Fayette County News

Fayette County


GOP: Some short-term success, probable long-term failure

Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for Georgia.
Jack Bernard, a retired SVP with a large national healthcare firm, has worked extensively with hospitals across the nation regarding cost containment and insurance. He was also the first Director of Health Planning for the state of Georgia.

“For the loser now will be later to win. For the times they are a-changin” – Bob Dylan

The Trump GOP is a “go it alone” group. No reaching across the aisle for them. Look at how hard it is to even get DACA (the Dreamers) up for a vote. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell don’t want it to be voted on because they know it will pass, with moderate GOP support.
So far, this tactic has been shown to produce virtually nothing positive in regard to furthering the GOP’s policy agenda, with the exception of the very unpopular tax cut (surveys show Americans, correctly, believe it primarily benefits the wealthy). Further, long term this strategy is sure to come back and burn them.
However, under Mitch McConnell the Republican Party was going that direction long before Trump. Look at what happened to the Obama Supreme Court nomination of a well-qualified moderate candidate, stalled for nearly a year in a purely political move so that the court would move further right. Mitch won that battle but is going to lose that war when the Democrats eventually take the Senate in 2018 or 2020…and then refuse to approve any SCOTUS nominees of a GOP President.
The American public is fed up with these tactics. They want cooperation between the parties. And, they are tired of Trump’s antics.
The recent WSJ-NBC poll shows the public believes a check on Trump is needed. An astounding 58 percent disapprove of his performance, including 57 percent of independents. Only 34 percent of independents approve of him, and that is the group deciding the next election.
This finding is consistent with a WP-ABC poll (11-1-17) in which 58 percent of those polled approved of Mueller’s efforts. Further, 49 percent believe Trump committed a crime (versus only 44 percent who think he did not).
At the same time, enthusiasm is up among Democrats who believe that they were cheated out of the Presidency by both Russia and the undemocratic Electoral College (once again). Congress and the Presidency is theirs to lose over the next few years.
Of course, to a large extent the Democrats cheated themselves out of the White House and Congress by: A) not voting in key elections; B) failing to win state legislatures resulting in anti-Democrat gerrymandering (the GOP thanks you, Obama); and C) having a rigged 2016 Presidential primary process (per Donna Brazile). The Democrats worst enemy has always been themselves.
To be sure, the Democrats are facing other obstacles over the next few years. As was true of the GOP under Obama’s reign, the Dems do not have a clear leader or a policy platform other than to oppose Trump, a particularly unpopular President.
There is a clear tendency for the Dems to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. However, my belief is that these Democrat shortcomings will be overcome, not because of their actions, but rather the failings of Trump and the GOP Congress. I will get out my crystal ball and tell you how.
Manafort, Flynn, and many others are caught up in the Russia probe. Facing conviction on various felonies, they will be asked to turn on Trump. Instead, Trump will pardon them before they can do him more harm (Giuliani has essentially stated this). He will also once again ignore his advisors and remove Mueller.
Because they are self-serving, the GOP Congress (if it is GOP dominated, which is not a certainty any more) will not impeach Trump. Congressional Republicans are scared to death of the base, roughly only a third of the general election voters. But these Trump supporters are the dominant force in GOP primaries, as Sen. Flake can attest given his decision to retire rather than face them.
The base will stick with the GOP and Trump, but these actions will be viewed with extreme distaste by moderates and independents, the ones who decide the outcome of elections in swing districts and purple states. This dissatisfaction will be turned into tremendous electoral gains by Democrats, assuming they somehow manage to avoid shooting themselves in the foot once again by running poor candidates like Hillary.
Certainly, electoral gains by the Dems are not inevitable. But, if the GOP listens only to the base, which is convinced that all the polls (except Rasmussen, a right-wing propaganda machine) are biased and cannot be believed, it is evident that there will be almost certain political disaster for the Republicans. The real question facing Congressional Republicans is: “what will the GOP do to have a different result”? However, the even larger issue for the few remaining Republicans like me who are fiscal conservatives and social progressives, the opposite of the Trump base, is when will the party of Lincoln and Ike finally return to America?