There is a lot of hope among people from all US political parties that the United States will move forward in a bipartisan, united way with Joe Biden as president. That would be nice, but people who follow US politics very closely know there’s less chance of that happening than the chance that Georgia will go to Donald Trump — or, in non-political terms, less chance of that than the chance that the coronavirus pandemic will completely disappear by January.
There is a strong, strong desire in the United States for bipartisan action on important legislation. People want this. Unfortunately, Mitch McConnell has demonstrated that he has absolutely no interest in bipartisan progress. He has demonstrated that for a decade. And even after failing to help protect and boost the economy in the later stages of the pandemic, Kentucky voters didn’t punish McConnell for this. They just re-elected him by a sizable margin against a terrific Democratic candidate. Over the past decade, McConnell has demonstrated that his focus on obstructing progress is about as strong as Steph Curry’s focus on shooting basketballs (or Michael Jordan’s if you haven’t followed basketball in a couple of decades, which is how long McConnell has been a leader in the Senate).
Yes, a lot got done in the US government after Obama was elected. For about two years. Then Republicans won the Senate, putting McConnell in charge, and nearly 100% of legislation was blocked by McConnell. The GOP became the “Party of No,” and McConnell openly admitted that his #1 goal was to make Obama a one-term president — no, not to help the American public, but to hurt the US president, which implicitly meant hurting the United States. (Why would Americans vote out the president if all was going well?)
McConnell blocked practically everything for 6 years. There’s a solid argument that the lack of progress caused by McConnell’s complete obstructionism is what led to Donald Trump. There was strong economic recovery in the first couple years of Obama’s presidency, when Democrats controlled the House and Senate and only had to contend with the right-leaning moderates in their own party and a desire for bipartisanship, but that was all but stopped — put on Autopilot, you might say (speed-restricted Autopilot) — which allowed Republicans and Fox News to complain about lack of progress and “slow” economic growth for 6 years.
After Donald Trump won in 2016, he had a Republican Congress for two years himself, and what did they do? They almost repealed the Affordable Care Act, and they cut taxes by an enormous degree on super rich people and corporations. That was it.
In more recent years, after Democrats took over the House of Representatives in 2018, McConnell proudly called himself the Grim Reaper. The Democrat-controlled House has passed many bills to help the American public — economic stimulus, an infrastructure booster, health and climate legislation, and so on and so on — and McConnell has not even considered the bills. He has not given them a moment of his time. He has not even put them on his desk. Because his default is to do nothing in Congress except anoint conservative judges to lifetime appointments onto federal courts and the Supreme Court.
Any hope of bipartisan change has to go through Mitch McConnell. And anyone who has paid close attention to policy (not just politics) in the past decade knows that such hope is horribly misguided.
Yes, there is some hope that Biden’s history in the Senate, his superb negotiation abilities, his moderate and compromising nature, his non-combative approach, and his election as 46th President of the United States will somehow work magic on McConnell, leading the Republican Party to work with Biden and the Democratic Party to help the American public in this difficult time. (After all, we are being slammed economically from this health crisis and all that has resulted in the past 8 months.) However, such hope is optimistic at best and naive at worst, as many people who have followed policy and politics close for a decade or more can quickly point out.
But you are thinking Republican as in @ProjectLincoln Republicans. What we got in the Senate GOP is not that at all. That is the party of Trump.
— Cybergrade (@vicentes) November 6, 2020
Hmm. There is no bipartisanship with the contemporary Republican Party. Especially with McConnell at the helm. He has said he doesn’t to policy, only politics. That’s wishful thinking Kimbal.
— benjamin_j (@BenjahminJ) November 6, 2020
A republican senate is going to block everything the Dems try to push through in the house. They won’t let Biden get anything done. This happened not too long ago…I think it’s high time we let the Dems show the country what they can do for us without being stopped at the door.
— Sydney Belyayev (@sydsynkarp) November 6, 2020
I say this not to be confrontational. I ♥️ you guys. But I feel like you aren’t really reading the room correctly here. The GOP right now is STAGGERINGLY anti-science. Only concerned about corporate profits. Think Mitch McConnell will allow a vote on a REAL climate bill? No way.
— Back against my better judgement (@D_Love) November 6, 2020
We had a repub senate for 6 years under Obama. They pretty much stalled everything. Bipartisan is a great concept…but it's rarely seen.
— Gluten Dude (@GlutenDude) November 6, 2020
Wow you don’t follow politics closely enough. Have you heard of Mitch McConnell? You think things will get done with him still around? He’s publicly said with him around the senate is a legislative graveyard.
— Jonathan Berry (@jonb3d) November 6, 2020
Do you know how many bipartisan bills are sat on Mitch McConnell's desk? Yeah.. they've had plenty of time and done NOTHING.
— Mike (@MickeyGreeneyes) November 6, 2020
You are ignoring the past and the present as Mitch is already saying he will do what he did to Obama administration!!!
— Rajh Siva (@rasi82) November 6, 2020
Oh good! Because I thought it was just R's who reject science, demonize the press, abide white nationalism, and side with hostile foreign governments.
— Doug Richardson (@doug_richardson) November 6, 2020
How would a Republican senate help lead the fight on climate change? A global crisis they firmly reject the very existence of.
— Jon Tomaz (@JTomaz12) November 6, 2020
The idea that republicans will behave bipartisanly is laughable and naive.
If we want ANYTHING done on this country Dems will need control of Senate.
— C🔋ri⚡ 📈HODL!📈 (@Falcon__3) November 6, 2020
I hate to disagree with you this one time, but since it looks like McConnell won again, he needs to be taken out of his role as majority leader. His actions for the past several years were atrocious, and fully partisan.
— Marc Farrington@lovinglife (@e1d0375b082f496) November 6, 2020
But hope is almost all we’ve got right now. And we are lucky to have one of the most unifying politicians in US history going into the White House in January.
We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t totally unrelenting warfare.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 7, 2020
So, for now, let’s hope.
However, let’s also not be unrealistic in what we expect will come out of a US Senate run by self-anointed Grim Reaper Mitch McConnell.
Featured image: screenshot of Joe Biden campaign video