Republican corruption: There are still a few days until the Electoral College meets. We itch with uneasiness as we watch Trumpus flailing about in his tragicomic, slow motion coup, and there are some forty days of non-specific crazy left until the inauguration. Many Repub diehards, such as those on the bipartisan House and Senate Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, refuse to certify Biden’s victory. Then we have the recently pardoned Michael Flynn, who has implored Trumpus to suspend the Constitution and declare martial law. Newly elected Michigan state representative Abraham Aiyash, a Muslim, has received over a thousand online threats of violence.
As his legal chances grow dimmer, however, it’s becoming clearer that the coup is not against Democrats, or democracy itself, but against his own supporters. It’s a grifter’s coup, and the con has been extraordinarily lucrative, with $200 million taken in so far. Indeed, according to one strain of speculation, Trumpus will declare his candidacy for 2024 right after (or during) the inauguration. This would ensure the continuation of both the gravy train and the media circus, and it might provide an excuse of politically motivated prosecution (or persecution) if New York continues its probe into his tax schemes after he leaves the protection of the White House. I doubt if any of that money will end up in Georgia. No problema. The Repubs have plenty of money to spend on the Georgia Senate double-header runoffs on January 5th. Welcome to 2021!
That anxiety will last several days longer until the final tally. The people of Georgia will have to endure a non-stop ad blitz, as the campaigns are collectively on pace to spend a half a billion dollars. Nationally, over $14 billion will have been spent on all Federal-level campaigns, doubling what was spent in 2016. There is some small consolation to see the Repubs beginning to eat their own, as they trade increasingly bitter threats at each other. Meanwhile, Greg Palast and Stacy Abrams are suing to re-instate those 200,000 purged voters. The Repubs have responded by cutting the number of early voting sites in Cobb County in half.
Still, it is possible for the Dems to control both Houses of Congress and actually accomplish something. May the best-case scenario be so. If not, Mitch McConnel will be the de facto President, tens of millions of Americans will be cast down into deeper suffering, and nothing will be done about global warming.
Democratic Corruption: It could have been different. As I also suggested, Biden could have announced his support for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal. Had he done so, the Dems would have taken the Senate, despite the MSM consensus that the left caused the down-ballot fiasco. Real progressives actually kicked butt. It was Dem moderates who lost. And Biden himself would not have won at all (we finally have some statistical proof) if Trumpus hadn’t mishandled the pandemic so egregiously. As Jeremy Scahill writes:
For millions of voters, this was not a choice between Biden and Trump — it was a referendum on Trump, and Biden’s name on the ballot was a stand-in for “No!”…More than any administration in modern history, Trump’s tenure presented a clear opportunity for the Democrats to show the strength of their collective spine and serve as a moral alternative to the horrors of Trump and the Republican Party. Overwhelmingly, this did not happen.
Thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – of people masked their faces, entered the polling places, held their noses, marked their ballots for Biden and not bothering to vote at all for Senator or Congressperson, walked right on out. Ballot splitting used to be no big deal. People would often go down the ballot considering the candidate rather than the party and vote accordingly. But they would vote for someone. Not any more.
So what about that huge turnout? Wasn’t it supposed to bring out millions of new voters who would vote Democratic? Well, yes, it did, raising the percentage of young voters to perhaps 55% of their registered numbers, many of whom were undoubtedly among those who hated both Trumpus and moderate Dems. But it also brought out 65% of elderly people, who, despite his mishandling of the pandemic and his hints about cutting Social Security, did what they have been doing for fifty years. The “greatest generation” chose to vote for policies that might protect their investments and privileges but would most definitely deprive their own grandchildren of a future. Once again, we find ourselves in the realm of mythology – the killing of the children. Timothy Noah writes:
The true age-demographic story of 2020 wasn’t that young people flocked to the polls in higher proportions than ever before. It was that this youthquake had no discernible impact on the makeup of the American electorate…No matter how you measure it, the elderly are still very much in charge of American politics.
Eventually we will (happily) turn our attention away from Trumpus. But we’ll (unhappily) have to look seriously at the corporate stooges and warmongers Biden has surrounded himself with.
So far one of them is a perfect example of everything that could go wrong actually going wrong. Neera Tanden, who would be White House Budget Director, is president of the Center for American Progress, a “liberal” think tank funded by the usual oligarchs, including Facebook and the United Arab Emirates. She is the epitome of the Washington swamp who has spent years publicizing the Russiagate lies, and she has been (writes David Sorota), “…the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States of America” and (writes Greenwald) one of Sanders’ “most vicious and amoral attackers.” Taibbi writes:
Sanders is the ranking member (and, perhaps, future chair) of the Senate Budget Committee. Every time Bernie even thinks about doing Committee business, he’ll be looking up at Neera Tanden. For a party whose normal idea of humor is ten thousand consecutive jokes about Trump being gay with Putin, that’s quite a creative “fuck you.”
After months of lying to themselves that lifelong warmongering corporatist Joe Biden could be somehow “pushed to the left” by progressives in order to make voting for him seem more palatable, the incoming administration has been seemingly going out of its way to prove them wrong in as spectacular a fashion as you could possibly imagine with its nominees and transition team of war whores, corporate sociopaths, free speech opponents and austerity enthusiasts. Tanden is just the diarrhea icing on the giant steaming shit cake.
Progressives, of course, are appalled by Tanden. And it gets worse. Evidently, those hefty investments from the United Arab Emirates paid off: her group backed away from criticizing the UAE’s and Saudia Arabia’s genocidal policies in Yemen.
However, this is so 2020. In this mad universe it’s no longer a simple thing to distinguish the bad news from the good. As I mentioned previously, there are hundreds of presidential appointments that must be vetted by the Senate – and in 2021, unless the Dems win both Georgia races, a very hostile Senate. As beholden as Tanden is to big business and the warmongers, the Repubs still consider her nomination “…more proof that @JoeBiden and the Democrats will continue to move...