Today is Veterans’ Day; a day Americans set aside to honor those who have served it in the uniform of its armed services. Instead of doing some puff piece I wanted to ponder the question I feel many veterans may be asking as they look at recent political events: Is this what I signed up to defend? Let’s explore.
I was in northern Virginia on Election Night so I witnessed it turning blue when the Democrats (who already had the Governor’s mansion) flipped both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Governor Matt Bevin. The night before President Trump flew to Louisville for a rally supposedly to bring out the vote for Bevin. Keep in mind that in 2016 Trump won Kentucky by 30 points. I know that every election is an individual contest and that Beshear is the son of a former Kentucky governor, but a 30 point turn around in three years?
Many Democrats were hoping for what I felt was fools’ gold in Mississippi expecting to win the governor’s race. I expected a double digit Republican win; after all it is deep red Mississippi. The Republican won, but by only five points.
Add all this up and then include the 2018 midterms and it’s like the opening line of the old Buffalo Springfield song, “There’s something happening here”. In this case it’s starting to get clear. So clear in fact that even Jeff Sessions, who I will never compare with a rocket scientist, can understand it. You see Sessions, whose appointment Trump calls the biggest mistake of his presidency, declared his candidacy for his old Senate seat within hours of the 2019 election results.
Sessions realized that what Rick Wilson used as the title of his recent book “Everything Trump touches dies” is true. Trump wasn’t the genesis of the GOP’s problems. He was a manifestation of it and will be the end of the Republican Party as we currently know it. It all started in the aftermath of the 2008 election of Barack Obama. The sizable racist portion of the GOP base, along with many non-voters who were GOP sympathizers, was so incensed that a black man was elected President that they formed the Tea Party. The GOP, mainly through a few deep pocketed donors, embraced the Tea Party and in 2010 they scored many big wins via their deal with the devil.
In 2016 the Democrats ran a candidate with a terrific resume who proved to be a lousy campaigner, that combined with foreign interference was enough for Trump to pull out a close (tied for 10th out of the 15 elections held since Alaska and Hawaii became states) Electoral College win despite losing the popular vote by about 3 million. We still don’t have the final numbers but as in 2018, voter turnout was sharply up in 2019. Now do you still wonder why the Republicans work so hard to suppress the vote?
It appears all but certain that the House will impeach Trump. The question is whether the Senate will vote to remove him from office. The key is that 20 Republican Senators would have to join what presumably will be all the Democrats and the two independents that caucus with them. The Republican Senators appear to be in a “political box”. Trump still has about 80 to 85% support among the Republican primary electorate; (although in my admittedly partisan opinion that number is about to drop significantly). Therefore to avoid or win a Republican primary they cannot be perceived as anti-Trump. However, come the general election Trump is increasingly becoming toxic. What good is winning the primary only to lose the general? But if you don’t win the primary you cannot compete in the general.
That begs the question: Whatever happened to patriotism? Apparently it does not exist among today’s Republican Senators; at least not at this writing.
Sadly I think the answer to the question I posed in the opening paragraph is no. But the path forward was, as it was in the 2018 midterms, shown on last Tuesday night – veterans along with all American voters must save democracy in the 2020 election even if it means effectively becoming a one party nation for what I feel will be a brief transition period.
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