Terry H. Schwadron
Nov. 13, 2020
So, how’s that heal-the-divide promise doing?
It sounds as if we should hold off on the Kumbaya. Indeed, it looks dim that any immediate prospects for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris riding in to lead us to a renewed era of cooperation.
Even beyond Donald Trump’s petulant insistence on refusing to accept an American judgment to deny him a second term and the renewed hostilities among Republicans in Congress towards Biden — both over policy and personal matters — any early joy over a possible return even to basic civility seems undeserved.
No, I’m much more concerned that these government “leaders” have forgotten why they were sent to Washington. We don’t give a fig for their power-hungry concerns; we want them focused on actual problems that face us as a nation.
While they fiddle over fake election results and stalled transitions, more than 1,000 Americans are dying every day now from coronavirus, and we have an absentee government. Our current White House is so focused on serving up undiluted pap and propaganda over perceived election fraud, that it seems to have forgotten what the election was about altogether — protecting Americans and providing ways to greater health and prosperity.
While Biden appears intent on ignoring rear-guard actions by Trump and Senate Republicans to block his actions, the opposition is simply digging in, creating a siege-like defense of . . . well, keeping power.
How this became a tug-of-war about power rather than about governing is merely a continuation of this divide between love-Trump-at-all-cost proponents and lets-get-on-with-it Democrats that shows absolutely no sign of waning.
Georgia, the Senate and Biden
As we all have heard repeatedly, Georgia is the new Ground Zero, with its Jan. 5 run-off elections for two U.S. Senators whose election will decide a Senate “majority” that at best can be 50–50, plus the vice-president’s vote.
I couldn’t help but notice that Georgia just announced its dates for new voter registration, for seeking mail ballots and for early voting — exactly the same formula that has resulted in a state recount of presidential ballots and endless shouting from Team Trump about fraud. So, the answer, of course, is that we are going to do exactly the same thing again — without Trump on the ballot.
In the Senate, Lindsey O. Graham Jr., who last week said both that Biden should be able to name his cabinet and fantasized that Trump may still magically win the election, now promised to double down on investigating unsubstantiated questions about Hunter Biden playing on Joe Biden’s name and office as vice president. In stern tones, he insists that this is Important, but you wonder just who he is seeking to persuade. What are they going to do with a finding that the son of the president-elect shouldn’t have dropped the Biden name in business dealings — which it is not clear that he did.
Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader — for the moment — Mitch McConnell is already making noises about blocking names of Cabinet appointees and others whom he personally finds to be unacceptable to his politics — like the clear majority of Americans who voted in record numbers opposing his positions.
Much has been made of the refusal of the great number of Senate Republicans to acknowledge Biden as the election winner, preferring to let Trump wallow in his misery by misusing U.S. courts for baseless attacks on the election results.
For four years, Republicans have been saying that Elections Have Consequences to explain choosing judges that too often have been unqualified, for allowing Trump to skate on increasingly dangerous power grabs over money, ethical lapses, impeachable schemes to use his office for political gain and resistance to oversight.
10 More Weeks
Now comes word, right along the lines that I said would be troubling, that a cornered Donald Trump would be using his last weeks to pursue official punishments for perceived lack of loyalty, and to seek to deepen conservative polices and regulations before he leaves office.
Politico reported that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been gathering senior aides to plot the conservative policy moves they could push through in their final 10 weeks on immigration, trade, health care, China and school choice. And Trump has moved aside top Pentagon leaders whose personal loyalty he has challenged to install people that military and congressional leaders alike find unqualified and unquestioning — towards an end that no one seems to understand.
So, rather than recognizing that Elections Have Consequences, or that coronavirus is on a tear, or that there is worry over national security by hampering a good transition of leadership, we have the ultimate Trumpist view of what to do at this moment: Play golf and complain about Fox News, and any perception that Dear Leader is a “loser.”
Meadows apparently told aides to give him goals by today that could be accomplished by Biden’s inauguration through executive orders, executive actions or finalizing agency rules. On immigration, for example, they are seeking to finalize a rule related to making the standards stricter around H-1B visas affecting temporary U.S. hires of skilled workers, or to give Covid-19 relief money to parents for private or parochial schools rather than public schools, or to harden China positions, hampering Biden in making changes.
And, of course, both sides need to raise a few more million bucks to have the spat continue in Georgia.
So much for Kumbaya. The shame of it is that Team Trump has forgotten what the fight is about.