Republicans are in disarray after the disastrous Georgia election. As Sabato’s Crystal Ball put it, Democrats now have the “51 percent trifecta” that will shortly allow them to control the Presidency, Senate and House, albeit with thin majorities that could easily disappear in the 2022 midterms. How can Democrats make the best of their current opportunity and maximize their chances of retaining political control for more than two years?
It seems obvious that the less the country and political debates focus around Donald Trump in the next six months, the better off Democrats will be and the more they’ll be able to get done. For better or worse, it now seems minimizing Trump-centered politics will have the challenge of a second Trump impeachment. That train, as they say, seems to have left the station.
Whatever else a House vote for impeachment may accomplish, nobody seems to be arguing that it will actually help Biden organize and pass his legislative agenda. The preferred argument is that it won’t really matter. I find this highly dubious but the best way I can think of to at least minimize damage is to delay the Senate trial as long as possible–Clyburn has suggested 100 days–or, even better, never have it, since it will hoover up political oxygen and is highly unlikely to actually result in a conviction (the only way, people should be reminded, that Trump can be prevented from running again in 2024; a second impeachment by the House has no effect on this).
So that brings us back to the necessity of large-scale action to beat the COVID pandemic and deliver enough stimulus to rapidly restore the economy to health. Without successful action along these lines, Trumpism could easily come roaring back; the idea that impeaching Trump and otherwise holding him to account is the key to preventing this is a chimera.
Therefore, Democrats and the left need to exert some discipline in the months ahead and resist the temptation to talk endlessly about Trump, Trump, Trump. That is what he wants. Instead they need a laser focus on improving the country’s situation fast and broadening the Democrats’ coalition. That is the best way to undercut Trumpism and fragment his support.
The alternative could be grim. A surge in white working class turnout and GOP support could easily sink the Democrats in 2022. Don’t think it couldn’t happen. The Democrats’ 51 percent trifecta is mighty fragile.