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2022 elections: House, Senate, State governorships
‘Bad news’: Wave of GOP retirements signals battles ahead
By STEVE PEOPLES18 minutes ago

This is not the way Republicans wanted to begin the year.

Missouri’s Roy Blunt on Monday became the fifth Republican senator to announce he will not seek reelection, a retirement wave that portends an ugly campaign season next year and gives Democrats fresh hope in preserving their razor-thin Senate majority.
History suggests Republicans are still well-positioned to reclaim at least one chamber of Congress next year. But officials in both parties agree that the surge of GOP departures will make the Republicans’ challenge more difficult in the Senate.
“Any time you lose an incumbent, it’s bad news,” said Republican strategist Rick Tyler, who briefly worked for failed Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin nearly a decade ago. “Missouri’s not necessarily a safe state for Republicans. Democrats have won there.”

The 71-year-old Blunt’s exit is a reminder of how the nation’s politics have shifted since the rise of Donald Trump. Blunt and his retiring GOP colleagues from Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alabama represent an old guard who fought for conservative policies but sometimes resisted the deeply personal attacks and uneven governance that dominated the Trump era.

Their departures will leave a void likely to be filled by a new generation of Republicans more willing to embrace Trumpism — or by Democrats.

Several Missouri Republicans are expected to seek the nomination to replace Blunt, but none will be more divisive than former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in 2018 amid the fallout of a sex scandal and ethics investigation. Missouri’s Republican base has since rallied behind him, believing he was unfairly prosecuted.

Greitens was considering running for the GOP nomination even before Blunt’s announcement. He is expected to announce his candidacy as soon as Tuesday morning.

Two leading Missouri Democrats, former Sen. Claire McCaskill and 2016 Senate candidate Jason Kander, both said they would not run for the open seat.

Ahead of Greitens’ announcement, some Republicans worried that he could jeopardize the Senate seat if he emerges as the party’s nominee.

Steven Law, a key ally of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, warned that Republicans may be beginning to repeat the mistakes of 2010, when the GOP lost the Senate majority by embracing flawed far-right candidates.

Law cited Greitens’ looming announcement specifically.
“We have an opportunity to win back a majority,” Law said. “But in 2010, that opportunity was lost on the Senate side because of unelectable candidates who got nominated.”
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Comment: large numbers of retirements involving many incumbents when the balance of power is nearly even usually suggests big trouble for that Party.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

I hope a good Democrat will step up for that Missouri seat. I guess the earlier candidates think they can't win.

My forecast has always been for a Democratic victory in 2022, but I know that is an uphill move. We'll see. It depends on whether the millennials, who became more like civics in 2018 by voting in greater numbers, keep up the good work, or whether they will find some excuse to be disillusioned with Biden and Co. and not vote as they did in 2010 with Obama (and 2014), thus condemning us to years of Republican gerrymandered power that still exists.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
I remember 2010.  President Barack had taken innovative, rational measures to reverse an economic downturn that had  legitimately scared people of a reprise of the Great Depression. What was impossible was of course to recover the speculative boom that had imploded.

The recovery was on a scale unprecedented since the recovery from the Great Depression. To be sure there was a huge difference: the Obama recovery came after roughly a year and a half of a destructive meltdown, and FDR's recovery came after three years of destructive meltdown.

[Image: 9f7f6b540986c66f8f4d3fd2e7ef3257.png]

(Pardon the repetitive quality of the discourse, as I have said much of this before). Matching the economic peaks of late 2007 and late 1929, share prices had fallen at least 50% within a year of the peaks, indicating that something was terribly wrong. Early 2009 and early 1931 are good analogues for what had happened. In early 2009 the stock market (and other economic activity) started to rebound. It would take until 1932, due to the horrible bank runs that devastated the overall economy when it needed no further harm, for the early-Depression economy to bottom out. 

The economic royalists of FDR's time had lost huge amounts of asset valuation, and profits would be slow to recover. They had to concern themselves with economic survival, and buying into the political process in the 1930's made little sense. In the 2010's the economic elites had the funds for buying into the political process -- and used those funds effectively, sponsoring politicians who fully believed the canon that no human suffering can ever be in excess in the enhancement of the power, indulgence, and gain of economic elites. Exit Russ Feingold; enter Ron Johnson. Economic elites often hold the attitude that the rest of Humanity owes those elites everything for the privilege of living in their world... and that is exactly how they behaved in 2010.

