Common sense is a wonderful thing, when you can find it. In Washington, D.C. and in state capitols, at least among politicians, it’s as rare as a cookie monster gemstone. Privately, (most of) these elected officials would tell you they’d love to promote reasonable things, but their constituency demands they live in the fringy and nutso world.
This itself, as most things politicians hear from their staffs, isn’t particularly true.
In the 2020 election, Congressional candidates who most outperformed both Donald Trump and Joe Biden were the moderates (generally, Democrats). Where there used to be overlap and moderates is increasingly becoming a no-man’s land as the parties gravitate to the polar extremes.
This movement accelerated in 2016, while 2020 demonstrated a bit of a backlash, as Republicans divided on Trump and Democrats fled further to the left.
A number of years ago, I noted that Rep. Austin Scott, representing Georgia’s 8th CD, was not too far to the right of his Democrat predecessor, Jim Marshall.
Though Democrats are using their 2020 victory to push for the furthest-left government programs, sacred cows like gun control, tightening federal control of state-run elections, open immigration, and the economic welfare-state, it’s likely that they will run into a wall of common sense voters who see the harm in these policies which run against popular opinion.
The last four years have been about one man (I don’t have to say who). Now that the Democrats actually have to, you know, govern, they need to figure out what they are really doing. Whether Democrats acknowledge it or not, Reps like Henry Cuellar, from Laredo, Texas, who is pro-life, pro-gun, and against Biden’s stimulus bill, are very popular with voters.
I realize it’s popular for Democrats to focus on New York City, southern California, and the liberal East Coast, but as they found out in 2016, carrying 90% of those districts and states do not confer political power.
The country is watching how Democrats (mis)handle schools that refuse to reopen despite clear science and CDC recommendations, and how they push for “assault weapon” bans that historically have done nothing to decrease gun crime. Common sense says that funding the police, training them, and enforcing existing gun laws is responsible for the decrease in gun violence over the decades.
These are the sacred cows of the left, that race dictates motives, history of one’s race or victim status dictates morality, and giving people money to not work is the way out of poverty.
The sacred cows of the right are, as of now, Donald Trump. And that’s bad. Trump banned bump stocks; Trump gave away trillions; Trump continually committed egregious executive overreach. While simultaneously rolling back thousands of pages of bureaucratic regulation, Trump sought to consolidate power in the Office of the President of the United States, who when he was in office, demanded total loyalty to himself.
Those who defend Trumpism as if there’s more to it than the man as de-facto king, ignore the bad, but common sense shows people won’t vote for another round of his style of government. Eventually, the GOP will have to figure out what it wants, and sacrifice its own sacred cow.
I think, when the dust settles in 2024, we may see a move back to moderates. I am encouraged that some new, moderate faces on both the Democrat and Republican side are beginning to step forward with common sense as their banner.
More of this is needed, to counter the rise of AOC/MTG style demagogues. We can’t make the voters who elect them (and people like Matt Gaetz, Eric Swalwell, Bernie Sanders, etc.) go away, but we can make moderates great again. Even, ahem, if it means voting for Democrats who happen to be moderate.
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