On Saturday, the day the election was finally called for Joe Biden, former senator Claire McCaskill was on TV, talking about the Republicans in the Senate, all of whom she served with for years, until Missouri got too red to re-elect her.
It was an extraordinary moment, because she was caught between two strong emotions — joy and rage. Joy at the election results. Rage at those senators she had worked with and knows well. As does Biden. It’s not like they were all besties, but they were colleagues.
And not one — I paraphrase her — not one of them had the decency to come out and say “Congratulations Joe.”
She was practically in tears as she called them out — not by name, regrettably — and said they should be ashamed of themselves. She did not mince words.
Of course, we know their names. McConnell. Graham. Cruz. The 53 Stooges.
Make no mistake. The country is still in grave danger. Not so much from Covid, though the Trump virus has many, many more lives to claim. Not so much from the economy, though it too will continue to disrupt lives and livelihoods in numbers that will keep Joe Biden up at night.
No, the danger is from the Republican party. They have enabled the most hideous four years in our history. They still hold more levers of power than they have any decent right to. And they show no inclination to do anything but continue to obstruct any move into the twentieth century, let alone the twenty-first.
They got a lot of good news from this election. Keeping the Senate is huge for them. Yes, I would love to see those two Georgia seats flip in January — and a shout-out to Stacey Abrams, who is kicking ass in that state — but let’s be real. It’s Georgia. We’ll be lucky to flip one.
What’s even better news for these swine is they’ve almost got Donald Trump off their backs. They will, to be sure, wring their hands in public and make loud and empty noises about these asinine lawsuits and how the election was stolen and all the other obvious lies they’ll tell as they cower in the corner waiting for Trump’s next tweet. But that show has only seventy days left to run. It closes on January 20th or with the suspension of Trump’s Twitter account. Whichever comes first.
Those senators, with very few exceptions, loathe Trump almost as much as we do, though for different reasons. They were scared shitless of him. They let him humiliate them, embarrass them, and strip them of any shred of dignity. He forced them to grovel. He made them pretend to believe in an alternate reality that they still haven’t got the hang of. He made a mockery of their humanity — not that they had much to begin with. In many ways, he was the worst thing that ever happened to them.
And in other ways, he was the best. He got them three, count ‘em, three Supreme Court seats, plus two trillion in tax breaks. They now have everything their oligarch masters want, short of a corporate dictatorship. And Trump isn’t the guy they want for dictator.
To them, Trump has served his purpose. Now they just want to crawl back under the radar, so they can subvert democracy quietly, without this loose cannon rolling around on deck.
They've survived, apparently, to fight another day. And they’re already plotting their comeback. There are seventy million of their fellow swine out there, and you can bet the oligarchs are figuring out ways to expand that market.
Because marketing is all they do. They’re only interested in selling the message, in spreading whatever lies Fox News is pumping out that day. There’s never any substance. Never any interest in governing. Never any compassion — or even curiosity — for anyone but the wealthy. And this was happening long before Trump.
But they may be in for a rude awakening. What they don’t realize is that those seventy million swine aren’t really their swine. They belong to Trump.
This is not your father’s Republican base. It’s much stupider, much rowdier, and much better armed. With millions and millions of just plain folks who watch Fox and nothing else. Which has warped their perceptions in insidious and alarming ways.
The Fox media bubble has stolen their brains. They’ve never heard of Stormy Daniels. They think the Mueller Report exonerated Trump. They totally believe that all Democrats are corrupt pedophiles who steal elections as a side hustle. And there are seventy freaking million of them. Ten million more than voted for him last time. And now they know exactly what they’re getting.
And the loose cannon hasn’t stopped rolling. Trump is not going quietly, even as his options are narrowing. Which only means that he’ll incite that seventy million in any way he can.
I can’t even guess how this will all play out. But there are any number of combustible elements here, and the one thing they all have in common is bad faith.
Out of the woods we are not.