangers posed by today’s extreme GOP. If we can do that, I am optimistic about the future of the country.
We won a big victory in 2020 by knocking off Trump but our work isn’t done. We simply can’t afford to take a day off. We must remain united and continue to work for Democratic candidates. There are important city elections in Omaha and Lincoln in 2021. If we get a good result in these contests, we will lay the foundation for more success in 2022. Let’s get it done!