Monday, August 01, 2016

The Scenarios 2016 Edition

(Update: Thank you again, Infidel753, for your linkage from your blog!)

For the 2012 election - four years could not have passed that quickly, did it? - I gamed out the end of the Presidential and Congressional election between Obama and Romney, and what each scenario meant for the nation. So for 2016 I should do the same.

There's really only four variations at the end of November 8th:

Trump wins

In this scenario, I don't even have to consider the variances for Congress (with both houses currently under Republican control). If Trump wins, it will happen through a form of deceit and voter suppression on a scale certain to cover the entire Republican ticket. I mean, there is a likelihood the Democrats could win the Senate in a fair fight. But if Trump wins, there was no fair fight: there was either massive lies towards the voters, a massive smear campaigning, massive blocking of voters at the booths (which is now less likely thanks to the courts tossing out horrific voter ID laws), or outright fraud (which is now an issue regarding Russian hacking, if they can get at our electronic ballot machines).

No, in this situation Trump wins with every likelihood he'll have a Republican Congress winning with him. And if that happens we are all screwed.

The most obvious point is that the Supreme Court falls under Far Right control for another generation. The Republican Senate has kept that one vacancy open for just that. Given that Clarence Thomas is already talking retirement regardless who wins, that's another seat to fill. There's still other Justices - Ginsburg, Kennedy, Breyer - well past retirement age who can either die in office like Scalia or retire. There's at least three seats the next President can fill. And if it's Trump with a Republican Senate those seats will all be Far Right acolytes with even fewer scruples and more conservative ire than Scalia.

The federal budget is the next obvious. Despite all of Speaker Ryan's rationalizations, we're talking about one of the most severe slashing budgets we have ever seen, a budget that would cut into the social safety net for families while giving large tax breaks to the extremely wealthy. With Trump there to sign pretty much any paper shoved in front of him, the GOP Congress gets what they finally want: Kansas on a national scale.

Not to mention every WORST CASE SCENARIO that everyone else on the planet is pointing out will happen with a Trump administration, and we are looking at the darkest hour in American History.

Hillary Wins, Republicans Retain Control of the Senate, Republicans Retain Control of the House

In this scenario, we get pretty much the current status quo: a Democrat in the White House and Republicans on the Hill.

This is possible if the Republicans retain enough party discipline to separate Trump like a cancer from the rest of their ticket. It'll be hard - as they are likely losing the independent non-party voters fleeing from Trump's demagoguery - but possible. The House will be easy to keep thanks to gerrymandering, but the real trick will be to save enough GOP Senators in Blue or battleground states to maintain a 51-seat control.

If this happens, we are at least saved from the disaster of what a Trump presidency would inflict on the world. We would not, unfortunately, be saved from the disaster of a Republican-led Congress.

We'll still have a Republican-controlled House filled with enough Far Right backbenchers spoiling for a fight that any sensible bipartisan work on a budget will be impossible. We'll still have a Republican-controlled Senate that is going to come up with more excuses to avoid filling Supreme Court seats, or else "Bork" every Hillary nomination until she surrenders and nominates Scalia clones.

And that's not getting into the likelihood of this Republican Congress starting up every possible investigation into every little thing Hillary does just to stir up sh-t and find an excuse to impeach. We've seen it before... we've seen it since 1993 for God's sake.

It'll be the last eight years of Republican Obstruction against Obama... only with anger and vitriol towards a woman instead of a black man. /headdesk

Hillary Wins, Democrats Gain Control of the Senate, Republicans Retain Control of the House

The polling models and predictions lean this way, although nothing is certain in life except death, taxes, and Republican Ignorance. But I digress.

The likelihood is strong because there are more Republican Senators up for election than Democratic (24 to 10) meaning more odds they lose seats just on the statistical norms. Throw in half of those seats are in Blue or battleground states and there's a good chance Democrats can eke out a 52-seat control.

This can be a marked improvement for the Democrats, and especially for Hillary. This would give them the ability to fill that vacant SCOTUS seat with a Far-Left/Center-Left Justice that would reliably flip the Court Center-Left for at least the next ten years. They'd be able to fill more Appellate level Judicial openings as well, and hopefully a lot of Executive branch positions that the Republicans have refused to fill the last two years (or even longer given their history of Secret Holds). And if any Supreme Court Justices retire (or, sad to note, pass away) within the coming session, Hillary can lock a Left-Leaning Court for decades.

