Anyone who thinks Mitch McConnell is going to play nice with Joe Biden is naïve (and I’m being polite in my choice of words). McConnell’s strategy will be one of obstruction with the goal of winning a bunch of Congressional seats in the mid-term by making Biden, and by extension the Democrats, look unsuccessful. He employed this strategy once before winning back the House in 2010 and the Presidency in 2016 (with a little help from his friends in Moscow). There is a lot to unpack here; let’s explore.
If Joe Biden is being realistic –and a good reading of the tealeaves to date indicates that he is – he knows that McConnell will obstruct him; it is just a matter of how early in the “game” the obstruction will commence. Biden is like the basketball coach who before the game knows his opponent will throw a full court press at him. He just doesn’t know if it will be from the beginning of the game of after he takes his first time out.
Right now everything hinges on Georgia. Two Senate seats currently held by Republicans are up in runoff elections on January 5th (early voting starts on December 14th). If the Republicans hold even one of those seats Mitch will remain the Senate Majority Leader and can effectively block any and all Biden nominees requiring Senate confirmation. That includes, but is not limited to, all Cabinet positions. If the Democrats win both of the runoffs, by virtue of Kamala Harris being the President of the Senate and assuming the Democratic caucus holds they will be able to confirm any nominee by a 51-50 vote.
Accurate polling in a special or runoff election is nearly impossible. The problem is it is almost impossible to predict who will actually turn out to vote therefore who do you poll? Right now the polls predict nothing other than close races. The only prediction I will make is that the “turnout machines” will make the difference,
McConnell will obstruct; it is simply a matter of when. Once he does he will not stop. History tells us that. As of this writing he has not publically stated it but I am certain his goal is to make Joe Biden a one term president. McConnell top priorities are himself and his majority. He is safe for another six years having been reelected by the people of Kentucky last month. Whether or not he wants another term is a question nobody, including Mitch, can answer at this point.
McConnell controls his caucus like the master (albeit evil) of the Senate that he is. He does it in a similar way that the late Lyndon Johnson did decades ago – via money. Like Trump, McConnell is basically a Don who gets a piece (and sometimes a very large portion) of every “transaction”. Unlike Trump he doesn’t seek to personally profit of every act. He controls the bulk of the Republican Senate reelection kitty and doles it out to his loyal soldiers. Cross Mitch and you are on your own to raise tens of millions.
Most Republican Senators are much more concerned about keeping their seats than serving their constituents. In fact they hardly consider the residents of their states instead serving the desires of their financiers.
Unless they can pull out two wins in Georgia, Biden and the Democrats are faced with the task of turning adversity into achievements. We know what Mitch will do if he has the numbers; it is just a matter of when he will commence.
McConnell will wage war on the Biden administration and the Democrats. It is just a matter if it will be “asymmetrical” or “nuclear”. If the Democrats win both seats in Georgia they take “nuclear” off the table.
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