Sometimes things break and they don’t get fixed, and that’s what has had me worried of late. We have an incredibly resilient system of government, and my admiration has grown as I’ve seen it weather one brutal test and assault after another, starting with the effort to impeach Bill Clinton and following on with a series of almost ridiculous disasters that included the botched and stolen election of 2000, the 9/11 attacks, the decision to invade and occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, the complete meltdown of the housing market and ensuing global recession, and most recently the catastrophic election of Donald Trump with the connivance and assistance of Vladimir Putin.
Maybe our parents did something to make us deserve this. Maybe we’re all to blame, too. But I won’t stand for it. I’m not going to sit back and take these punches like I’ve somehow got it coming. And all I’ve really had to sustain me in these fights is the belief that our system can survive this and figure it all out and eventually get a measure of justice.
Sometimes I feel feel vindicated in that belief and other times I grow concerned that we’re not up to the task. It can sometimes feel like I’ll spend my whole life waiting for the chickens to come home to roost on the bastards who have been fucking up our lives.
But it’s been a good week. The last ten days or so have really stood out.
To put it bluntly, the president is completely screwed six ways to Sunday, and all that’s left is to wait for this to play out and get our goblets ready to drink the tears. Anyone who knows anything about Michael Cohen understands this already, and the rest of the people will eventually catch up.
My best guess is that Sean Hannity is finished as well although that, too, will not likely become clear for some time. All I know is that they were desperate enough to keep a lid on his conversations with Cohen to pretend he was a client and to put his name out there as if he has a right to have those conversations kept privileged. There was no other reason to list him as a client in the first place and no reason to volunteer his name in open court when the judge was offering to let them give her a sealed envelope.
Kris Kobach is also screwed. He’s just been held in contempt of court for defying court orders related to Kansas’s voter identification laws. And that’s not a good look for a Secretary of State, nor for a candidate for U.S. Senate, nor for the person whom President Trump put in charge of getting to the bottom of our non-existent problem with in-person voter fraud.
Republicans are beginning to have their fantasies hit up against a wall of reality on a more frequent basis now. Their efforts to repeal Obamacare met up with reality. There rhetoric about excluding whole classes of immigrants met up with reality. Now that people have seen their tax bill and it isn’t popular, their false hopes for pulling out of their political tailspin has met with reality, and this is confirmed regularly in local, state, and federal elections where they’re getting stomped in Trump country.
Another example from today came in Arizona where the Republicans tried to pull a fast one and met up with the reality that the Democrats actually read legislation before they vote on it.
Arizona Republicans appeared to back off their efforts Wednesday to rig the rules to keep Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) seat in their column, pulling from the state Senate floor a proposed change in state law that would have guaranteed a lengthy appointment from the GOP governor should the ailing senator leave office in the coming weeks.
Statehouse Republicans seemingly tried to pull a fast one on their Democratic counterparts, quietly adding an emergency clause to a bipartisan bill to clean up special election laws in the state that would have handed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) assurance that he’d get to appoint a replacement for McCain through 2020.
There’s a bit of disagreement between experts on current state law. There’s general consensus that if McCain’s seat comes open before June 1, a special election will be held to fill his seat this fall — greatly improving Democrats’ chances of winning at least one Senate seat and cracking the door for them to win both. If McCain’s seat doesn’t come open until after June 1, most (but not all) experts think that means Ducey would get to appoint a replacement for more than two years.
McCain is battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, and underwent surgery for a digestive issue in recent days.
The move suggests Republicans are nervous he might not be able to run out the clock and guarantee their party a longer appointment to the seat. That could be disastrous: Not only would it open up another Senate seat in a year that’s shaping up to be a terrible one for their party, but it could hurt their chances in both races depending on what candidate jumps into each contest.
Republicans say either former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) or former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) would likely move over to the other race, and nominating either would be devastating to their chances at holding that seat. Right now the two are splitting the hardline conservative vote and giving Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), the establishment favorite, the edge in their three-way primary for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) seat. If one moved overMcSally could be in real trouble, and both hardliners could be the favorite for the nomination.
That’s a classic Hail Mary pass. They hoped the Democrats wouldn’t notice but, with the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for emergency bills, the subterfuge failed when their gambit was detected. The Republicans have been pushing the boundaries like this all over the country but they’ve generally lost in court, often in humiliating fashion. Where the Democrats have pushed, as they did to redistrict Pennsylvania, they’ve won despite being in the minority in both chambers of the legislature.
Reality will assert itself. Climate change will make itself understood in indisputable terms no matter how many conservatives take money from The Heartland Institute and the Koch Brothers to tell us its fake news. Nearly all of Trump’s lies with be debunked in time and his disgrace is assured. A wave of progressive legislation will come to protect and improve our elections and our systems. I know there is a way out of these woods, and if I didn’t believe we could find the route in time I wouldn’t spend my life doing what I do.
Sometimes I have my doubts, but this week I’m feeling pretty good. Maybe we’ll never fix everything that’s been broken, but I think we’ll get the chance.