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Pierce writes: "For the first time in two years, there is an institution of the government that is neither afraid of, nor controlled by, the president."

Nancy Pelosi. (photo: Zach Gibson/Getty)
Nancy Pelosi. (photo: Zach Gibson/Getty)

There Is Now an Institution of the American Government That Isn't Controlled by - or Afraid of - Donald Trump

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

07 November 18

For the first time in two years, there will be oversight of the Executive Branch.

ouse Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings. House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler. House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern. House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal. House Banking Committee Chairman Maxine Waters.

Imagine you're a Republican member of this administration* with skeletons in your closet. Imagine you're a president* in this administration with skeletons in your closet. Now ask yourself whether or not this was a wave election. Absent a clumsy campaign in the lame-duck session, there will be nothing done against Social Security and Medicare. There will be no serious attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Robert Mueller's investigation is safer now than it was on Monday. Thanks to the genius of Mr. Madison, the House of Representatives controls the money and where it goes and to whom, and how it is spent on things like healthcare and investigations.

More to the point, for the first time in two years, there is an institution of the government that is neither afraid of, nor controlled by, the president*. And the lesson of the survivors is going to be that they should be even more Trumpier than thou. Consider, for example, that the only returning Republican congresscritter from Iowa is going to be out-and-out white supremacist Steve King, and he's one of two Republican congressional candidates—the other is Seth Goodman, who was the likely winner in New Jersey's Second Congressional District—condemned by the national Republican Party for racist remarks. They both won. Ron DeSantis was elected governor of Florida on a platform of Not Being The Black Guy. Yeah, I wouldn't expect a pivot any time soon.

Here in Kansas, there was the equivalent of a Democratic torchlight parade in the Commonwealth (God save it!). Laura Kelly put out the lights on Kris Kobach's career in elective politics by getting elected governor. Sharice Davids won her congressional race easily. The legacy of Sam Brownback's ideological experiment in non-government has now been tossed into the dustbin of history. Kobach could never overcome it, and he was forced to run on it, and nobody liked him enough to give him the room he needed to pull that off.

"Across America, we are seeing more and more people, especially young people, getting involved in the political process. It is a wonderful omen to the future of our state. What happened in Kansas today was different about what happened around America. What happened in Kansas was a wave of common sense," Kelly told a whooping audience of her supporters in a Topeka hotel ballroom. "We have faced challenges here like nowhere else. We saw our schools devastated, partisanship put above all else and tore our state apart. That ended today. Kansans look out for each other. Today, voters across Kansas came together. We chose to put people above politics."

Kelly shrewdly hung Brownback around Kobach's neck like a dead raccoon, all the while telling the people of Kansas that she wasn't a wild-eyed Alf Landon liberal. She pointed to the fact that she had been central to the bipartisan effort to repair the damage done by Brownback, and she toured the state with Republican politicians, including a couple of former Republican governors, who pronounced themselves revolted by the idea of Kobach's being governor. Kansas has a Democratic governor and Massachusetts has a Republican governor and election nights are the damndest thing.

Elsewhere, overlooked by the races contested among humans, especially those contested by humans for national office, there were a number of statewide referenda that were aimed at ending the legalized ratfcking that has gone on since the Republicans won so many state legislatures in 2010 and 2014.

In Florida, a measure that would return the franchise to convicted felons who have served out their sentences passed overwhelmingly. (Yes, it is possible that convicted felons will be the constituency that returns Florida to its senses in 2020. Florida, man.) In Michigan, two ballot questions regarding election procedures, including an anti-gerrymandering measure that would establish an independent redistricting commission, both piled up nearly 70 percent of the vote. Maryland passed same-day voter registration. The organized assault on the franchise also was turned back in North Carolina, which elected a 5-2 majority on the state's Supreme Court, when the state elected Anita Earls, a Democratic civil rights attorney that led the fight against the state's grotesquely gerrymandered map—the one that a federal judge said targeted minority voters with "almost surgical precision."

