With the impeachment trial in the rear view mirror, it's time to assess where we are. Covid deaths are still unacceptably high, but the good news is, they are now beginning to fall and the new administration is starting to have an impact. Are there still problems? Absolutely there are, but the key point is, that lessons are being learned and nobody is doubling down on mistakes made. Vaccinations are still not quite there in terms of logistics, but every day more knowledge is gathered on how to improve the situation. I'm confident that as I suggested last week, Biden has wisely underpromised and will overdeliver on his vaccination strategy. If I had one observation, I would say get a grip on this schools situation, as it has all the hallmarks of becoming a drag on the first 100 days. Take 2 weeks, vaccinate all the teachers and get schools back open. Don't get dragged into the position that it's not necessary to vaccinate teachers to get kids back to school. The CDC chief should know better. Schools are not a one size fits all environment, some have poor ventilation and not enough space to socially distance kids. If we accept that kids are less likely to substantially increase transmission, then GET TEACHERS VACCINATED and remove this objection obstacle.
Biden has advocated for union representation, so he has to adapt policy to take account for collective bargaining on issues beyond pay. The safety of teachers is paramount, if you want to create an environment where teaching can be done without staff living in fear of dying. It really is a no brainer. If a segment of the population has to wait for their vaccination, so teachers and kids can get back to school, that's an easy message to sell and it's a cornerstone of getting America back to work. Schools provide a safe space, as well as a learning environment for some kids. It means they get support and in some cases food that they might be struggling with at home. It's time to introduce America to collective responsibility. If I had a critical observation of the new administration, it's that they are allowing the schools issue to get away from them. While they are working on getting the American Rescue Plan passed, they can vaccinate teachers so that passing the plan can coincide with funding being made available for schools to open. It really is a no brainer.
Moving back to the Republican Party, i heard much discussion yesterday about the future of the GOP and was it still Trump's party. Can I just say here and now I DON'T CARE. He can have it. He is now perpetrating his second 'big lie', by trying to convince the GOP that without him, there is no future. The important point is, there is now enough of a shift from 'moderate' Republicans to change the electoral dynamic? They last won the popular vote in 2004, so without the electoral college and the filibuster, they are dead in the water. Even with these 2 critical advantages, they couldn't win this time despite concerted attempts to suppress the Democrat vote. This tells you, they are coming from behind, even before the current civil war within the party. If Democrats were smart, they would be working in the background to abolish the electoral college and confine the filibuster to the history books. If they can do that, I believe that they could keep Republicans out of power, possibly for decades. Whilst I don't think that's healthy for politics, right now, it has to be a long term goal, if they are to create a more equitable society in which nobody is left behind.
The GOP is not going to go quietly. McConnell's forked tongue statement following his vote to acquit Trump, was the wily old fox, doing a political soft shoe shuffle. He knows there is a day of reckoning coming and he wants to have a foot in both camps. He's been around too long to pin his loyalty to Trump, as some stupid colleagues are doing. If you follow the political thinking of the likes of Josh Hawley and his seditious friends, then you have to believe that the majority of Americans are racist greedy monsters who care for nobody but themselves and their white friends. However, if you do the electoral maths, it's just not enough. At the moment 59.7% of the US population is white, followed by Hispanics at 18.7%, then Black and Asian Americans. It is estimated that by 2030 whites will be down to 55.8%, Hispanics will be up to 21.1%, with Black and Asian Americans growing significantly too. You can see where this is going and more importantly, you can see why the Hispanic vote is so important. The political landscape will change significantly over the next couple of decades and that is not lost on Republicans.
Take a look at this great piece (by PBS), to better understand the demographic implications.
There is no question that the Trump base was a formidable adversary and they powered Trump to the White House. His toxic brand of division and fear of the outsider, fuelled an underbelly of nationalist sentiment that had always been there. He had simply unlocked the cage and invited them out to play. The reality is, America is a nation of immigrants and the wealth of the country has been built on their shoulders and more often that not, on their dead bodies. The power of cult politics was nurtured and let loose in a way that was truly terrifying. What is even more concerning, is that there are a significant number of Republicans today, that believe it should be further exploited for political gain. The good new is, this block is simply not big enough to win an election. That is not to say they won't win congressional and Senate seats, they will, because in certain red states the fringe right is still and will remain a prominent force. Dems should take comfort in the fact that if the GOP vote is split, it is effectively impotent when it comes to control of both houses.
Republicans are very aware that they will be unable to win either house on a level playing field, so they will inevitably turn to voter suppression and gerrymandering.
This is already underway and Dems MUST be awake to it and act accordingly. I've said it before, but it's worthy of a further mention, the Dems won the 2020 election because of the black vote. There's no argument and without the likes of Stacey Abrams and her team, the Senate would never have been flipped by Georgia. Stacey will be the first to tell you, that is was a massive team effort, but it was her leadership that over a decade, built a strategy to better connect with voters of color. It turned out to be the difference between winning and losing.
Members like AOC and her progressive colleagues have embraced voter engagement on a level that should be replicated by EVERY member of the Democratic caucus. The days of turning up just to collect votes on election day are history and any member who thinks that is not the case, should step aside.
Given the blizzard of events since Biden's inauguration, you could be excused for not being able to see the wood for the trees. There has been so much disruption at the hands of the former president, that all that was visible was a bleak bleak landscape. Add to that, Republicans had already embarked upon a campaign of maximum obstruction. This has resulted in optimism being obscured by political dogma. The reality is, that Biden has approached his job with steady hands and appointed a top drawer team. This team has taken a pragmatic structured approach to moving forward with the work of the American people. Theres no boasting, self congratulation, or tweet storms in the early hours, just a professional approach to getting the job done. Americans should take great comfort in this, because while the media was focussed on the impeachment trial. Joe was focused on getting stuff done.
To those progressives that were screaming for witnesses I say, enter stage right Nanci Pelosi. If you think Mitch McConnell is wily, you'd have to get up very early to put one over Nancy. The 9/11 type commission is a stroke of genius. Republicans can't argue against it, as they had been suggesting it instead of impeachment. Dems effectively get a bonus bite of the messaging cherry. They get all the benefits of last week's excellent prosecution case, plus the case against Trump as made by Mitch McConnell. Now they get a chance to relive it in the media glare all over again, in a commission to investigate in detail what happened. This will enable Dems to bring into play the seditionist conspirators and a whole lot more. They will get a chance to prosecute the case again in the court of public opinion. If I were Nancy, I'd take six months to finalise terms of reference, then take a little time to appoint someone to head it up. Finally, I would make it last right up to the 2022 mid-terms. It would be a messaging bonanza, allowing Dems to attack all the vulnerable Republicans.
I say as I have said many times before, the future is bright for the Democratic Party, providing they embark on a smart politics campaign, with one eye on addressing voter suppression and gerrymandering. I believe that the Biden administration can effect historic change, if they can build on their current majorities in both houses. That is going to take some concerted well focused messaging to the American people. It is likely that by the time the 2022 mid-terms are in full swing, the economy will be back and investment in infrastructure will have begun. Biden will have had a chance to demonstrate that the future growth does not have to be at the expense of the environment. He can demonstrate that new well paid green jobs, can build America back better, whilst leaving nobody behind.
So smile my friends over you coffee as you read this, the future is bright, the future is green and it will NOT be at the expense of American workers. Just as an aside, I thought the stock market would crash if Biden was elected. Today it is in 31,000 territory. Whilst there is no real takeaway from this in terms of the real economy, it debunks yet another Trump myth. I would sound a not of caution though, as I think we are not too far from a market correction that might shake a few nerves going forward.
Thank you for stopping by and stay safe out there.