What the Next Election is About: Or Why We Must Have a Leftist in the White House


The next four years are not about legislation.

They are about the regulatory rules begun by Obama. Nothing gets through congress anymore. For the last 6 years, with the rise of the Tea Party, Congress has officially shut down. It’s all regulatory plays. It’s all about implementation of the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and federal land management and immigration and Voting Rights Act and gun control and Ocean Planning and Net Neutrality and the keystone pipeline and DOMA and Paris Climate Accords and getting the National Labor Relations Board stacked in our favor and banning drilling off the Atlantic Seaboard and civil rights suits against bad police departments and the NC LGBTQ discrimination laws and rulings about protecting transgender children in schools and appointing Supreme Court justices and lower court justices and on and on.  These are all regulatory stances, executive orders, rules interpretations, and appointments. These rules interpretations were hard fought, too. They don’t happen at the whim of a pen. They take a long slog through bureaucratic channels to become executive orders. People and organizations–not big banks and Wall Street and major corporations–but non-profits like Ocean Conservancy and American Rivers and Reef Ball and on and on and on have been working for eight years to get these rules in place–because laws can’t get passed in this new era of no-compromise divided gov’t–and to give all these gains up would be absolutely devastating and heart breaking.It’s not about legislation. It’s about regulations.

Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, and the ideological Left are all playing right into the Republican leaderships plan. In fact, that leadership is counting on those three entities to do for it what it can’t do on its own:  defeat the Democrats.  Without Stein and Sanders and their supporters, the Right Wing has no chance to win the White House, will probably lose the Senate, and, maybe, just maybe, lose the House.

And the Left gets the Supreme Court for the next 20 years.

However, if the Stein / Sanders fans do their job right–the way McConnell and Ryan and Cruz hope–then the Right Wing wins.


Here’s the Republican playbook:

 1) Block all legislation.

2) Since Obama can’t pass any legislation because of 1), Obama and federal bureaucracy interprets existing law in their favor in the form of rulings and executive orders.

3) Republicans call him a tyrant and a King, who uses executive authority to thwart congress.

4) Right wing States sue Obama and the Executive bureaucracy.

5) Supreme Court (prior to Scalia’s death), generally sides with conservative States.

6) Everyone gets frustrated and doesn’t vote, except Tea Partiers.

7) Dems stay home or vote for a 3rd party candidate who will be ideologically pure.

8) Elect a Republican president.

9) Reverse all executive actions.

10) Add (probably) three right wing Supreme Court justices and swing the Court to the right again for the next 20 years.

11) Get rewarded for stopping all legislation for the last 6.5 years.

Thanks to the left. With friends like these . . . .

Right now, many on the Left are implementing McConnell’s and Ryan’s and Cruz’s plan perfectly. The Republicans know that without a Democratic 3rd term, all Obama’s orders can be reversed and they can restore the Supreme Court to the right wing for the next 20-30 years.

In short, the Left who won’t support Hillary are McConnell’s tools. The Republican leadership is back slapping and saying “I told you it would work!,” to themselves.

We hear a lot these days among a certain segment of the left about the differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The argument goes that since Sanders doesn’t take money from Super PACs or Wall Street corporations, he alone can affect change and restore balance to the economic disparity we see today. By contrast, Clinton, so the argument runs, is beholden to corporate interests today and thus corrupted by that influence. Furthermore, her tenure as First Lady to Bill Clinton’s presidency has undergone selective revisionist history: we’re all aware of the Clinton / Gingrich compromises. Therefore, according to this argument, only Bernie Sanders can accomplish progressivist goals, while Clinton will only serve her corporate masters.

I’d like, however, stake a different claim. I’d like to suggest that even if Bernie Sanders were elected, he’d only disappoint his most fervent supporters because, just like Obama couldn’t even get the “public option,” when he had control of BOTH houses of congress, Sanders won’t be able to get any of his proposals through a Paul Ryan House, even if the left regains a small majority in the Senate.  Here’s why:

The next four years are not about legislation.

Both Sanders and Clinton will protect and extend these rulings.

Trump will rip them up.

It’s about interpretation and implementation of EXISTING law becuase NO NEW LAWS are happening over the next four years. It’s about the moves like Obama made by not defending DOMA or not attacking Colorado weed laws and such. And the Republican counter is “Obama’s Unconstitutional power grabs.” And then they sue and it goes through the courts and that’s why ALL THAT MATTERS is getting a Democrat in the White House to continue that REGULATORY implementation.

And they can be undone quickly.

Therefore, if Bernie Sanders were to have been the nominee and were he to beat Trump, he’d be in the same boat as Obama and HRC. Nothing he proposes can or will become law. Hillary knows this and it’s why she’s not promising big, huge things. Because nothing will get through this House and Senate. Nothing. So we are left then with the following question: Will HRC continue the moves that Obama has begun? And would Trump undo them?

The answer to both is yes.

I know that’s not sexy or interesting but everyone in DC knows that’s what this election is and always was about. Bernie or Hillary can say all they want about what they are gonna do but none of it–ZERO–of it will happen. No way. Impossible. What CAN happen is environmental regulation interpretations. Dodd Frank implementation. Obamacare interpretations and implementation.

These are not Laws. Right? See what I mean? It’s the truth. And it’s ALL that matters. Think about the last six years? What have the battles been? Think about it.

But it’s legal interpretations like this that matter: it’s a bill about spending for energy and water programs in which Senator Hoeven has added an amendment to repeal Obama’s protections for the Clean Water Act. He’s constantly having to defend these rules because he can’t get any legislation through. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s the game that is played until we get the House and the Senate back in Democratic hands.

People don’t like the messiness of politics. Will HRC veto appropriations bills that repeal EPA rulings on the Clean Water Act? Will Trump? Do you know who cares about the Clean Water Act? Every single talk radio show and Fox news broadcast hammers on this over and over and over again: THE EPA TRYING TO REGULATE OUR BIRD BATHS and your SHOWERS!! They write Senator Hoeven and Cruz and Isaakson and Hatch and Rubio about it and they vote in every single mid-term and then they riders attached to appropriations bill, which fund our gov’t, to block the ruling.

The Republican Playbook

Why a ruling?

Because they block any legislation and all legislation that comes from a Democrat; therefore, Obama has to do executive actions and then the Republicans call him a tyrannical over reacher who eschews the legislative branch and then the States sue and it goes to the Supreme Court (like his immigration policy which is about to get slapped down because Democrats just couldn’t get on Gore’s train and lost the chance to nominate Supreme Court justices. . . ) and so on . . .

That’s the complexity of governance . . .

And that’s how the Tea Party always wins ’cause you know who will vote? That racist as hell granny down the street, and she’s rollin’ with Trump / Cruz.

If Democrats “stay home,” then they are playing right into the Republican playbook: they fulfill McConnell’s prophecy.

And, if you really want to get into it, we’re being  fundamentally dishonest if we pretend that the simple, binary and reductive is true and that the complex and networked is dishonest, propagating the lie that the world is black and white.  HRC, on the other hand, lives in the political world of complexity, the networked, where things get really complicated, real life, where there are no right answers only best guesses . . . the world of governance . . .

We all want Medicare for all. We all know it is the right way to go. Yet, we deceive ourselves by peddling the belief that medicare for all is possible and Obama didn’t do it because he is corrupt or weak rather than stating the truth: that governance is difficult and full of getting what you can get in small, incremental steps, and that over the next 4-8 years no legislation will get passed, just as it hasn’t over the last 7 . . . all that exists is executive actions and rules interpretations. For Bernie to say otherwise is a lie, plain and simple. He’s peddling reductive thought.



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