If the Republicans regain the House of Representatives, as they are expected to, it will follow a typical pattern seen in past midterms where the party in the White House faces backlash from the disgruntled voters in both parties.
If they lose the Senate, they will have only themselves to blame. Intra-party infighting and the failure to present a unified message has imperiled many seats they once thought of as being safe.
Republicans have been able to largely portray a united front. They stand behind The Big Lie of a stolen election and a rigged system to inflame and inspire their base into standing by them out of a twisted sense of loyalty that places loyalty to a person, namely Donald Trump, over loyalty to the Constitution that they swore an oath to defend. Those who bucked the party were quickly condemned and eventually voted out or forced to retire.
The Great Divide
While Republicans present this show of unity, even if some allegedly have different ideas in private, Democrats are plagued with bickering with members of their own party deliberately sabotaging their own agenda to pursue personal interests. Because they have a razor-thin majority in the Senate, a single senator can hold a bill hostage until their demands are met.
Republicans are only too willing to encourage this behavior because it prevents Democratic victories from being used as political points in the midterms. They have even tried to upset the current balance of power by attempting to woo recalcitrant senators over to their side by claiming their constituents’ needs would be better met by a unified Republican majority than a fractured Democratic one.
The Democratic majority is fragile, yet it wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of one person. In a move straight out of the Twilight Zone, it was Donald Trump who unwittingly gave them their advantage. Stinging from his 2020 loss, he nonetheless went to Georgia to support two Republican senators as they faced run-off challenges. Instead of promoting their candidates, he launched on a diatribe about a rigged system, telling Georgia Republicans that their votes didn’t matter. The result was many Republicans refused to take part in the run-off elections, giving the Democrats the two seats they needed to gain a 50-50 split in the Senate, but the majority with the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
Because of this, it takes only a single objection from one of their ranks to stymie any pending legislation; typically it’s been the Neanderthal senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin. He has often held up vital action to insert his own self-serving demands. He recently blasted President Biden over his remarks promoting clean energy, declaring him to be “outrageous and divorced from reality” as he sought to defend the backwater residents of his state and their dying coal industry. Manchin would rather maintain the status quo, where he maintains a financial interest, rather than support reeducation to safer, cleaner alternatives.
While Manchin is the most persistent fly in the ointment of Democratic disunity, he’s not the only one. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema has often refused to back legislation because of her pro-business stance, while occasional Democrat Bernie Sanders rails from the other end of the political spectrum by demanding businesses be forced to “pay their fair share”. Both have inserted themselves into forcing Democrats to add sometimes contradictory provisions in order to get legislation passed.
The Senate isn’t the only place there are cracks in Democratic unity. The House sees itself divided into the ranks of the Moderates and the Progressives. The latter has been labeled the “Radical Left” by Donald Trump and his supporters because they support legislation to tax the rich, fix the immigration system through reform measures and protect the environment with their signature Green New Deal. MAGA Republicans have used these proposals, among others, to paint all Democrats as Socialists and even Communists in a throwback to the Red Scare of the 1950s.
Lies and Damned Lies
Lies have been a part of the political landscape since Washington left office. It’s been called mud-slinging, muckraking and a term used by Nixon operatives that is most politely labeled NSFW. Today’s Republicans have taken it to a whole new level. With the existence of the internet and the emergence of the “dark web” conspiracy theories have exploded as fast as weeds on your front lawn. MAGA Republicans have weaponized this process like no other.
Even before the first votes were cast, Trump and his associates were deploying a strategy in the event they did not win. First, they would claim victory, then declare they were victims of a rigged system and a stolen election. They used these false claims to incite the January 6th insurrection. When that failed, they continued to push this false narrative, along with unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud to push for what they termed “election integrity”. Republican state legislatures used those unproven claims to enact more restrictive voting regulations which primarily targeted the poor and minorities.
Democrats have tried to reverse the voting restrictions only to once again be thwarted by those in their own party. By opposing an end to the filibuster, the measure was doomed and the midterms will proceed with these restrictions in place.
So, once again they are their own worst enemies.
In what could be one of the most bone-headed moves in history, during the primaries Democrats funded MAGA Republicans and election deniers. They reasoned that they would be easier to defeat in the general elections to follow. Now, they are once again faced with a unified Republican Party and the real possibility that future elections will be determined by those who have still refused to accept the 2020 results.
Being their own worst enemies seems to be what Democrats are best at doing. The one saving grace is that Donald Trump has also taken to the campaign trail. Ostensibly, it would be to support those running for office. However, Trump being Trump, he’s made it all about airing his grievances while teasing about his 2024 plans. Republicans are cringing at this because they had hoped to keep the focus off Trump and on the issues of the candidates.
So, being their own worst enemy isn’t just a Democratic thing.
Be sure to vote on November 8th.