Both parties play to the fringes, while the public supports voter ID. The public also supports some kind of AR-15 ban but Democrats know it can't work while they ignore crime and the border crisis.
Republicans took the bait and blocked H.R.1 from debate in the Senate. They did this despite knowing that Sen. Joe Manchin would not vote for the so-called “voting rights bill” as written. The bill was doomed to fail as long as Republicans voted as a bloc against it, and they would have.
Now Democrats will make hay and send out endless fundraising emails (my inbox is already flooded—yes I get Democrat emails to see what they are hucking, just like I get the Republican huckster emails). When the Senate takes its summer break, Democrats will go home and tell everyone how the racist Republicans suppressed voting.
Meanwhile, Republicans will go home and tell everyone how the filibuster is in danger and Democrats are crazed with delusions of power. Both parties are playing to the “base” and in 2021 the “base” means the fringe. It’s the 15 percent of voters for Republicans who cling to Trump’s stolen election narrative who can determine if a Member of Congress faces primary opposition and loses. It’s that same 15 percent who make life miserable for even the safest of Senators who are not up for re-election, or who, like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, remain for now invulnerable.
Democrats play to the 15 percent who put virtue signaling signs in their yards, for their neighbors to read as they drive their Audis and Volvos past each others’ well-manicured lawns, with a few succulents scattered among the automatic sprinkler heads to prove some environmental point.
In other words, this is just another political season, filled with moral panic, astroturf crises, and real problems that Congress has no appetite to solve.
Republicans should not worry. Regardless of the influence of Trump humpers, most issues that Republican lawmakers, governors, state and local officials support still have wide public acceptance.
A new poll shows that 71 percent of Americans support early voting in elections. Even more, 80 percent believe that requiring some form of ID to vote is good policy. Only 18 percent of voters oppose voter ID. This is consistent with other polls conducted over the last year.
The public is a bit more divided on vote-by-mail, but in general, the public doesn’t favor making that harder to do. In the latest Monmouth poll, 69 percent of respondents favored some kind of national guidelines. Democrats have proposed their wish list, and it has no chance of passing. Republicans in Georgia got things fairly right. Eventually, Congress will have to pass some kind of modification of federal guidelines for states, because 2020 was a year nobody wants to repeat.
Washington Republicans should have the ball here, but won’t take it. They’d rather play “states rights” and “stolen election” narratives to the 15 percent and conspiracy theorists. Maybe if the GOP takes the Senate back in 2022, they’ll get serious again.
On immigration, the public agrees that President Biden has a “crisis” on the border. The latest Hill-HarrisX poll found an “overwhelming majority” of voters view the border as a crisis that needs immediate attention. Vice President Kamala Harris’ little visit was a bust.
Republicans need to have the ball on immigration, but what can be done when the White House is occupied by Obama staffers? This should be a burning election issue in 2022 and President Biden needs to deal with it and call it what everyone knows it is.
On gun control, the public supports some kind of AR-15 ban, but not with an enormous majority. President Biden said “over 90% of the American people think we have to get assault weapons off the street - period,” during a debate in 2019. He’s way off. A tiny smidge over 60 percent of Florida poll respondents would support some kind of limitation for AR-15s with high capacity magazines.
As we know, there are over 20 million of these rifles on the streets, and any ban wouldn’t reduce that number. In fact, AR-15s are just rifles—common, everyday .223 caliber rifles.
The courts play legal hockey with California’s definition of “assault weapon,” with one federal judge overturning a ban (because they are just common rifles) and the appeals court overturning that judge. California’s ban on “military style” rifles has been in place for 32 years. There’s still plenty of AR-15s in California, and several mass shootings have taken place using those rifles.
Everyone knows a ban won’t work, including Sen. Susan Collins, who announced she will vote against Biden’s pick to head the ATF, David Chipman.
“I am concerned that his confirmation would do significant damage to the collaborative working relationship that must exist between ATF, the firearms industry, sportsmen and women, and other law-abiding gun owners exercising their Second Amendment rights,” Collins said.
Democrats love to play to their “base” on gun control, but really know there’s not a lot they can do while they simultaneously beat the “defund the police” drum. Crime is a bigger problem than gun control, and there’s a lot of crime going around right now.
Republicans have the public’s support on issues that matter. We should not be worried about the things our politicians are using to raise funds and grandstand about. We should be more concerned that our lawmakers spend more time doing their comms than they spend doing their jobs.
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"They’d rather play 'states rights' and 'stolen election' narratives to the 15 percent and conspiracy theorists. Maybe if the GOP takes the Senate back in 2022, they’ll get serious again."
If the GOP takes back the Senate next year, that will be an endorsement of the crackpot-ism that's infected the GOP, so it's less likely that they'll "get serious" and more likely that they will use their position to play culture warrior.
The GOP needs to lose a few more cycles to show that MTG, Cawthorn, and their ilk are losers politically before it has any hope of getting back to seriousness. Unfortunately, the recent Liz Cheney vote demonstrated that the GOP is hardly interested in providing a compelling and workable vision to counter that of the Democrats'.