Question: will 2022 be more like 2010 or like 1934 politically? If like 2010, then you can expect a raucous expression of right-wing politics that gives a populist flavoring to reactionary ideology. If like 1934, then we will know that the neoliberal era in which profits are all that matter has come to an end. 

Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, but it was close. Even so we cannot quite be certain that his support has cratered after the January 6 insurrection. Trump has true believers as neither Dubya nor Herbert Hoover had. Trump was able to get people to risk their lives, fortunes, and reputations on his behalf, which speaks much about the personal loyalty that many people have to him. 

Analogies always present themselves, and many contradict. That Donald Trump barely lost his re-election bid despite bungling his response to COVID-19 indicates a strong residuum of support for his beliefs. COVID-19 will likely be old news in 2022.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Gerrymandered state legislators, the gift of millennials who didn't vote in 2010, are making voting harder. Unless this is countered, the Republicans are likely to win congress in 2022.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Posted elsewhere, and it might violate the informal concern for excessive hyperbole:

Quote:There are lessons to be learned about 2010.

1. Do not assume t he repetition of history based on analogues. 2010 looked as if it would be a replay of 1934 to a President who modeled himself much like FDR. It was not a perfect analogue. In 1934 the "economic royalists" were still concerned with the survival of their businesses and weren't going to waste money on political campaigns. In 2010 investment in political campaigns could pay off richly as the elites could find willing stooges to do the political dirty work.

2. It will have been only twelve years since 2010, so expect people who know what they are doing to do what succeeded the last time, perhaps refining the process. The rapacious elites of 2010 still want Americans to endure Scandinavian costs of living on African wages, and if they can get that they will have maximized profit.

3. Mitch McConnell has already telescoped much of the agenda: a national right-to-work law that would eviscerate labor unions so that workers would be helpless against rapacious, all-powerful economic elites, gutting of whatever environmental regulations that there are (they might remain, but only to stifle competition), and more support of privatization of the public sector. It's mirror-image Marxism that creates a Hell for workers -- but the economic elites are much lauded for building castles and palaces while the common people get cold and hungry.

4. America has a heritage of greedy plutocrats who treat workers as badly as possible. It was called slavery. It infested 'only' the agrarian South, but as has been shown elsewhere (most infamously Nazi Germany) industrial workers can also be transformed into serfs unable to contest the power of plutocrats, Do not be fooled: all that prevents something horrible (and it need not have militarism or racial-religious genocide attached). Nazi Germany might be too far along as an ideology, except that the US could become a militaristic police state. Think of Pinochet's Chile, in which dissidents were murdered after torture.

Empathy is not part of the requisite of character of America's plutocrats and executives. Our economic elites are an exclusive club who want no competition even from small business, let alone labor unions in challenging pay and conditions or any consequences of a political arena.

What those elites do not want is apocalyptic war which replaces a ruthless American elite with a similarly-rapacious Russian or Chinese elite. It surprises me that German tycoons and executives did not face the same consequences for exploitation of prisoners in the camps (aside from expropriation in central and Balkan Europe, and damage from air rai8ds and consequences of land war) as the administrators and guards in such camps.

5. Donald Trump still has a cult that sees nothing wrong with despotic government that agrees with them on cultural issues and cannot accept political defeat. Should Trump become irrelevant, then someone else will offer much the same agenda with a different set of personal quirks. Maybe he will be more cautious about using vile language. Maybe that pol will offer more overt religious devotion and a less sordid personal life with no sleazy business dealings. That Trump got away with irreligion, a pattern of sexual perversion that mocks the more conservative values of most Americans, and a pattern of fraud in taxes and business dealings should warn us of the hazard of someone 'cleaner'.  The danger of Donald Trump is not in his raw language, his acceptance of a more conventional form of religious devotion ("The Bible says it; I believe it; believe it or burn!) of the fundamentalist Protestant type, who may have been sexually loyal to one spouse from early adulthood, his one-sided business dealings that cheat investors and leave subcontractors in worse shape than before they had dealings with him; it is that he really believes that the common man exists solely to make those already filthy-rich even more filthy rich while living on the edge of hunger, exposure, and homelessness. Trump has his dream of a social order in which the poor (and that includes people heavily in debt with no easy way of getting out from under it) owe everything to those who owe the common man nothing. The GOP has plenty of imaginable candidates who have Trump's economic ideology without the personal abominations.

