In the elections of 2010, grassroots Americans flipped the House from Democratic to Republican based largely on the anger against Nancy Pelosi, who was then the Speaker of the House.
Shortly after the elections, the New York Times asked, “Is Pelosi America’s most unpopular politician?”
It turns out she was, and she was used as a foil for years by grassroots and establishment Republicans in campaigns to crystallize the problems of the nation.
Yet for years, the Democrat Party chose to keep her at the helm of the leadership of the Democratic arm of the House. This year, some Democrats tried to remove her from leadership, and she famously said that she was “worth the trouble.”
The tactic of using Pelosi as a specter of danger during campaigns was extremely successful. Pelosi, in 2013, became the most popular name in congressional leadership, Democrat and Republican alike, but that popularity was largely negative in nature. She became a household name because she was so awful. She was safe in her San Francisco district, but despite that fact, it was her name recognition that destroyed her party’s command.
The nation in 2010 could not remove the president, whom they had finally seen as the destroyer he really was. We tried but could not remove Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with Republican Sharron Angle, due to shenanigans by the establishment wing of the Republican Party. So with the president locked in for at least two more years and the Senate majority leader locked in for 6 more, it was the unremovable Pelosi who took the brunt of the nation’s ire and would for years to come.
Now that the Republicans lead the House, the Senate, and the White House, the lowest-polling leader is Mitch McConnell. Though Pelosi was terribly unfavored, she was not as unfavored in her own party as Mitch McConnell is now.
Just as Pelosi was used during past elections to make the nation think of what kind of future we would have if any of her Democrats remained in office, the nation needs to use Mitch McConnell as the specter Pelosi was and still is to make the nation think of what is standing in the way of the people who want action on the conservative aspects of Trump’s agenda.
Mitch isn’t going anywhere, though many politically inexperienced supporters of the president have suggested he be removed. But though Mitch’s name should be used in the primaries as a weapon, it is his second job that should be the real target.
Recently, the president put McConnell in his Twitter crosshairs, but then relented and made nice when both McConnell’s people and the White House issued statements that they would continue to work together. They intend to work together on agenda items like tax reform, which, if experience is any indication, will be nothing like the promises Trump’s team made during his campaign. They also will work together on infrastructure, which is estimated to add to the deficit significantly. And they both want the debt ceiling raised, as if the nation needs one more boulder on the backs of working Americans. The Senate majority leader’s first job is to continue the legacy of the previous Senate because he’s the epitome of the establishment.
But McConnell’s second job, a job he takes just as seriously as the first, is to elect carbon copies of himself so that they will vote the way he tells them to.
Some Trump supporters are gleeful that Trump was seen before the Phoenix rally with possible challengers to Senator Jeff Flake. But today, those supporters are hoping Sheriff Joe Arpaio will challenge Flake. Since Flake is a McConnell lackey, I suppose the grassroots of Arizona will have to decide who can best oust Flake.
But Trump has put his weight behind Luther Strange of Alabama, another McConnell lackey. So it isn’t wise for Trump supporters to campaign for whoever Trump wants them to, because seemingly Trump himself doesn’t understand that his agenda will never be put into action until the McConnell army is stopped.
If McConnell’s carbon copies win, Trump’s presidency may well end in 2020, with very little done but the continuation of Pelosi’s agenda.
After all the work the people have done to pull the nation away from the fire since 2010, allowing McConnell to continue to elect proxies to call the shots will seriously damage Trump’s agenda, the people’s agenda, and the future of the nation.
Any Republicans running for Senate ought to be asked point-blank if they will go along with McConnell. If they answer yes, they’re done. If they equivocate, they’re done. If they answer no, and provide the right reasons why, they should be carried on the shoulders of the grassroots to victory.
Those who answer improperly will know why: It’s because of Mitch McConnell.