Connect with us

Politics

It's a new year but the politics of 2020 aren't going away – CNN

Published

 on


There will be 20 more days of Trump and he will be on fire. The President has brought his drama show back to Washington early, perhaps realizing his time in the White House is down to days and counting. He’s also hoping to pressure Republican lawmakers to back his wild and inaccurate claims of fraud when the electoral votes that seal his exit are counted in what’s normally an antiquated ceremony.
He will also travel to Georgia for his last political rally as President, when he encourages voters there to show up for the all-important January 5 runoff and protect Republicans’ Senate majority. There are, as of this writing, two developing complications for Trump. He’s spent months attacking the electoral system as fraudulent, particularly in Georgia, where he lost. And one of the Republican candidates, Sen. David Perdue, will have to quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
There will be a show January 6. CNN’s Jake Tapper reported Thursday that as many as 140 House Republicans could vote to throw out electoral votes from swing states. That’s a strong majority of the Republicans in the House trying to overturn the election and swear fealty to the President.
It’s an easier vote in the House, where objections to the election are destined to fall against the larger number of Democrats in that chamber.
Senators who bit their tongues during his presidency will have a chance to find their independence.
There will be calls for sanity. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse criticized those who would object to the electoral votes of Pennsylvania, and perhaps other states, when they’re counted January 6.
“I have been urging my colleagues also to reject this dangerous ploy,” Sasse wrote in a six-part Facebook post, after Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, said he would be the senator who forced votes on the objections.
It’ll be an aggravating vote for those Senate Republicans running for reelection in 2022, when the party is defending more Senate seats than Democrats.
There will be a split in the GOP. A vote for the objections Trump wants is a vote for conspiracy theory over fact and against the democratic will of the country.
A vote against the objections is to accept the decision of the people but defy the grassroots of the GOP and fail a fealty test to Trump, likely inviting a primary challenge in the near future.
Few Senate Republicans want to make this choice, which is why party elders had tried to shield themselves from it. But now that Hawley has decided to object, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear to lawmakers he’s giving them room to vote their conscience, according to a source familiar with a Thursday conference call on which McConnell asked Hawley — who was not in attendance — to explain his rationale.
Still, McConnell went on to tell his colleagues that even with a career as long as his, the vote would mark one of the most significant, perhaps the most significant, he’d ever cast — and that it would mark the same for each senator on the call, two people familiar with the call told CNN.
But this intraparty split will carry over to other questions. As Trump weighs in, unbound by any sort of official responsibility, his sway over the party will be tested.
President Trump’s tweets in favor of $2,000 stimulus checks got several GOP senators to endorse the idea, although McConnell effectively killed it.
When former President Trump tweets in favor of something, will Republicans pay attention?
There will be a reckoning over the President’s Twitter account. Even after he’s left office, the President will have access to his Twitter account. It’s been his preferred mode of communication while in office. The problem for the soon-to-be former President is that he may not be given the same deference by social media companies out of office as he’s been given as leader of the free world.
Twitter and Facebook have taken to marking as suspect the posts in which he spreads outright falsehoods about his election loss, but it may soon become difficult for those companies to justify allowing him to spread them at all.
Accounts have been suspended for less than what Trump does on a daily basis and the social media companies will come under immediate pressure to censure Trump, perhaps by suspending his account.
The effects of such a move, were it to occur, would be interesting not only to see if his power to influence is clipped without his platform, but also to hasten GOP scrutiny of “Section 230,” a provision of telecom law that separates the companies from the content users publish on their sites.
There will be a split among Democrats. It’s much easier to be united in pursuit of power than it is to stay united in power. Trump, to his credit, was able to effectively marshal Republicans, often through fear and bullying, during his time in office. As president, it’s unlikely Biden will use those same tactics. And he’ll have to contend with progressives on the left who want more attention to big problems like climate change and inequality that require systemic change the moderates in his party have less interest in pursuing. A year from now, it will be much easier for Republicans to focus on Biden’s policies — and he’s likely to be a relatively moderate president — in a way to aggravate and turn off progressives. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won’t quietly let Biden take the moderate route. Neither will Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or the Congressional Black Caucus.
The proof of these divides is already evident in the scrutiny Biden has faced from progressives in the selection of his Cabinet.
His ability to navigate the demands of the groups that rallied behind his campaign, and navigate around Republican obstruction, will determine whether he can get anything done in the White House.
There will be a majority in the Senate. We just don’t know yet which party will have it. That depends on what happens in Georgia’s twin US Senate runoffs Tuesday. If the two Republican incumbents — Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler — win, Republicans will have 51 votes and control access to the Senate floor. Given McConnell’s expertise in obstruction and interest in the 2022 midterms, a 51-seat majority could be Biden’s biggest presidential headache. If the Democratic challengers — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — win, the resulting 50-50 tie won’t give Democrats much wiggle room to pass legislation, but it will give them the ability to get measures on the Senate floor with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris able to break ties as president of the Senate.
There will be so much more Covid. The beginning of Biden’s presidency will likely be judged more for what he does to kickstart the use of Covid vaccines than for any large policy proposals. The country is at war with the disease and, as he prepares to take office, thousands of Americans are dying each day. He’s promised to “move heaven and earth” to get vaccines out to Americans, something more easily said than done as he navigates public skepticism of vaccines.
There will be something new. Think back to the beginning of 2020, when Covid was not yet known to be in the country, and the overriding political story was the historic impeachment of Trump for pressuring foreign governments to help him taint Biden.
One year later, those words seem like something from a different era. Covid rages, impeachment feels like a footnote to history and, rather than suffer Trump’s sabotage, Biden will soon be president.
The coming year is sure to include its own twists, and our collective view of this strange and tumultuous period will change as it’s stretched through time and perspective.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Donald Trump may not be done disrupting American politics, only this time it could actually end up being an improvement – Salt Lake Tribune

