Why Pelosi is the big winner in the mid-terms

Nancy Pelosi is the big winner in the 2018 election campaign.  Her faction remained in control of the Democratic Party, despite a progressive insurgency, and then went on to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

She’ll become Speaker of the House again, making her the highest-ranking Democratic elected official.  This is a better outcome, from my standpoint, than a Republican victory in the House races would have been, but it means that the House will not become a forum for proposing changes for the better.

Pelosi has said that she will try to restore “pay as you go” budgeting—which means no big infrastructure program and no Medicare for All.

Nancy Pelosi

It opens the door to another “grand compromise” proposal, in which Democrats offer to cut back on Social Security and Medicare for future retirees in return for repeal of recent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Control of the House gives the Democratic leadership an opportunity to challenge the Pentagon budget and some of the ongoing wars, since all appropriations bills must originate in the House.

There might be some resistance to supporting Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen, but otherwise I expect Democrats in Congress to keep on voting for whatever military spending Trump asks for.

There is a fundamental structural problem in American politics, which is that there are three main political factions trying to operate through a two-party system.  One is the right wing, represented by Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell.  Another is the center, represented by Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton.  The third is the left, represented by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The Trump Republicans now dominate their party.  Centrist opponents to Trump have been driven out.  The Pelosi Democrats are still the dominant faction in their party.  The Sanders Democrats have not been crushed and may yet win in the long run.

The problem is, from my standpoint, is that even Bernie Sanders is not a peace candidate.  He is not as bloodthirsty as Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, but he has never questioned the overall goal of U.S. worldwide military domination or considered how to shift from a war to a peace economy.

So long as the United States is on a permanent war footing, the resources won’t be available to meet the nation’s real needs.

On the whole, the country is somewhat better off—less badly off—than it was before the election.  But Donald Trump still controls 2.5 of the three branches of government, and his opponents need a better vision than putting things back the way they were in 2014.

∞∞∞

It’s a good thing that so many women, African-Americans, LGBTs, Muslims and school teachers ran for office and were elected.  I wouldn’t vote for (or against) anyone because they fell within one or more of these categories, but it’s good to have a wider field to choose from.

I’d hate to see American politics become nothing more than a struggle for power among identity groups—African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants and liberal white college graduates versus everybody else—rather than a conflict of visions of the common good.

∞∞∞

The American system for registering and counting votes is a disgrace.  It is both corrupt and backward.  Republicans have a vested interest in not fixing it.  Voter suppression and miscounting may have given them their margin of victory in Georgia, Florida and Texas.

LINKS

Money Still Rules U.S. Politics, an interview of Thomas Ferguson for Jacobin magazine.  If you click on just one link, I recommend you click on this one.

The ‘Pelosi Problem’ Runs Deep by Norman Solomon for TruthDig.  [Added 11/19/2018]

Chuck Schumer Caved to Facebook and Donald Trump | He Shouldn’t Lead Senate Democrats by Mehdi Hasan for The Intercept.  [Added 11/19/2018]

The Midterm Results Gave Everybody Just Enough to Keep Fighting by Ryan Grim for The Intercept.

Dilbert on Trump, an interview of Scott Adams for Brunswick Review.  Why Donald Trump is a more skilled campaigner than his opponents realize

Michael Lewis Discusses The Fifth Risk, an interview for New York magazine.  About Trump’s wholesale attack on government.

 

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One Response to “Why Pelosi is the big winner in the mid-terms”

  1. Fred Says:

    “cut back on Social Security and Medicare for future retirees in return for repeal of recent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires”

    This has the uniquely distasteful result of pulling in more tax money from everyone while benefiting no one.

    Like

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