New Hampshire’s recent cleansing comes on the heels of two of the worst Republican Majority Sessions in my time as a blogger. Lead by a “Republican Speaker” elected by Democrats and a renowned moderate aisle-crosser the legislature embraced and passed bills that would have died an early death under the watchful eyes of more diligent guardians of liberty.
The natural extension of these exercises is for the people, seeing that they are going to get a progressive government, going with the real thing: Democrats. Which, as it turns out, is the one sure way to get Republicans elected next time ’round.
Democrat’s overreach (see also, use their inertia to advance their agenda) and this sets off warning bells that stir the people (mostly undeclared-voters) to go the other way.
The pendulum swings. But not always.
Republicans in Congress these past few years have lived in a historical anomaly. Most of the modern era has been ruled by Democrat majorities in Congress. Most Republican presidents have had to work with Democrat majorities in Congress. Which might explain why Republicans don’t seem to have a clue what to do with majorities when they have them. George Bush’s first mid-term gave him expanded support with which they expanded government. In a fit of self-loathing, the nation gave us democrat majorities and Obama.
Obama gave us Democrat majorities and Trump.
And this last time around, when voters handed Republicans control, with a few exceptions, they squandered it again.
When voters gave Republicans control of the House in 2010 (which then-President Obama described as an electoral “shellacking”), they complained that they needed the Senate. When voters gave the GOP control of the Senate in 2014, they complained that they needed the White House. When Trump became president in 2016, a significant number of Republicans pouted and said in effect, “This isn’t the Republican we wanted.” At every turn, rather than doing the job voters sent them to Congress to do, Republicans made excuses for their inertia and capitulated to the consistently hostile media. In a critical midterm election year, nearly 30 House Republicans announced their retirement, leaving many of their seats vulnerable. This was part swallowing the “Blue Wave” propaganda that the press spread and part a #NeverTrumper tantrum: Better to lose their jobs (and the House) than have to work with Trump. Nice job, guys.
And now Democrats have a slim majority in the House and because they know how to use their inertia (real or imagined) we should expect them to abuse it, mostly because they can’t help themselves.
The 2020 election could be good for the GOP but will they learn?
It’s not impossible for Republicans to gain a majority and not waste it. In the post-2010 victories in New Hampshire, the GOP state legisaltive super-majorites shrank government and undid several years of Democrat overreach with a squishy Democrat Governor who liked to be liked (John Lynch). We could have done more except for a few moderates who refused to override vetoes. But overall it was a rousing success.
Beginning in 2019 (in New Hampshire) we’ve got the opposite situation. Democrats don’t have veto-proof majorities by registration, but we do have a squishy Republican Governor (Chris Sununu) and more than enough RINO’s to make things go sideways. And I have no doubt that they will “work together” to appear to get things done because progressive motion, regardless of party, is to appear to move forward, even when the policies take us backward. Things that will need very much to be undone in the future if we can manage it.
We will challenge these as we always have, and the GOP (where their members are complicit) will piss and moan because while they can’t seem to push their own elected representatives to act like Republicans, there is always plenty of time and energy to bitch about us asking them to do that or doing it for them (recent example).
The cure for all of this will emerge from the activists, not the party. We will do the heavy lifting.
Bad legislation will only be stalled, stopped, or reversed if the folks who just want to be left alone get back out on the field and engage. You all know that. I know that you do. But that does not mean you don’t need to hear it.
The Republican party squandered its own inertia. The Democrats won’t squander theirs.