Published

 on


President Joe Biden set the tone for his new administration last week seeking to reunite a divided country.
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge,” he said, “and unity is the path forward and we must meet this moment as the United States of America.”
It was a noble, aspirational inauguration speech and a message this divided country needed to hear. But it won’t be easy, not in a political environment where for years Americans have been pushed into clans and fed resentment and mistrust.
Sen. Ben Sasse from Nebraska wrote a piece in The Atlantic last week about the reckoning the Republican Party is facing and the soul-searching and house-cleaning that needs to take place to set it in the right direction.
This assumes the Republican Party can be salvaged. It may be too late for that, and there’s another guy who shares that view: Recently unemployed Florida man Donald Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump had discussed creating a new political party — the Patriot Party — as a refuge for his true believers.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Gehrke.

Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as he’s out of office he comes up with an idea that makes sense. I say that not because it might blow up the Republican Party. I say it because the two-party system is the worst feature of modern American politics.
Our government is so hopelessly dysfunctional that facing a crisis of historic proportions, it took months to pass a COVID relief bill — and that’s just one example. But the larger problem is that the current party structure isn’t about governing at all. It’s about power and holding onto that power by creating a big enough tent.
It has reached a point, however, that in this push to be everything to everybody, the parties have lost any philosophical cohesion.
In what world can you have a Republican Party going forward that includes both Mitt Romney and the people who rampaged through the Capitol looking to take members of Congress hostage? And how does the average Republican feel represented by that party?
The Democrats have an identity crisis of their own, trying to hold together people like Ben McAdams and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
Trying to find a way for everyone to fit means nobody fits well, like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to cram their feet into ill-fitting slippers. It makes sense that nearly a third of Utah voters choose to not affiliate with either party. That number will continue to grow.
That’s because, as humans, we all have different experiences that inform different world views and beliefs. Things aren’t black-and-white, purely Democratic or Republican.
Maybe you are pro-life but believe in a liberal immigration policy and are a dyed-in-the-wool union member. Or you are devoutly religious, love your guns and think the threat of climate change is dire and everyone deserves a guaranteed income. Or you’re a Black entrepreneur who opposes government regulation but believes Black Lives Matter and police should stop shooting people.
None of that matters in our current system. Donkey or elephant, blue or red — those are your choices. Don’t like it? Feel free to throw away your vote.
If your grocery store gave you two choices of toilet paper — both of them bad, like mesh vs. extra coarse — you’d probably find another store, but this is the only store we have.
Hillary Stirling, the newly minted chairwoman of the United Utah Party would like to give people more choices. Both nationally and in Utah, she said, the two major party agendas are driven by the fringes.
“The people on the extremes are the people who are most active, most interested in politics, so they’re the ones who show up and are most vocal,” she said. That leaves those in the middle dissatisfied with their voices, but the United Utah Party has struggled, like all third-parties, to make much headway.
The inevitable result of these two combatant parties trying to remain in power is we end up with pure bloodsport. The incentives are on obstruction and demonization, not collaboration and compromise. It partly explains why we’ve seen the fierce polarization — fueled by media and online outlets that drive the wedge deeper, which in turn are exploited by opportunistic, ambitious politicians.
We’ve seen other parties rise and fade and we have a handful of third parties in place now, but they aren’t viable because the two parties that make the rules have created a system that perpetuates their power. And because they’re the only viable options, they get all the money.
Without money, minor parties can’t put their candidates in front of people, they can’t get on the ballot, they can’t get into the debates, they can’t win — and when they can’t win donors won’t give money.
“Especially the way our current system is set up, it’s either/or. The question that is currently asked is: Who do you want out of these two people?” Stirling said. “There are better ways to do it, so let’s try those better ways.”
Those better ways, though, will take serious structural changes like public campaign financing, ranked-choice voting or electing members of Congress proportionately, rather than from districts gerrymandered to benefit one party or the other.
The other possibility is the rise of a viable third, and maybe fourth, parties, something Theodore Roosevelt’s popularity couldn’t do and that Ross Perot’s money couldn’t do. It’s possible Trump could use both money and a cult-like following to disrupt the two-party system.
Or, perhaps, Biden is right and, despite a track record to the contrary, Democrats and Republicans can come together and chart a new course and we don’t need major reforms to our system. I hope he is right.
Given our recent history, however, it seems more likely that we’ll see more of the same, with the two parties, left to their own self-serving devices, continuing to pull Americans further and further apart until there is a rift that can’t be healed.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Politics Chat: Biden To Sign More Executive Orders In First Full Week As President – NPR

