Sunday, October 16, 2016

What If: Hillary Wins AND Gets a Friendly Congress for 2017

I've speculated already about how it would look if Donald Trump won the Presidency.

It wasn't pretty. And my speculation wasn't the only one.

So, with Trump now stuck in polling below 40 percent and the likelihood Hillary secures all of the Obama 2012 states (plus Arizona and North Carolina and MAYBE Georgia, Texas and Utah!), we now need to speculate about what it would look like if Hillary won.
I will keep Texas - barely - on the Republican side, but if Latino
turnout rocks that house, it would be an epic GOP collapse.
I REALLY want Georgia to flip Blue...
Click the map to create your own at

Okay, Republicans, deep breaths, stop panicking, oh c'mon for the love Flying Spaghetti Monster you SURVIVED Bill and Obama for decades, settle the hell down...

Anyway, previous prediction of post-election posing was that if Hillary wins but Republicans retain control of Congress, we'll likely be in the same obstructive gridlock the GOP has enforced on this nation since 2010 (and in a lesser form in 2009 when they abused Cloture rules in the Senate). Given the outright hatred the Republicans will have towards Hillary - and their belief that they have enough "criminal" charges on her - the possibility of constant Congressional investigations into every little move she makes is a near-lock.

On the bright side, the likely scenario is that the Republicans can lose the Senate - out of 34 seats open, the numbers suggest the Democrats can pull off a 52-54 seat majority - giving Democrats a chance to break the gridlock on Supreme Court nominations and other Judiciary/Executive vacancies that are in dire need of filling.

While the polling doesn't reflect any serious victory for Democrats in flipping the House, this is a "What If" scenario so let's go there: What if Trump's anger towards the GOP Establishment convinces his voting base to reject the down-ballot tickets to where Republicans lose a lot of seats? What if, thanks to a divided Republican party, the House goes from 234 Republicans over 201 Democrats and goes 220 D - 215 R?

It's not much, it'll be a slim hold on the House of Representatives, and there's always a chance some Democrats will vote against the party line - in this situation the backbenchers will have disproportionate control on some issues - but this version of the universe will give Hillary a Congress basically willing to grant her as much of her agenda as she'll want.

What does that actually mean?

Hillary's platform would be called a standard "liberal" agenda. She's on record supporting a Public Option fix to the ACA (Obamacare), a massive infrastructure budget to repair our aging highways and bridges, closing tax loopholes for the rich and for corporations, protecting Planned Parenthood, and boosting public education. Her biggest controversial issue is over gun safety laws that the NRA would never accept.

What we'd likely see in 2017 with Hillary and a Democratic Congress is a sweeping stimulus package covering massive construction projects - road, bridges, transit systems, schools, power grids - combined with moderate hikes in the tax rates for upper income earners (and possibly forcing the megacorps into bringing back all those tax dollars they're hiding overseas) to pay for it. While the Republicans will squeal in outrage over it and may try to block it in the Senate, there's every likelihood Hillary - using that Johnson-esque A-N worldview of hers - will get it pushed through.

The question will become "what impact will Hillary and the Democrats - no longer restrained by conservative austerity anti-spending efforts - have on the overall economy of the next four years?"

This is key, because economic performance is ALWAYS the best way for a sitting President to win a second term. As long as the economy works or improves, the incumbents are safe. Only during economic uncertainty - especially major downturns like a Recession similar to 2008's - will the sitting party get hit with electoral losses.

As long as Hillary can build on the slow rebuilding that Obama oversaw and lowers the unemployment down to a health 4 percent while seeing gains in wages and reductions in personal debts -THIS is what Hillary and the Democrats should focus on - then she's a lock to win a second term in 2020 (despite the fantasies of the GOP, more on that later).

So I would totally predict a Hillary administration is going to see a long, stretched-out battle against the banks by the Democrats to work on cutting back on debt-causing matters like college loans, mortgages, and the like.

There's also the likelihood of long, stretched-out battles against any Republican-controlled state government over state-level funding issues and economic cost-of-living issues surrounding city/county zoning laws (that last part might even involve a few Democratic states too).

