The midterm elections are finally over, and we can finally get on to … no, not Thanksgiving and Christmas. We can get on to what we’ve all been waiting for – the 2020 presidential election campaign!
I wish I were kidding.
But, before that, a few observations in the rear-view about what
First, this was a record turnout for a midterm election – an estimated 113 million people voted. If nothing else, President Donald Trump gets credit for that. All the exit poll interviews proved it – it was all about him.
Another interesting element from exit interviews: All during this campaign I’ve been hearing about how disgusting it has been for Trump to campaign on fear. Yet again and again, what anti-Trump voters said motivated them most – besides their white-hot hatred of the president – was fear. They were “scared … terrified … afraid.”
Looks like both parties were campaigning on fear.
Jim Acosta of CNN should send Trump a thank-you card. The president has probably done more for his career than anything Acosta has done on his own.
In the latest dustup this past week, after Acosta framed yet another accusation of racism as a “question,” Trump called him a “rude … terrible person” and later revoked his White House press pass. That has made Acosta a hero, a darling. Look for a series of fawning, adoring interviews with him on various talk shows.
Because in spite of editorial pages coming down with the collective vapors over the incident, the ongoing meme that Trump is a threat to the free press is absurd. Yes, his rhetoric can be over the top, but President Obama – beloved by the media – was far more of a threat than Trump has been so far.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter James Risen wrote in The New York Times toward the end of the Obama presidency, “If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the FBI to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama.”
Risen knew first-hand. He was one of those targeted by Obama’s efforts to force journalists to reveal confidential sources.
Obama, who campaigned on protecting government whistle-blowers, instead used the Espionage Act to prosecute more leakers and journalists than all other presidents combined.
Most sane reporters would much rather be called an enemy of the people than actually be treated like one. When Trump starts doing things like that, perhaps it will be time to talk about a threat to the free press.
This was a blue ripple but not even close to an historic “wave” election. Republicans lost 30 House seats but gained two Senate seats. Two years into President Obama’s first term, Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.
Still, a win is a win. Power is power.
House Democrats now take control of all the committee chairmanships. The speaker will be a Democrat, whether it’s that old, multimillionaire, white woman Nancy Pelosi or somebody younger and more “diverse.”
So, Democrats, it would be nice if you would use that power to go beyond campaign rhetoric and start legislating – that is your branch after all.
Immigration: You’ve been telling us for the entire Trump presidency that the enforcement of existing immigration laws is racist and “not who we are as Americans.” It is time to put away that and other gauzy phrases like “humane border enforcement,” and begin to govern.
What do those phrases actually mean when it comes to people crossing our borders illegally, for whatever reason? Put it in writing, bring it to the floor and vote on it.
The environment: According to you, Trump and his fellow Republicans are destroying the earth. It’s an emergency. Climate change is manmade. Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement was catastrophic. It’s time to move past fossil fuels to nonpolluting alternatives.
So, start filing bills that will rescue the earth. Ban drilling for oil. Heck, ban the use of oil and any other fossil fuels. Or, make that a goal five years from now and in the interim impose a major carbon tax that will reflect what you think is the “true cost” of using fossil fuels.
Add a surtax on all the people who drive those gas-guzzling pickup trucks and monster SUVs – but don’t forget to exempt yourselves.
Healthcare/taxes: You’ve been saying things are terrible in the U.S. – that the country is moving in the wrong direction – because government isn’t big enough and doesn’t “invest” in more benefits for its citizens, like single-payer health care, that supposedly won’t cost them anything.
And that, of course, is because the rich aren’t paying their fair share.
So, stick it to the rich. Make them pay. Take a page from Obama, who famously said, “At some point you’ve made enough money,” which by implication says government should decide how much you’re allowed to keep of what you’ve made.
So, decide what’s enough – $1 million? Surely $5 million will put you in the 1 percent. So file a bill that says so and confiscates every cent beyond that.
Keep in mind that if you want to avoid looking like rampant hypocrites, that will have to apply to your beloved billionaires like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg, not to mention quite a few of you, including Pelosi.
Yes, the president will surely veto it. It will never make it through the Senate. But you will have demonstrated that you are serious, and that if voters will just give you both houses of Congress and the presidency in 2020, that’s what you’ll do.
I won’t be holding my breath.
Taylor Armerding is an independent columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org