The Next Two Years
If you’ve been listening to Democrat pundits urging the new House majority to remember that moderate positions on issues like health care won the day, to focus on governing, and to be careful not to overreach, yet you’re wondering what the next two years will be like, I give you two names — Nancy Pelosi and Tom Steyer.
Many of the Democrat moderates who won their districts pledged never to vote for Pelosi in their platforms. But the minute Democrats crossed the 218-member threshold, Pelosi started working the room with her unique blend of carrots and sticks, which should surprise no one, particularly those like me who grew up in Baltimore in the ‘50s and '60s. She is, after all, her father’s daughter. She has the full backing of the Democrat machinery as well as the media and far-left organizers like MoveOn, which leaves little room for dissent.
So, magically, as the bribes and threats multiplied, the opposition to her began to evaporate as the moderates (who probably didn’t really mean it in the first place) folded their tent. That leaves the field to progressives, who will push a far-left agenda, and the new committee chairpersons, who in the their zeal to exact revenge will investigate all things Trump, including his private business dealings and his family.
Pelosi is smart enough to know that, absent some new bombshell from the Robert Mueller probes, impeaching Trump will be a bridge too far in spite of it being job number one on the Steyer agenda. That will be finessed with massive Trump investigations, probably partially according to a forthcoming fact-based report from Mueller that will hint at impeachable acts without overtly calling for it — the aim being “getting to the truth” without actually pulling the trigger.
Speaking of Steyer, he was on the Sunday talk shows with marching orders for the Democrat Party. The interviewer kept trying to push him to clarify whether he would be running for president in 2020, but he ducked. He gave his usual spiel that Trump is a disaster that must be removed, but he also said that the main problem with Democrats today is that there is no one with a consistent progressive theme who is bringing together key policies such as single-payer health care, guaranteed income, climate change, and free college.
If someone emerged that appropriately championed those programs, he would give that person his wholehearted support (which for the prior election cycle was measured in nine figures). But if not, and the country “needed him,” he would consider his options. It will be entertaining to watch the 47 or so Democrat 2020 wannabes duke it out in the mad dash.
But the savvy Pelosi will focus the House agenda on voter-friendly areas like health care (featuring assurances on preexisting conditions and lower prescription drug costs), tax cuts for the “middle class” funded by tax increases on the “rich” and “businesses,” eliminating special interest donor money (pot calling the kettle black comes to mind), and voter suppression, which will force tough votes from the GOP in several areas that fueled much of the 2018 results.
She will let the presidential candidates stoke the fires where the energy and money reside — the far Left — and hope that the combination of Trump investigations, “reasonable” governance policies, and the base-enhancing prospect of progressive policies after 2020 will take all three branches next time around.
Trump will continue to push conservative judges and foreign policy/trade initiatives where the Senate has control along with maintain whatever border control the Ninth Circuit permits. But count on everything coming from the House to run smack into gridlock. Aside from fixing immigration, which is the one major issue that can actually be found in the Constitution, that may not be a bad thing.
Unless Trump succumbs to his “let’s make a deal” instincts and caves to the Left (which I don’t see happening), in an era of 24/7 campaign mode where commonsense solutions lose every time to solidifying each party’s base, having government not do more to screw things up may be the best we can hope for over the next two years.