The Senate Republicans could try to obstruct those fillings with Secret Holds, but in an era of Hillary - who is Active-Negative enough to force the issue - what would happen is a major rewrite of Senate rules to weaken those Holds into nothingness (it'd upset Democratic Senators who fear the precedence will come back to hurt them, but Hillary and other Senators angry at all the delays will do this to break the logjam).

The bad news in this scenario is that the Republicans will retain control of the House. And the House has Constitutional powers to make life miserable for Hillary and the Dems. For starters, they can still call their own investigations into every little thing Hillary does just to harass her administration into inaction. Above all, they still retain power of the purse: all budgets by law have to originate from the House, meaning Ryan is going to keep pushing his slash-and-drown tax-cut agenda (just as long as he's still in the Speakership role...). Getting a bipartisan compromised budget through would be a nightmare.

Hillary Wins, Democrats Gain Control of the Senate, Democrats Gain Control of the House

This is the unlikeliest scenario simply because gerrymandering is such a bitch. Pardon my Klingon.

This really only happens where the Republican voter base - discouraged by a vile Trump campaign - fails to turn out in sufficient numbers across all districts and allows a more vigorous Democratic turnout - in a situation where voter suppression efforts fail and/or independent voters reject the GOP in toto - to pick up wins in GOP-leaning districts.

This would create a brief flurry of celebration among Democrats and likely a period of quick legislative activity during the first three months of 2017. To Republican horror, there would likely be a reconfirmation of Obamacare with major reforms put in place to fix the gaps the system is showing: Most likely a hard Medicaid program that Red states CAN'T reject and a Public Option of some kind to bring health care closer to universal coverage.

The budget plans will likely include the tax hikes on upper incomes that the Democrats have been pushing for since 2008 (and haven't been able to secure due to Senate Cloture and Holds before 2010 and GOP House control ever since). Again, any attempt this time by Republican Senators to block tax hikes will get cut down by Democrats tired of all that obstructing.

As noted in the earlier scenario, Judicial and Executive vacancies across the board will get filled.

Some but not all of the progressive agenda Bernie Sanders put on the Democratic platform will get passed. The Far Left will get pissy about it, but whatcha gonna do? The smart move by Hillary will be to pass something to strengthen banking regs and make Wall Street accountable for their sins of the last fifteen years, which would appease most of the progressive base (until 2020).

The response of the Far Right - among the hard cases still in office because gerrymandering kept them in the safest of districts, or because they're safe in their cable network studios - will be one of howling rage. They never accepted Obama's victories and will never accept Hillary's (or any other Democrat's). We're already getting complaints by Trump and other conspiracy-minded wingnuts that "this election is rigged" and so will ensure continued faux outrage over their losses. Any state under Far Right control is going do what they've threaten to do during the Obama years: they will pull every legal trick to "nullify" federal laws and regulations, and bring up any and every argument to (yes, they would go there) secede.

Even with a full Democratic ticket victory, the fighting will not end. Even if it's an Electoral curb-stomp equal to what Reagan inflicted on Mondale in 1984, even if Democrats win every Senate campaign, even if Democrats win 20-plus seat control of the House, the Republicans will never accept it. It doesn't fit their Almighty Fox Not-News Narrative.

The best thing to hope for is that Hillary does win, and with enough of a mandate to continue improving our nation's economy and doing something to generate more jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries (hopefully something along the lines of repairing our broken bridges and roads and building new schools).

So, to summarize: Please for the LOVE OF GOD don't let Trump Win. That is the pure nightmare scenario. Please get the vote out for Hillary Clinton and PLEASE get the vote out for the Senate and House elections and even state legislative elections to reduce the risk of state Republicans going full John C. Calhoun on us.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

I agree with your assessment, and would like to add one thing: We need to focus on the various statehouses so that by 2020 we get to draw the new districts. This is right up there with the supreme court in its importance to the governing of the country. If we can't get out and out wins in all of the states, perhaps we can push nonpartisan independent commissions like we have in California, as that would be more fair than just having us doing the gerrymandering instead of them.

-Doug in Oakland