The Price You Pay for Wielding Semi-Illegitimate Power
In this time of lost submersibles and rouge Russian warlords, it is important to keep an eye on the domestic political scoreboard. Also, it’s almost midnight in New Orleans and the heat index is still like 120, so I’m going to stay right here on this couch and try not to move. Last year, right after the midterms, I wrote up the political order of battle leading up to 2024. I tried to lay out where the political energy was for the Blue and Red teams, as well as their likely moves and biggest liabilities.
The hyper-condensed version is this: for the GOP, the Supreme Court, the Freedom Caucus, and Texas & Florida was where all the action was going to be. The plan was to focus on immigration, inflation, government spending, and “anti-woke” social wedge issues. Basically, the GOP wanted to nationalize the DeSantis for Governor campaign. If the U.S. entered a recession (even if House Republicans had to give it a little push) and the Freedom Caucus could manufacture enough scandal and doubt about President Biden’s age and son, 2024 could see a return of the Republican trifecta.
The biggest, most-apparent dangers for the GOP came from Trump, judicial and legislative overreach, and blowback. Many ideas now deemed essential by the former president and the MAGA base, from strict abortion bans to defending the January 6th insurrection, are naturally quite unpopular with the non-MAGA majority of Americans. Additionally, the two strongest components of the modern Republican party, the Supreme Court and the House, are both suffering from a legitimacy crisis. The Republican House majority is razor-thin and rests on propping up disgraced con-men like “George Santos” and using racial gerrymanders to exclude minorities in the South. The Supreme Court has been co-opted by billionaires, recognizes no internal ethical standards, and is now seen by a majority of Americans as simply an activist, corrupt and unaccountable partisan body.
For the Democrats, their strength clearly rests in the executive branch, working closely with congressional Democrats, a few Blue states with new trifectas like Minnesota, and the continuing extremist behavior of the far right.