January 23, 2022

The midterm elections are now overshadowing everything

When it comes to whether the Democrat-controlled Congress will succeed in launching another round of stimulus checks for the midterm elections later this year, here’s the rather perverse state of affairs that dominates everything right now.

No one says this out loud, but it actually works out well for the Democrats if they do not get their affairs in order and realize more controls. And the same goes for Republicans. Why? Because again, this is a midterm election year. And while achieving policy gains is always important, at the moment that’s also something else: the presence of a villain that both sides can point to. Instead of doing the hard stuff of actually legislating, it’s much easier to do the other thing. To say, aha, you see – we are all that stands between you and the savages on the other side. They are the reason you don’t have more stimulus checks, not us. Same with the quixotic reform of voting President Biden has given up the stimulus controls to pursue. Gosh, we just can’t get anything done because the other side is so bad. And that’s why you need to bolster us in the midterm elections.

The crazy season begins

Republicans Will Unite Against Biden’s Freedom to Vote Act. And Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will refuse to support a change to the filibuster rules that would obviate the GOP’s opposition. Democrats bereft of new wins, but both sides with something valuable in their own way:

When it’s too hard to get what you want in politics? Make sure you have a bad guy to blame. Otherwise, you risk looking completely out of control during this fall’s midterm elections — and voters will regret giving you control of Congress. Something the Democrats seem to be increasingly aware of.

  • All Democrats in the Senate are concerned about delivering on our promises,” Senator Elizabeth Warren told axios. “We know what is at stake. And we’re working hard to find a path to get there. But it is difficult.”
  • sen. Bernie Sanders told the Guardian “It’s absolutely important that we do a major course correction… People can understand that sometimes you don’t have the votes. But they don’t understand why we haven’t put forward significant legislation that 70 or 80 percent of the American people support.”

The midterm elections are coming

With the first year of the Biden administration now officially on the books, take stock of that 12-month period and see as many missed opportunities and unforced mistakes as outright wins.

An important benchmark for inflation, for instance, peaked at 39 years this week. Biden went from promising on the campaign trail in 2020 that he would “turn off the virus” to his acting FDA commissioner telling Congress this week that “most people will get COVID.”

Meanwhile, the mismatch between what democratic leadership stands for and what ordinary voters want could hardly be greater. Have you done anything about the infrastructure? You’re trying to pass a voting rights law? Okay, but you also control Congress. Where is my stimulus check?

Oh, that’s right, it’s Joe Manchin’s fault. It’s the other man’s fault. What else is new. Perhaps the Bard was really on to something in his piece on Julius Caesar—the one with that famous line, that the fault was not in our stars, but in ourselves. Or, in this case, in our out-of-touch, finger-pointing politicians.

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