If there is any rational basis left, any meaning to the ideals of this country, then the eventual nominee of the Democratic party will defeat Donald Trump in the next general election. I have to believe that, sincerely.
But what then?
We all tend to have a mistaken, glorified view of the presidency — perhaps best exemplified by this short Lincoln clip: “I am the President of the United States of America. Clothed in immense power!”
That is not true. To some extent, it is precisely a Spielberg fantasy, like E.T. Although in fairness, Lincoln did have comparatively greater power because every politician south of the Mason-Dixon line was no longer in the government (indeed, they were being shot at) and Lincoln was only dealing with intra-mural disputes among Northern politicians.
We no longer have the halcyon days of the Civil War period. (← ouch.) Today’s neo-Confederates — the Republican Party — have not left the country and have learned that they can be more subversive from within the government than through outside treason and rebellion.
And that state of rebellious affairs — closer (than is comfortable to admit) to that which faced Lincoln — is what very likely will face the next Democratic President.
Yes . . . I know . . . under a fairy tale scenario a lot of this will not apply if the Dems win back the Presidency and the Senate and keep the House (although the Supreme Court will remain a problem). But, frankly, most reasonable and candid analyses predict that it will be very hard for Democrats to win control of the Senate in the next election. For planning purposes,let’s assume that is true.
In that likely scenario, Dems can pass no major legislation. We will face a blockade on Supreme Court appointments, a “Wall” against new legislation, perhaps no confirmation of cabinet level appointments, threatened government shut downs and debt defaults, and God knows whatever mischief exists in the Senate rules (that Republicans seem to know but no Democrat does, or dare exercise).
What exactly is the new Democratic President, clothed in immense power, supposed to do?
I want to be clear — I am not saying all of this in defeatist tones, but rather precisely as a call to arms for like-minded folks to begin thinking about what a Democratic President can do when, as sure as shit, the next Republican faction seeks to dismiss, disrupt and reject any and all legitimacy of the next Democratic President. Does anyone think that will not be the case?
So what do we do? For example,
- Can the President close and move military bases from the Red States of rebellious Republican Senators? Can Mitch McConnell lose some legacy, military base?
- Can the President stop or redirect infrastructure spending from the Red States of rebellious Republican Senators?
- Are there waivers or forbearances that apply to the poor Red States which can be revoked?
- Are there available federal land access, fees, and grazing rights that can be changed to the disadvantage of rebellious Senators from Red States?
- Is there any discretion about how federal highway funds or other federal funds (infrastructure?) can be spent or withheld?
- Please think creatively and suggest more opportunities.
I know that there will be some on our side who tut-tut disapprovingly about the above. Fuck them. I want to be clear that I am only reacting to what is already happening, and what political scenario going forward is a near certainty.
We face a defining fight. The other side is armed and unrestrained by any norms or decency. The next Democratic President is going to be involved in a knock-down, bare knuckle fight like never before seen.
What ideas or contributions do others have to add so as to strengthen our hand?