Published

 on


President Biden will begin his first full week in the White House. Many of the executive orders he’s been signing and will sign this week are part of a plan he laid out for his first 10 days.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Why Biden's vaccine goals are likely too modest and good politics – CNN

Published

 on


That’s generally in line with other polling (such as last week’s CNN/SSRS survey) that showed that most Americans were displeased with how Donald Trump’s administration handled the coronavirus pandemic.
What’s the point: President Joe Biden’s administration has come under some criticism for its goal to deliver 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine in its first 100 days. Some people believe it is too modest a goal. The Biden administration has pushed back on that claim.
A look at the statistics reveal that it may very well be too modest, but it’s likely good politics.
Let’s start with the basic fact that humans developing multiple Covid-19 vaccines in less than a year was a scientific achievement for the ages.
The Trump administration then completely botched the expectations game on the vaccine rollout. They set an initial goal of getting 20 million vaccine doses into the arms of Americans by the end of 2020.
As I noted last week, we simply didn’t come close to reaching that milestone in December.
We’re very likely to hit 20 million total doses administered? in the next few days, however, as more than 19 million doses have been administered as of early Friday.
Overall, as Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed out, “less than 500,000 shots a day” were administered during Trump’s time in office once the first shots were given on December 14.
It’s a true statement, but I must admit that it feels like it doesn’t encapsulate all the facts. You can’t just look at the entirety of the Trump run to determine whether Biden’s setting a low goal.
After all, it takes time for the states and the federal government to figure out how to coordinate with each other and themselves to distribute the vaccines.
Moreover, a number of states were very strict with who could get the vaccines at first. There were reports of doses getting thrown out.
States have since opened up the eligibility. Combined with more practice in actually delivering the vaccine, the number of people getting doses each state has gone up dramatically.
Since January 13, we have averaged greater than 800,000 doses administered every day. On three days since that date, we’ve had more than a million people get the vaccine. This includes on Friday, when the CDC reported an increase of more than 1.5 million doses administered from the day before.
We’ve done a better job of administering the doses we have than we used to. We used to only administer less than a third of the doses distributed. Only once before January 12 had we administered more than 33%. It’s been above that every day since. In fact, it’s been greater than 45% each of the last four days reported.
This is before the Biden administration has had any real opportunity to change anything from the Trump administration.
Of course, the past isn’t always prologue. We could run out of vaccines, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
We know that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have pledged to deliver 200 million doses of their vaccine combined in the first quarter of this year (i.e. through March). This doesn’t even count the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which, if approved, could deliver tens of millions more doses by the beginning of April.
The bottom line is that it’s very easy to see how the Biden administration hits 100 million doses in 100 days. We’re basically already doing it, and we should have the doses available to keep doing it.
Indeed, America may end up doing considerably better than 100 million doses in 100 days.
Now, it’s possible that things go awry in vaccine production or distribution. That’s why it’s usually best to keep expectations low.
Biden’s team, if anything, wants to do the exact opposite of what Trump did. They don’t want to set a bar that can easily prove impossible to beat. They want a bar that can be met and can potentially be exceeded.
In other words, they may end up under-promising and over-delivering.
Usually, voters reward politicians who do what Biden’s team could do. They clearly punished Trump for the opposite.
To be clear, Americans expect Biden to fulfill his promise. The vast majority (70%) of Americans told CNN pollsters that the Biden administration is at least somewhat likely to reach its goal of 100 million does in 100 days.
If we don’t, there could be a heavy political price to pay.
Before we bid adieu: The theme song of the week is Scrubs.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending