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Bender: A looming Catch-22 for Republicans

"Most Americans don't have the stomach for four more years of Trump's dangerous ineptitude. The danger for Republicans is that if he seeks and loses the nomination, he’ll petulantly take them down, too. If he wins the nomination, though, he'll lose."

Tony Bender
Tony Bender
Contributed
We are part of The Trust Project.

Where's America headed? It depends upon who's driving. Well, let's look at possible destinations, review past paths, and consider the present trajectory.

The opposition historically gains in the midterms, so the Republicans' aim is to stall legislation such as Build Back Better and Freedom to Vote for those two years. Obama hammered home the ACA while he could because once Americans have a benefit it’s difficult to eliminate. Nearly 10% of the nation's potential voters are now covered by Obamacare.

In recent history, when Republicans win, they transfer wealth from the middle and bottom to the top through taxation, regulatory, and legislative manipulation. When Democrats win, it's reversed.

Another obvious cycle is that Republicans undermine the economy and explode national debt while the wealthy plunder the spoils. (In the housing crisis, bankers, not homeowners, were bailed out.) Then, Republicans pass the baton to Democrats while hypocritically bemoaning the size of the mess.

Low interest rates were the response to the Bush Crash — bad for savers, great for investors. Now, trillions of pandemic dollars pumped indiscriminately into the economy, combined with related supply chain and workforce issues, have triggered inflation. Elections are about voters’ sense of well-being.

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Reagan gutted the middle class and exploded national debt. His successor, Bush I, once called it “voodoo economics.” Despite enjoying 92% approval ratings at one point, Bush lost to Clinton when the effects of “trickle-down” Reaganomics became evident.

Clinton repositioned the budget to eliminate the national debt, but Dubya squandered the surplus with tax breaks for the rich before presiding over a cataclysmic recession.

Obama didn’t get the car out of the ditch quickly enough for short-attention-span voters, so enter Trump. He added $8 trillion to the debt. Here we are again. Republican larceny has set another trap for Democrats.

Still, much can transpire in three years. Presidencies are regularly determined by unforeseen circumstances. Sept. 11 saved Dubya's floundering administration. Trump’s bizarre handling of the pandemic and a distressing record of unpredictability, dishonesty and incompetence doomed him.

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Voters sought sanity when they elected an aging Biden, but his record of bipartisanship and pledge to lessen the divide has been met with frothing obstruction from Trump and his rabble. There was a sacred time when ex-presidents remained silent.

However, there’s evidence of Trump exhaustion and more moderation within the GOP. Rumblings from opinion-makers and silence from former bootlickers provide such clues. If another Republican gets the nomination, former Trump cheerleaders' testicles will finally descend, and they'll pretend they didn't even know the guy. Or David Duke.

It's quite possible Republicans will control Congress in 2023, and Biden’s agenda will stall more than Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have already stalled it. Republicans certainly won't compromise, even with concessions on core issues like border security. They’ll avoid any hint of a Biden victory, country be damned.

But, there've been too many historical surprises to divine the next presidential election. In a perfect world for Dems, things would improve economically and pandemically, and a strong Democratic successor would emerge to defeat a GOP fractured by a Trump candidacy.

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Most Americans don't have the stomach for four more years of Trump's dangerous ineptitude. The danger for Republicans is that if he seeks and loses the nomination, he’ll petulantly take them down, too. If he wins the nomination, though, he'll lose. Catch-22.

Tony Bender writes an exclusive weekly column for Forum News Service. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of this publication, nor Forum Communications ownership.

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