If we don't flip the senate nothing changes
Updated: Oct 31
He Hasn't Lost Yet
Rightly or wrongly, Democrats are nervous about the Biden/Harris ticket winning on November 3rd. Despite the polls telling us that Biden is up by "x" percent, most living outside the pundit circle, (i.e., on "main street") (i.e., "the Costco-shopping, homeschooling, confused-about mask wearing" world) don't believe the polls. One reason: we're talking to family and friends who still support Trump and have found that there's no changing their minds. Once again, there may be a Trump vote beyond the Maga-hat crowd.
So, while media outlets focus on the presidential race and the importance of winning the White House, grassroots organizations are laser focused on Democrats winning the U.S. Senate in order to be a check on a potential second Trump term. If Mitch McConnell remains in control of the Senate, Trump will follow through on his many threats. Just yesterday, Trump instructed one of his Fox News minions to attack South Carolina's Lindsey Graham because Graham refused to investigate Trump's political opponents. GOP Senators have enabled and emboldened this president, and, if unchecked, he may prove correct his 2016 pronouncement that he could shoot someone on NYC's Fifth Ave and he wouldn't lose any support.
How did we get here?
Healthcare & hypocrisy
Democrats most recently lost control of the U.S. Senate in 2010. The loss was blamed on the party's focus on healthcare reform which they had worked to pass during President Obama's first two years in office. Republicans have been trying to take it away ever since, no matter the cost. Their zero-sum political strategy was reminiscent of Newt Gingrich combative style and hyper-partisanship.
1980's & 1990's
Long ago, there was an attempt at bipartisanship (at least outside of campaign season).
In the 1990's, this changed when Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House and implemented his winner-takes-all philosophy. While pushing his Contract with American, he refused to work across the aisle and pass any of the legislative priorities of then-President Bill Clinton. In an article for the Atlantic magazine, McKay Coppins wrote that Gingrich "set a model for future Republican leaders. [H]e enshrined this combative, tribal, angry attitude in politics that would infect our national discourse in Washington and Congress for decades to come." He created the playbook for Mitch McConnell.
2006 & 2007
Mitt Romney as Governor of Massachusetts, passes universal healthcare in 2006. Then, adds a universal mandate in 2007.
2008 - 2010
Democrats win all three branches of government. Since they control the White House, House and Senate, they work to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA), using key elements of Mitt Romney's plan. Republicans refuse to work across the aisle and fiercely oppose the plan. They help create a false narrative: loss of choice, death panels, etc. Why? Healthcare companies could see that a successful ACA would cut into the profits of private health insurance companies. CEO's were concerned about profits. Healthcare CEO's make many millions each year.
2010 - 2016
Due to successfully campaigning against "Obamacare", Republicans won the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. As both the minority and majority leader, Mitch McConnell vowed to block Obama's legislative achievements. As result, legislation to address climate change, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and common sense gun reform were not address. For Republicans the primary focus was the repeal of Obamacare.
McConnell successfully blocked Obama's appointment to the Federal courts, and refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, Obama's pick to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. McConnell's argument: a Supreme Court justice should not be appointed during an election year. The Court had eight Justices for nearly a year.
McConnell later bragged about the blocking Obama's judges and justices.
Trump campaigns. Trump wins. Republicans control both the House and the Senate.
2017 - Trump's 1st Year
Republicans move quickly to pass cut taxes and appoint Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
The House of Representatives voted to repeal the ACA. This represented their 70th attempt.
2018 - 2019
Mitch McConnell shifted focus from passing bills to appointing 194 judges to the Federal Courts. As a result, legislation to address climate change, education funding, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, common sense gun laws, rebuilding of infrastructure, deficit reduction, and increases to the Federal minimum wage all stopped. In February of this year, McConnell admitted that there are 395 bills sitting on his desk, earning him the nickname 'Grim Reaper' because of the bills are sitting in a 'legislative graveyard'.
2019 - Impeachment
The House of Representatives voted to impeach the President.
2020 - a Briefing about COVID
In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee received a briefing about the dangers of COVID 19. Following this briefing, Senators sold portions of their stock portfolio, including: Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma; Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia; and Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina. Senator David Purdue, Republican from Georgia, bought stock in PPE the same day as this briefing, and increased stock trades in the early part of 2020, just as the public was learning about the virus. These transactions are under investigation. Senators Purdue (GA), Loeffler (GA) and Inhofe (OK) are running for re-election in November.
From Left to Right: David Purdue (GA), Kelly Loeffler (GA), James Inhofe (OK)
From March to present, McConnell has adopted a hands-off response to the COVID pandemic. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin finalized negotiations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat from California) to pass the CARES Act, not the President, not McConnell. Pelosi and Mnuchin started negotiations for the HEROS Act, but these were stalled due to inconsistent messaging (tweeting) from the President.
2020 - Acquittal
In February, all but one Republican Senator followed through on McConnell request that his party be in "lockstep with Trump". All Republican members of the Senate but one (Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah) voted to acquit Donald Trump on both counts of the
2020 - Filling a Supreme Court Vacancy
Without shame and without an apology for the racism and hypocrisy, McConnell and Senate Republicans confirm RBG's replacement to the Court.
So, what next?
Democrats must focus on the Senate. Democrats must flip the Senate, and everything depends on voter turnout. If Democrats hope to win the Senate and the White House, they have to win by a large enough margin that the win can't be challenged.
These Democratic Senators are on the Ballot in 2020.
The Campaign to Ditch Mitch
For years, Mitch McConnell has shown that he has limited interest in working with Democrats to pass legislation. He doesn't appear to care about helping the American people. Alex Pareene in The New Republic writes, "McConnell is just what he looks like: a man serenely unbothered by anything he’s done to get his power or anything he’s done with it, having few friends but many allies." It's time for new leadership in the Senate.