Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Good News

(Update: Thanks again to Infidel753 for including this article in Crooks&Liars' Mike's Blog Round Up. I should mention this article is the twin article to a Bad News article that you might want to read to get a sense of balance on what's happening right now, thank you. Here's hoping things improve after January 20!)

After what needed saying earlier, here are the Good News

Despite all of trump's bluster, bullying, and open intent to disrupt the Electoral College count... and despite the Congressional Republicans' attempt to object to the results... The 2020 elections are finally done and Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States on January 20, 2021.

No matter what donald trump will attempt next to avoid what's coming for him - another coup attempt, another riot in Washington DC or elsewhere so he could declare martial law and suspend the whole government, declare war on Iran and impose emergency powers through that (even if that could work) - on January 20 he is officially out of office and can get dragged out of the White House by his diapers if need be. Anything trump could try to do to retain power - or embezzle, or straight-up steal from the federal coffers - will end the second Biden puts hand to Bible and swears the Oath of Office.

Granted, this means that between here and now trump can and will do anything like that to make sure he squeezes out the last penny he can get, but the odds already are that most of the Executive agencies are putting holds on any actions until the incoming Biden administration can sort things out.

In other news, the confirmation means Kamala Harris is the next Vice President. She will be the first woman elected on the Presidential ticket, albeit as the Veep. Harris will be the first woman President of the Senate, which has great significance which I'll get into later. She is the first bi-racial Veep, making her both the first Black American Veep (and second Black American winning the ticket since Obama) and the first Indian (Asian, not Native) American at that high an office.

The incoming Biden administration means we will be getting in 10 days a President who will take the COVID-19 Pandemic serious, and with luck control our nation's response in a more effective, swift manner than the incompetent trump.

In other political news, the seditious riot in Washington overwhelmed the news that Democrats in Georgia won both Senate race runoffs. Not only are two potentially corrupt Republican Senators out of office, but this means the Democrats hold a 50-50 split with Republicans for Senate control... which Kamala Harris makes a 51-vote "majority" as Senate President (the official title/duties of the VP).

This means that a more liberal agenda can get considered and even passed through Congress that otherwise would have been shut down by obstructionist Mitch McConnell had he retained a one-seat majority. It does depend on how the most conservative Dem left in the Senate - Manchin from West Virginia - will set the rules for the rest of his party to accept, but a lot of reforms to the existing health care system, voting rights, wages and employment help, student debt relief, energy and environmental policies, police reforms and social justice, and financial systems can get passed through the House and squeaked through that Senate.

It does depend on what happens to the filibuster and cloture rules - something that Manchin views as tools he still needs to hold influence above his fellow Senators - but the urgency in getting those bills passed during this pandemic crisis would make it likely a lot of it will get done.

Before I get any further, what happened in Georgia was historic and epic in their own ways. Raphael Warnock will be the first Black man elected to the Senate from that Deep South state (the first Black Democrat as well, although not the first Black Senator from the former Confederacy because Mississippi sent two during Reconstruction, and South Carolina has elected Republican Tim Scott in 2014 in a special election). Fellow Democrat Jon Ossoff is the first Jewish Senator elected from the Deep South since 1879.

Their victories matter a lot because they represent a significant shift in the voting demographics in Georgia. Ever since the party shifts of the Republicans going full Conservative since the 1990s, when they became dominant in the state and federal elections, this is the first crack in the Republican political control of the Southeastern U.S. region (AKA the Southern Strategy). Granted, Florida has fluctuated as a battleground state to where Dems have a chance to win, and the Republicans have lost Virginia since 2006. But Florida hasn't been considered a Deep South state since the population boom of the 1980s brought too many Northern liberals and Midwest moderates into the state. Virginia is now so much a part of the DC metro area - heavily liberal suburbs dependent on Federal largesse expanding into the northern counties - that the Conservative power base in that state can't compete. Getting a seriously Deep South state (from Louisiana through Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia and South Carolina) to flip Blue in major elections after 25-30 years of Red Conservative dominance is a sign the Far Right control of a heavily-populated region is about to collapse. That it's Georgia - the next-largest Electoral state behind Texas (which is divergent enough to be its own political ecosystem) and Florida - means the Republicans can plan on losing future Presidential bids for the 2020s decade and beyond.

The Georgia results is also major vindication for Stacey Abrams. Denied a win of the Governor's seat in 2018 due to ethically-questionable behavior from the Republican winner Kemp, Abrams took her national profile from that campaign and turned it into a voter-registration drive to break the GOP's voter suppression efforts and return more favorable results for her fellow Democrats. In the process, she demonstrated to the national Democratic leadership - which at times refuses to organize and recruit in states they felt were lost to them already - that YES it does matter to fight for every vote in every state, and has likely established to other state party leaders how to organize their own efforts to win in other hard Red states.