The political struggle for the dignity of Humanity is far from decided in America. A political equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition based upon economic orthodoxy could be just as brutal as the original in which one could burn at the stake for having a family get-together that has some resemblance to a Seder has not become impossible. The worst deeds that people have ever done have been in the pretense of righteousness; even the Nazis thought they were doing a great service to Humanity through the Holocaust. America's economic elites are consummately ruthless... and convinced of their rectitude. Give them the power that they think that they deserve, and America will be a nightmare in which the kindest thing that one could do for a newborn child (if one is poor) is to offer that child for a foreign adoption.

Second-kindest might be an abortion, but that is over the top there. 
That thread does not look sympathetically upon any generational cycle. We are still in a Crisis Era, and this one can end in am even grimmer (more severe and repressive) version of the neoliberal era. I cannot assume kindness as a norm among America's economic elites, and there are plenty of people who would do their will. Donald Trump egged on his political supporters for his personal agenda. Just imagine what can happen when people better organized and with a more coherent ideology have their supporters forcing Congress to set aside an election that those elites dislike... and succeeding. It will of course be a temporary measure to save America from some dire fate. 
The regime that appeared after the Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in 1917 lasted for seventy-four years. Sure, it eventually moderated and lost most of its murderous sting, but glasnost and perestroika that suggested an abandonment of dictatorship and central planning still took nearly seventy years to emerge. The "temporary" dictatorship that Lenin imposed lasted far longer than did most dictatorships ever known. North Korea has surpassed the Soviet Union in length of stay upon the Earth, and the People's Republic of China is now similar in age to the Soviet Union upon the demise of the latter. People who took Trump banners into the Capitol building may not have fully understood the consequences of a win on their part, but neither did the Bolshevik Mob that dislodged the inchoate parliament of the fledgling Russian Republic. 
We are still in a Crisis Era, and should the last act of the Crisis be the establishment of a "Christian and Corporate State" -- my depiction of a plutocratic regime that uses Christian symbolism to justify its inequity -- then we could have a thoroughly-nasty 1T in which anything that interferes with adulation of the economic and political leadership as an alternative to civic rituals that laud the economic elites might be banned. Who needs Bach or Gershwin when one can instead witness ceremonies that laud the Master Class for its 'wise' stewardship of the potentials of the Nation? Out of their generosity do people get to have "three hots and a cot". Bullhist to that! Ted Kaczynski will get that until the end of his pathetic and wasted life. 
We are not through the Crisis. The worst seems past, but how sure are we? Some people have a lust for easy money and what it can buy to which they are no less addicted than some junkie is to heroin. The difference is that a junkie is powerless to ensure a steady, easy supply of heroin.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

Indeed, the crisis will not be over once the covid crisis has subsided, although not likely now to completely go away. In 2010, those who supported progress forgot that elections happen every two years, at least, not just an election for our elected king every 4 years. We have to re-learn the fact that we need to take responsibility for progress if we want it to happen, and if we don't get everything we want right away, we need to keep the faith and look beyond our immediate conditions toward the long term. This is a hard lesson for today's people in the USA, who are used to instant gratification.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
This is a state poll, but interesting as it is for what it says of a state that Donald Trump barely won in 2016 (North Carolina) it answers a question that nobody has answered. I have assumed that Americans across the political spectrum hold the Capitol Putsch in extreme disdain, but I well know that I am strongly biased (who isn't biased?).  After two months one poll quantifies how Americans think of political violence such as the Capitol Putsch of January 6.

  The times are changing. This poll is hard to believe, but I have seen other polls of North Carolina that suggest the same thing. This suggests that North Carolina has gone from being a lean-R state (as shown in the 2020 election) to decidedly D. 

