President Biden’s impeachment and other American nightmares to come in 2023

Picture this: It’s a gray, cold day in Washington, DC, in March 2023. A handful of protesters from left-wing groups like Indivisible are huddled outside against the icy winds of the Potomac, but mostly there is a climate of disbelief in the national capital. as the GOP-dominated House of Representatives concludes debate on the impeachment of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr., 46th President of the United States.

It had been just over five months since Republicans won 43 House seats at the midpoint of 2022, many in newly-appointed seats, and since the new chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio, began to study a menu of equally off-the-wall options – Hunter Biden’s laptop, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, or something unprecedented regarding the President’s mental acuity – for Biden’s impeachment hearings.

Ultimately, Jordan and his colleagues – including the radical QAnon conspiracy theorists who had replaced GOP moderates Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – decided the pretext didn’t even matter much.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy – who had avoided a challenge to his leadership by flying to Mar-a-Lago and promising Donald Trump that Biden, like his predecessor, would bear the stain of impeachment – delivered the closing speech and noted that Republicans had promised “to end this era of decline and to end this presidency.” A Code Pink protester broke into the ground and shouted “Why are you doing this?” Before two beefy guards drag her outside, while a handful of Trump supporters in the gallery began chanting, “Let’s Go Brandon.”

This is America’s immediate future, and yet – with all the sometimes ludicrous speculation inside the Beltway on less urgent and less likely issues like Democrats ditching Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg – it is clear that neither the press, nor the public, nor the political classes are really ready for the year which will upset American democracy: 2023.

A few developments this week have highlighted the collision course looming in just over a year. On Capitol Hill, Wednesday’s bitterly partisan fight against censorship by zealous right-wing Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona – who had tweeted a cartoon video of him killing Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – revealed the depths of the GOP’s obsession with political revenge if and when the party regains control of Congress. said McCarthy, currently leader of the minority: “What they [Democrats] started cannot be easily undone.

At the same time, a growing body of polls suggest that it will take a political miracle in November 2022 for Democrats to stop this GOP majority from happening. With swing voters enraged by inflation, frustration over a pandemic that refuses to end, a fiery culture war, and questions about Biden’s leadership that have increased with media coverage of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new survey shows Republicans in Congress are running a generic ballot on Democrats 51% to 41%, their biggest margin in the 40-year history of the issue.

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It is not a shock. Barring some sort of 9/11-style nightmare that no one wants, the ruling White House party typically wins seats in that president’s first midterm election – but 2022 will fight over an extremely uneven playing field, thanks to all of the 10-year congressional mapping strategy known as the gerrymandering.

Republicans – who control the majority of state legislatures, in part because of their radical gerrymandering ten years ago – are mostly using this edge to create a national map that would make the medium-term outlook for next year bleak for Democrats, even if the party rebounded pretty much even in those polls. Typical is the remapping process in competitive states that lean slightly towards the Republican like North Carolina – where party registration is roughly equal but the new districts tilt 10-4 for the GOP – or Ohio, where Republicans who won 55% of the 2020 presidential vote gerrymandered a stunning 12-3 congressional advantage. A bill passed by the House that would have thwarted extreme gerrymandering was rejected by the great American “decision maker” of the 2020s, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

No wonder a number of political scientists interviewed this week by New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall had two fundamental perspectives for Democrats in 2022: darker and darker. They predicted that Republicans could win at least 24 seats and possibly up to 40 seats and more to wipe out the current narrow Democratic majority. Tufts University political scientist Brian Schaffner told Edsall “Perhaps many expected that a return to normal leadership would immediately resolve the unprecedented problems facing the country. Of course, that was never a realistic expectation.

Despite polls and last week’s ugliness on the House floor, most pundits and many political junkies remain more obsessed with 2024 – Trump’s return to the main stage, or questions about Biden’s takeover – than the political crisis that seems likely to come before it. If Democrats aim to achieve a “do you believe in miracles?” … Yes! “Back to the midterm elections, there are a couple of things that need to happen. The first is to make clear to an electorate who gave Biden a 7 million vote margin in 2020 what will be the consequences of the GOP rule in Congress… such as:

An impeachment of Biden. Capital Hill’s most extreme Republicans have scrambled to hold Biden impeachment hearings. In reality, four members of the GOP House filed lost-cause impeachment articles against the 46th president in September, citing a mishmash of supposed causes such as the temporary chaos in Afghanistan, the influx of migrants last spring to the border and his handling of the moratorium on evictions. Given the pressure from the Trump-inspired party to take revenge for the tit-for-tat against Democrats, it’s not hard to imagine a effort 2023 to put Biden on a par with POTUS 45, which has been indicted twice over the Ukraine scandal and the Jan.6 insurgency.

The end of accountability for January 6 and Trump’s failed coup. Weeks away from arguably the most dangerous day for American democracy since the end of the Civil War, the overwhelming majority of GOPers on Capitol Hill clearly expressed their conviction that any investigation into the causes and leaders of the insurgency is a partisan witch hunt on what they now insist on the over-caffeinated “tourism” of the Capitol Rotunda. All threads of the current House inquiry will be left hanging, and it is possible that Attorney General Merrick Garland himself will be impeached if he attempts to indict Trump or other criminal leaders. .

118th Congress obsessed with revenge who will spend most of his time on à la Benghazi the hearings were aimed at embarrassing members of the Biden administration as well as the president and vice president, and on efforts to censor left-wing members of the so-called Squad which includes Ocasio-Cortez and lightning rod allies like Rep. Ilhan Omar, and remove them from committees as happened with Gosar and GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Any problem-related bill emanating from a house run by McCarthy would likely ignore economics or other critical issues, in favor of banning abortion and teaching “critical theory of death.” race”.

There are many reasons to fear this scenario and yet to feel a little confused. Any GOP ‘wave election’ in 2022 would be driven by independent swing voters who would be disappointed that Biden had not done more to stop inflation or end the COVID-19 crisis, but there is no Republican agenda to deal with it, or any of the other real issues America faces. Of course, GOP candidates like Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin have succeeded not with ideas but by stoking cultural resentments.

Democrats are politically naive (not exactly a new phenomenon) in thinking that a solid package of spending bills – on infrastructure and possibly to expand pre-K and expand child tax credits – or that even optimistic predictions not less than Goldman Sachs of the record unemployment rate in 2022 will change the dynamics. They must remember that Biden won last year not so much on his economic promises, but by presenting the election to Trump-exhausted voters as “a battle for the soul of America.

So far, 2021 has only shown that winning a key battle hasn’t ended this war. If anything, what Republicans are prepared to do with Trump out of office could ultimately prove to be an even greater threat to democracy than having actually overbearing but inept Trump in the White House. Democrats must start sounding the alarm today – as voters who surrendered in near record numbers in 2020, to defeat the culture of Trumpism, we have to challenge history and show up next November, to avoid something even worse. Yes, today’s electorate is tired of the chaos, but they should wait until 2023 because they haven’t seen anything yet.

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