Good Brain/Bad Brain: Of Two Political Minds

Good Brain/Bad Brain: Of Two Political Minds October 26, 2016

Angel and devil smilies

I admit it. I’m a hypocrite…and a terrible person besides.

I feel all the appropriate outrage when I read about the latest Republican voter-suppression initiative in the guise of preventing imaginary voter fraud.

Yet I can’t help feeling gleeful at the thought of millions of Republicans disenfranchising themselves by staying home on November 8 because they cannot bear the thought of voting for Donald Trump. (To be fair, I’m really interested in the scores of down-ballot Republicans who would lose their seats.)

Bad brain. Bad!

After all, I would hope that I would do the same (assuming that the GOP didn’t somehow manage to nominate a reasonable moderate I could actually vote for).

Now there’s a pipe dream for you.

If the Democrats nominated someone as thoroughly unqualified, temperamentally unsuitable, and democratically dangerous as Donald Trump, I could never bring myself to vote for him or her.

After all, could you vote for the GOP candidate, when the “center” of the party is so skewed over the edge that it’s in suspended in mid-air over the ideological chasm like Wiley Coyote in those old Warner Bros cartoons?

Don’t look down or you’ll plummet!

The logical stance, when faced with a nominee as dangerously unacceptable as Trump, is to hold your nose and vote for the other guy. Or in this case, gal.

That’s why so many Republicans have courageously announced I’m with herThe latest is Colin Powell. But too many Trump voters have bought into the notion that Hillary Clinton is the Devil. Literally.

Those people will turn out to vote. Fortunately, there aren’t enough of them to keep that sulphur-smelling demon from winning in a landslide.

I know I shouldn’t be thinking this, but I can’t help hoping that significant numbers of Republicans who can’t vote for Trump–good on them!–decide to stay home, suppressing their own votes.

That’s even better than the prospect of them voting for Hillary, but Republican down the line.

Now, sit in the corner, brain, while you reflect on all the reasons why those are destructive thoughts.

Humpty Dumpty--resizedSee also: Humpty Trumpty

Okay, so that is a profoundly undemocratic way to think, but there you go. Still, that’s more morally defensible than the GOP’s deliberate efforts to make it harder for minorities to vote because they tend to vote for Democrats.

And speaking of anti-democratic behavior, congressional Republicans have roadblocked the Obama administration from the very start. After Obama won in 2008, the Senate Republicans were bound and determined to thwart the new president’s judicial nominees, forcing Harry Reid to invoke the so-called “nuclear option.”

Prior to 2013, a 60-vote majority vote for judicial nominees was usually sufficient to provide the requisite advise and consent role of the legislative branch. The system worked because the minority party didn’t set itself up as an intrasigent barrier to effective governance.

I’m not saying the Dems hands were clean in this regard–far from it. But they never erected legislative barriers to the unyielding degree the Republicans have.

Tired of Republican obstructionism, Reid changed the Senate rules to require only a simple majority of votes for judicial nominees in 2013.

In 2010, Mitch McConnell’s goal was to ensure that Barack Obama was a one-term president. He set about doing this by log-jamming the administration’s efforts at every turn.

McConnell failed to keep Obama from being reelected, but eventually succeeded in paving the way for the Republicans to take the reins of both houses of Congress.

It’s a “tribute” to the effectiveness of the Republican strategy that Obama has had no successful major initiatives after the Affordable Heathcare Act passed in the spring of 2010.

Harry Reid is retiring from the Senate this year, but he’s hoping to pass the baton to a newly crowned Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer. With the Dems favored to retake the Senate, Reid has hinted that his successor could be forced to change the Senate’s hallowed filibuster rule if the Republican minority continually blocks Clinton administration initiatives.

There’s a strong institutional reluctance to pull the trigger on this H-bomb of a nuclear option. After all, the tables may be turned against you next time.

Indeed, that’s extremely likely. The cards are stacked heavily in favor of the Republicans retaking the Senate in 2018. 25 Democrats or Independents who caucus with them are up for reelection versus only eight Republicans. Of those Dems, 20% are in states that voted for Mitt Romney.

So, if the Democrats do win control of the Senate, they’ll have to make hay while the sun shines. The Republicans will have every incentive in the world to dig in their heels and wait.

Hell yeah, I hope the Dems win the Senate and remove the filibuster. And they’d better get their asses in gear. Hillary too.

Now, brain, it’s a two party system….

Yeah, but it takes two to democratically tango. So there.

Image credit: By .Jennifer Leigh. (originally posted to Flickr as [1]) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.
Image credit: By Jennifer Leigh. (originally posted to Flickr as [1]) [CC BY 2.0].
Yes, it could all be reversed in two years…and probably will. That, in turn, could allow the Republicans to paint Hillary as a do-nothing president. Just like they’ve so masterfully done with President Obama.

Unless the Republicans, after their post-election civil war, somehow manage to shoot themselves in the foot by nominating someone as ridiculously unacceptable as Donald Trump. Again.

Bad Republican brain. Bad. 

This is where I truly don’t hope that the GOP nominates someone as dictatorial as the Donald. Next time we might not be so lucky to face such a spectacularly unelectable despot.

Okay, you can come out of the corner now.

Yes, I’m a hypocrite for dinging Donald Trump for his authoritarian, undemocratic tendencies, then espousing my own. These are indeed anti-democratic impulses, but my ultimate hope is that the GOP will keep losing until demographics force the party to moderate or face extinction.

Um, good brain…sort of.

Of course, the Republicalypse will begin as soon as November 9. Perhaps when the dust settles, the wingnuts and alt-right nutters will be chastened.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one.

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