In terms of domestic policy, the Pro-People agenda that Obama solidified in 2011-12 will made concrete. Gay Marriage and other Gay/Transgender rights under a full Democratic federal government will be made moreso, even against any Republican state-level obstruction like the "bathroom safety" and "gay cake" laws. Hillary is bound to fill more court vacancies - even Supreme Court ones - with Left-leaning progressive justices, adding to the Right-leaning (but not wingnut) judges already placing small-c conservative rulings on these issues. There's also increased odds of better pro-Women rulings on birth control, health care, child care and job protection/wage improvements. As well as the likelihood civil rights for Blacks, Latinos and minorities in general will be safe for the next decade (and one day permanent).

On foreign policy, Hillary will deal on fair terms with her allies without fear of a Republican Senate trying to knee-cap her. She is more aggressive on foreign issues which may mean an increase in direct interventions with land troops, but she may be tempered by a more Progressive Congress - especially in the House - that would seek to clamp down on any military misadventures.

Whether Hillary continues some of Obama's more questionable practices - especially drone "warfare" and the surveillance state - depends entirely on Congress. It is up to Congress to set the laws on these matters, and one hopes that a more Left-leaning legislature will set stricter guidelines and oversight. But let's be honest: every President - even Obama, and he's a good guy - cannot willingly give up such legally grey powers. It's going to be a fight if the Progressives push this issue.

While all this happens, you can guarantee the Far Right media will not roll over and play dead. Fox Not-News, Rush, Drudge, every wingnut with a video stream and a book deal is going to be at DefCon 1 claiming Hillary is destroying America. The other media outlets - CNN, MSNBC, ESPN - may find themselves at war with conservative talking heads trying to dominate for air time on the nightly roundtables, but if they have any sense or decency the major outlets need to ween themselves off that Far Right Noise and invite actual experts to their shows anymore. If we're lucky, a Democratic sweep this November might wipe out every favorite Congressional Republican guest - sorry, McCain - and force the networks to invite more elected Democrats for a change.

To anybody who thinks a Hillary win combined with a Democratic Congressional win is going to lead to the End Times: yeah, stop listening to the wingnuts. We've seen years of Democratic control - 2009 to 2010, 1993-1994 - and we never had A) massive arrests of all citizens, B) alien takeovers, C) the Rapture. Lighten the fuck up, wingnuts. Hillary may be talking about gun safety laws but that doesn't mean SHE'S COMIN TO TAKE OUR GUNZ. Hillary can't abolish the 2nd Amendment - that takes Congress, two-thirds of both houses, AS WELL AS two-thirds of the states - so take that fantasy off the list. At WORST you gun-nuts, Hillary is going to press for a re-interpretation of that amendment to recognize gun safety ("well-regulated") outweighs unlimited gun usage ("shall not be infringed"). What Hillary's gonna do is make it harder for the NRA to turn a profit on our kids getting shot.

The concerns about militia violence are legit, but we should recognize that a mass majority of Americans are not THAT violent. Losing the Presidential race may cause a lot of sound and fury, and of course losing Congress will make it worse, but it will only go so far. The wingnuts will talk about coups and secession and whatnot, but most of them will just go home and gripe about how bad it all is and wait for the next scandal to prove themselves right (note: there may be certain circumstances that might escalate that from talk to action...). That said, I hope the FBI and Homeland Security redouble their efforts on tracking and shutting down the homegrown terror militia groups already waging war on our nation.

So that's how it will kind of look once 2017 rolls onto the computer clocks.

It also depends on if that year's summer blockbuster lineup will be actually any fun. For that I will blame Obama, though.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

I think it could depend on the senate, like last time. I don't know whether we could count on another 111th congress, but as I remember, Pelosi got almost the entire Obama agenda passed, after which much of it died in the senate. Without a similarly strong speaker, the situation could reverse this time.
What we really need to do is figure out how to stop losing mid-term elections (this will be even more crucial should we fail to flip the house this time.)

-Doug in Oakland