For years, these issues were dismissed by the smart people as being "goo-goo" concerns, but the franchise is a different thing. Americans understand cheating and they don't like it. And, in general, the referenda around the country seemed to indicate that progressive voters, frustrated by institutional chokepoints and aggressive finagling, have taken to the tactic of putting issues that they know are popular directly on the ballot and letting the issues be judged on their merits. This is what a lot of progressives did at the turn of the last century, and for many of very much the same reasons.

In Kansas, editor William Allen White covered that story, long ago.

Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on. But the old orders should not be moved easily — certainly not at the mere whim or behest of youth. There must be clash and if youth hasn't enough force or fervor to produce the clash the world grows stale and stagnant and sour in decay.


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+19 # Wise woman 2018-11-07 21:27
True. The 60s were proof of that. We succeeded in stopping a war in Vietnam and unseating a sitting president (Nixon). I know because I was there. Youth spoke and youth won!!!
+21 # barbell1941 2018-11-08 07:28
For the first time in my lifetime, I can say that Kansas is sane and Missouri isn’t. Things are getting better in Kansas; still a way to go; and things are getting much worse in Missouri. Hope it doesn’t have to get too horrible before Missourians wake up and kick the Republicans out.
+13 # economagic 2018-11-08 12:36
Here's a bit of relevant trivia: Missouri was the last state to repeal the prohibition against married women owning real estate in their own name (as opposed to that of their assumed husbands).
+10 # FarMor 2018-11-08 18:51
And it wasn't until 1975 that I, as a married woman, could get a credit card in my own name and not be just a signatory on my husband's card.
+3 # economagic 2018-11-08 12:49
Sorry. That was in 1971, or possibly 1981.
+9 # economagic 2018-11-08 10:37
Hmmm. The absence of catastrophe on Tuesday seems to have given Gonzo Chuck a case of the mellows--sorely needed no doubt.

The quote from William Allen White, however, is interesting. I had to look him up. As suggested by the quote, he began his career as a conservative but later became a leader in the Progressive movement. A little to the right of the La Follettes and skeptical of the New Deal, he seems to have relied more on common sense than any ideology or Belief System.

Unfortunately common sense is not only not common (someone--Emers on?--said it was sense about common things), but is often contradictory.
+11 # REDPILLED 2018-11-08 10:39
Unfortunately, Pelosi has already said the House Dems will work with the Rethugs in a bipartisan way. She never learns.

You cannot "work with" staunch, racist, misogynistic regressives who hate women, minorities, LGBT people, and immigrants. You must OPPOSE them as much as possible.

Has she learned NOTHING from how the Rethugs prevented Obama from even having confirmation hearings for his SCOTUS nominee?

The House must be a check and balance on the Senate and the despicable Trump, not a "partner" to their crimes against people and the planet.
+9 # economagic 2018-11-08 18:18
I think she learned exactly what she wanted to learn, that acting as a DINO would bring her money and adulation from the people who have it. "It's not a glitch, it's a feature."
0 # librarian1984 2018-11-10 22:22
She also said if they took the House she'd commit to pay-go, which means Democrats won't be able to promise anything to voters like free college, which sabotages a progressive agenda.
+3 # Robbee 2018-11-08 15:23
There Is Now an Institution of the American Government That Isn't Controlled by - or Afraid of - Donald Trump, Charles Pierce, Esquire, 07 November 18

- what HUBRIS in a title!

anyone who is unafraid of our dickhead u s prez is either - a) insane, or b) not paying attention!

is 2019 congress afraid of this prez?

they had better be!

this prez's "shit doesn't stink!"

he has recruited a nation of nazis whose "shit doesn't stink!"

anyone who says his "shit stinks!" deserves federal protection! no lie!
0 # LionMousePudding 2018-11-10 14:34
Good point.
+3 # wilhelmscream 2018-11-08 22:20
Dr. Evil would call “BULLSHIT” 2 all of Trump’s claims made since 1/20/17 and,. Dr. Evil is not real.

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