Quote:NC - Meredith College
March 12-15
699 registered voters

Approve 56%
Disapprove 40%

Demographic change? That happens slowly. One thing did change, and this is the first poll of any kind that has addressed one of my questions about the post-Trump political scene:

Quote:Political Violence

With the racial equality protests and the riots on January 6 at the Capitol, the issue of political
violence has become prominent in American politics. Security experts suggest that we will see more
political violence in coming years, as a result of the hyper-polarization in the country. North
Carolinians strongly support non-violent protests guaranteed in the Constitution, but strongly
oppose more violent types of expression. Political acts such as holding a sign in front of a
government building (67.8% support) and participating in a peaceful march (84.2% support).
Every demographic group, including political partisans, strongly support those types of

On more extreme political acts—taking over a government building, using violence or assassination
against political opponents, or bombing—well over 80 percent of North Carolinians oppose those
type of acts. Only the youngest respondents—and only about 20% of them—supported the idea of
using more violent means of political statements.

“Although we should be concerned about any type of political violence,” McLennan stated, “the
public roundly opposes this type of behavior. However, the fact that over 11% of North Carolinians think that taking over a government building or just under 10% feel that it is acceptable to commit violence against a political opponent or assassinate a political leader that is acting inappropriately should be of great concern to use all.”

Violence at polling places, although rare, is concerning to respondents to our survey. Over 40% of
respondents indicated that their willingness to vote would be decreased if they saw political
observers carrying firearms outside the polling place. Also, if there was violence between
representatives of the two major parties outside the polling place, almost two-thirds of respondents
indicated that they would be less likely to cast their ballots. On the issue of potential violence at
polling places, such as seeing political observers carrying firearms, over half of the Democrats
(52.9%) indicated they would be less likely to vote, but only 28.7 percent of Republicans felt that it
would affect their voting behavior.

In terms of the causes of increased political violence over the last year, a plurality of North
Carolinians (38%) say that extremists on the political left and right are equally to blame. There is,
however, a large partisan gap among the respondents with a large percentage of Democrats
(46.5%) blaming right-wing extremism and Republicans (36.8%) blaming political violence
primarily on left-wing extremism.

“There is little evidence that most North Carolinians condone political violence,” McLennan states,
“but there is evidence that partisans in the state see the causes of violence quite differently.
Whether it is Republicans blaming Antifa for violence or Democrats blaming the Proud Boys and
similar groups for the increased violence, the consequences of these attitudes could be significant.
Law enforcement should treat all violence as equally important, but political leaders may reflect the
same attitudes as many of our respondents and cause some who cause political violence to be
under-investigated or punished.”

North Carolina may not be a viable microcosm of America, but in essence

1. Peaceful protest is acceptable irrespective of the political orientation
2. Political violence, including the violent disruption of political process, is unacceptable
3. Although such people are clearly in the minority, about one tenth of Americans approve of political violence to get their way. 

My guess is that the third group consists largely of extremists on the Left and Right. Obviously that is far larger than some current protest movements with a left-leaning orientation (Black Lives Matter) and, frankly, much of the Right (including the "gun rights" movement and anti-abortion cause).

I can say this: if the state were Massachusetts or Wyoming and something has disdain among 80% of the public such would suggest that it is unpopular nationwide. America may be polarized -- but not that much. Violence is as American as cherry pie -- but so are tornadoes and rattlesnakes. At least I can take shelter from a tornado and can back off from a rattlesnake. 

If Democrats can connect incumbent or challenger Republicans to support of the January 6 insurrection, then they have a powerful tool for defeating that pol.      


personal comment:

It is distressing that only 84% of the people think it acceptable to show a sign in front of a government building opposing a government policy and that 11% of the people think it acceptable to take over a government building as a protest. The first may be cognitive failure (in short, stupidity or ignorance) or a contempt for human rights (a totalitarian tendency). Acceptance of political violence out of disdain for a political result, as of an election or a ruling of a court, is also generally an extremist position. There will be people who see the takeover of the Capitol building as an expression of patriotism and not of treachery.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.

"My" Congressional Representative:

[Image: 172824552_4301348506544392_5577016165140...e=609BB2CB]

...a billboard on heavily-traveled Interstate 94 in eastern Michigan between Jackson and Ann Arbor.
The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated Communist  but instead the people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists -- Hannah Arendt.


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