To perfect our analysis, we will identify red flags ---public statements or actions by public officials or their supporters that are better explained by the Six Points model than the current left-right equivalence model. The red flags will inform our discussion of actions that go beyond the pale of behavior that is generally considered normal and decent. We will identify and discuss flawed responses by policymakers and commentators who are working under the model in which the false equivalence premise is taken as a proper starting point of any discussion.
This blog was launched in mid-February 2016, coincidentally upon the death of Antonin Scalia and the McConnell announcement that hearings on a successor appointed by President Obama would never be held. About this Blog explained my observation that Republicans had for years operated under a Playing to Win strategy, employing campaign tactics and governing tactics geared primarily toward winning elections, blocking legislation advanced by political opponents, and, when in power, pushing forward their own legislation, preferring a no-compromise stance.
Subsequent posts anticipated a continuation of scorched earth tactics by Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail until those tactics reached a point where the tactics themselves would overwhelm the basic functioning of the U.S. government, threatening the integrity of this federal republic and turning a federal form into a de facto confederation of States, where the greatest power lies with the States and the rights of citizens are determined by the States in which they reside instead of the federal level.
Throughout the campaign of 2016, the most likely outcome based on the prognosticators was a Hillary Clinton presidency, a Republican-controlled House, and a nearly 50-50 split Senate, possibly under Democratic control due to a tie-breaking vote by the Vice President. That structure would have been similar to the balance of power, or tilted Democratic, compared to the recent few years.
Predictions on this blog focused less on the forecast results of the statistical analysts, than on the continued degradation of the institutions. Democratic control of any branch of government was anticipated to bring continued upping the ante of harsh political tactics by Republicans. The Trump campaign took the extreme tactics of Republican campaigns much further than ever before.
Under this baseline - the Clinton win scenario, the greatest concern was a severe dislocation such as an assassination of a leader. At the very least, we were already hearing in the final weeks of the election campaign from a conservative theorist and Senators McCain and Cruz that confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice was not necessary to a proper functioning of government. In fact, a smaller high Court was suddenly a good thing. Such is the stark level of cynicism of these tacticians. They forget or do not care that abusing the powers of government to weaken the institutions chips away at the legitimacy of government. At some point, citizens will not be fooled by these cynical tactics. All governments derive their power by the consent of the governed, but in a democratic republic, the good faith of the leaders is necessary for continued legitimacy. When the policies being implemented result from a combination of extremely dangerous campaign tactics, a mainstream political press on bended knee, and a cynical willingness to exploit any and all shortcomings in the checks and balances of our system, those policies can not be considered legitimate.
So our thinking was that November 9th would possibly bring more of the same, but with a Republican party firmly established at the state and local level throughout most of the country, but riven by intra-party feuding at the federal level, in the House and Senate. Although the right-wing militias would be restive, there was hope the republic would survive.
Instead the Republican trifecta of President, House, and Senate with an upcoming Supreme Court nomination, rendered illegitimate by the gamesmanship, gives the Republicans plenty of power to share among themselves in the Congress.
And so it has happened. Republican tactics in campaigns and the workings of government have spread to the FBI who participated in the election first with Comey's interventions -- then again tipping the scales to the now Republican president-elect.
Cynical tactics have led to a government that many consider illegitimate - in part due to the mainstream press not doing their job - compounded by not understanding the press failed at their role. The jubilant winners of the election now prepare to consolidate their power for maximum impact. This is what they do best. We can expect protests against the new government to continue and flare up. Harsh crackdowns on protesters after January 20th will be no surprise. Our new government will look like a banana republic because that is the favored model of the new regime. And any hope for a functioning democracy is hanging by a thread.