There are thousands of others in Georgia who worked hard to get the voters registered and motivated, and to her credit Abrams congratulates them as much as everyone else is congratulating her. Her celebrity stock among Democrats is sky high right now, she's proven herself a major player, and with luck she's converting her credibility among the leadership to expand the voter effort and seat challenges everywhere she can. If anyone can work to get more states to turn Blue, it's her.

Speaking of the DC Metro, one of the Democratic party agendas can well get passed within the first month of Biden's tenure: Statehood for DC and Puerto Rico. While these aren't popular issues with the nation at large - and heavily despised and dreaded by Republicans - these are key issues with Democrats looking at the big picture of Senate control. Right now, too many small population states - mostly in the Midwest - are heavily conservative and unlikely to consider Democratic choices for election. These small Red states have few residents, but will have outsized representation in a Senate that constitutionally grants every state Two Senators no matter what. This means roughly 30 percent of the nation's population gets 60-70 percent control of the Senate (another element of Minority Party Rule at the federal level). the demographic and geographic advantage of such skewed representation can hinder the American majority's needs to get things done (at all, given the GOP's obstructionist ways).

The recent trumpian assault on the nation's Capitol is another reason to expect Democrats to push for DC statehood right away: That lack of state-level control prevented the local authorities from aiding in either crowd control during the rally as well as stopping them from protecting the Capitol when the Capitol police got overwhelmed. DC's National Guard doesn't answer to the city, they answered to the DoD (which meant trump and his people benefited from them standing down: Congress had to get National Guard aid from Virginia and Maryland, and even then trump's Pentagon delayed Maryland's response). You can expect the Dems to proceed on granting DC statehood - that the local citizenry need to establish their own law enforcement and protect their own rights - on those grounds alone.

But what will happen with DC - and Puerto Rico - statehood is the expansion of the American charter to more diverse populations. DC is well-known as a Black-majority metropolis (although in truth the ethnicity is more even between Blacks and White in the last ten years of gentrification). Puerto Rico would become the first true Latino-majority state (98 percent!) in the U.S. (New Mexico would be closest at 42 percent). Entering both into the ranks of statehood would be major historical achievements for any Presidential administration (and we haven't done so since 1959).

Ironically, these moves for statehood might not resolve the Senate control in the Democrats' favor: Latinos in 2020 voted in surprisingly high numbers for Republicans, even in spite of the Republicans' harsh anti-immigration stances towards their very ethnic group. That's because the Latinos do not vote on any one singular issue, and are socially conservative on enough matters that Republicans still appeal to them. This would be interesting to witness down the line, but still this coming event should be considered good news for the betterment of the United States' soul.

We're also looking at the good news of Democrats pushing for voting rights laws to fill the void created by bad Supreme Court rulings and by decades' worth of Republican suppression. One thing I'm personally hoping for is a dedicated effort to kill off the Gerrymanders - used by battleground Red states to skew results and corruptly maintain Minority Party rule - and make more states competitive in elections. The Democrats need to, otherwise they run the risk of losing control of the House again like what happened in 2010.

Other good news to consider is that the United States can get back on good terms with our allied nations in Europe and Asia after four years of chaotic and harsh trumpian meddling. We can see the United States resume normal relations with Mexico - and see about undoing the ecological damage that trump's wall obsession had caused. We'll be rejoining the Paris Climate Agreements. We should see more efforts to spread high-speed Internet into rural areas (this would be a big deal where I live). 

We should see a lot of work done to investigate the horrors committed on immigrant and refugee families under trump's draconian rule. We can pray that many of the families pulled apart - and as many children wounded by trump's policies can be recovered - can be mended as best as possible under a more humane immigration system. Depending on if trump and his lackey Stephen Miller haven't blown it all up before Biden takes office.

A lot of this is still speculative. We have to see how things turn out on January 20 and from then on.

But we're facing a better future now than the chaotic uncertainty and violence of the trump regime.

Hope still matters.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Biden already announced his intention to move on immigration right away, I would imagine to address the atrocity that is Fergus' immigration situation.
Joe Manchin, and because of him Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney will all have way too much power in the upcoming administration, and I find all of them insufferable.
But we won, damn it. Now we have about one year to try and repair the damage and move on as much of our agenda as there is room for.
It's go time.

-Doug in Sugar Pine