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The End of Politics

November 20, 2018

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In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said: “One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, ‘You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.'” He was of course referring to Merrick Garland, who President Obama selected to replace Antonin Scalia, who died earlier in the year.

Then in 2017 McConnell said in reference to President Trump’s nominee Gorsuch, who’s appointment Democrats vowed to fight, “Apparently there’s yet a new standard now, which is not to confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all. I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate.”

Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled the state’s congressional districts an illegal gerrymander that violated the state’s constitution. The Republican-controlled legislature responded by attempting to impeach every member of the Court that voted for the decision.

And in state after state (Arizona, Florida, Maine) in this last election, Republicans went to court to sue to stop the counting of ballots.

Fast forward to last week, in an op-ed McConnell wrote on Foxnews.com, the headline was; Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?

I started writing a blog titled,” The End of Politics”, in 2016 when McConnell stated that he wouldn’t hold a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. But as I wrote it, I realized that I could have used the same title for McConnell when he vowed to stop all legislation and make Obama a one term president. It wasn’t so much about limiting the other party to one term, it was about refusing to cooperate on any legislation whatsoever, in the middle of a financial meltdown, just so the American people would blame President Obama and the Democrats.

In every instance, it has been party over government. Now any student of history will tell you that this is the way our politics have been played since the first Congress in 1774. Politicians have always put themselves and their party above the needs of the constituents.

Mitch may be the poster boy for bloodthirsty politics, but he’s certainly not the only one. The Republican controlled legislature in Wisconsin is now plotting to strip the powers from the incoming governor, a Democrat. They are taking a page from the North Carolina Republicans who also tried to strip powers from the incoming Democratic governor. The peaceful transition of power after elections is one of the hallmarks of a democracy. But democracy is not the game Republicans are playing.

From extreme gerrymandering, where in state after state the Republicans lose the popular vote only to control state house and senates, to Jim Crow era voter repression, Republicans have given up any pretense of democracy. Donald Trump declared during the 2016 election, “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win”. Democracy doesn’t matter, only power.

And that’s all that’s left of the Republican party, a simple grab for power. At any cost.

But you say, the Democrats still play by the rules, they accept losing elections even when they are stolen (Gore v Bush 2000) or when the vote is so obviously skewed to one party (Abrams v Kemp, Georgia Senate 2018) through fraud. Democracy cannot survive when one party plays by the rules and the other party does not. Because what will happen, is happening, is that the party that does not play by the rules will become more and more desperate as demographics work against them. There are only so many votes you can block, or elections you can steal, before people understand what you are doing. And vote against you. And if the numbers are large enough, the Republicans are going to lose.

They are well aware of that, and well aware that time is against them. What do they do in 2020 when we vote to replace the current occupant? Trump won the last election even though he lost the popular vote, and his popularity has only decreased since then. But Trump (with the Republicans in tow) has shown a propensity to use whatever is at his disposal to further his personal power.

You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once he’s out. And we can’t go back to a time when both sides played fair, when there were disagreements, yet policy was written. Neither side may have gotten everything they wanted, but they accepted that all sides needed to be represented.

For Republicans there is only one side, theirs. There is only one way, theirs. There is only one party, theirs. The party that gerrymanders districts, that suppresses votes, that sues to stop the counting of votes, is the party that can’t understand why the voters prefer to vote for Democrats.

All of this is a run up to the 2020 election. When Republicans from the president on down continually cry fraud when they lose an election, I can only imagine what will happen on election night when the returns come in badly for them.

And I can only hope our Democracy survives it.

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