“All politics is local.”
Did former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O’Neill say it first? We don’t know, but he certainly said it most famously.
I’m thinking today about the Trump Effect that is precipitating such a landslide of Republican evacuees from the political arena, and in particular the Republican congressional members who have announced they will not seek reelection.
Even more specifically, I’m contemplating the 49th Congressional District in California, from which Darrell Issa sprang, a scourge of American and human values from the start.
Issa — car thief, gun law violator, insurance fraud perp — was a natural for the Republican candidacy. From 2000 on, he won, but his margin of victory decreased steadily and on Jan. 10 Issa announced he would not seek reelection.
Where will California’s 49th go in the mid-terms? Where will those close districts go?
CNN’s Ronald Brownstein suggests that the districts he calls “Romneyland” will decide the fate of the 2019-2021 Congress, that is, districts where Romney in 2012 outperformed Donald Trump in 2016.
These districts, added to the vaunted suburbs that are GOP but associated with heavily Democratic towns, might add up to a Democratic majority in Congress and a sea change in the power in DC.
Like Issa’s Orange County district, Brownstein points to the greater areas in and around Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia and New York City.
It is scarcely believable by any standards of common decency that Republicans will maintain their majority following the upcoming midterms and in fact the metrics of common sense and self-interest dictate that the American working class will strongly reject the Trump agenda — if the normal working person bothers to educate him or herself beyond the lies and radical incompetencies promulgated daily by Fox News and adopted by Trump.
• For Trump to utterly fail to exert due diligence in vetting his VA nominee, Dr. Ronny Jackson, is typical and abhorrent. At great risk to their careers, more than two dozen military members, many on active duty, came forward to assert that Jackson was drunk on duty while acting as the White House physician, was a kiss-up, kick-down member of a team (sucking up to the one in command, berating his underlings), handed out opioids and other drugs like candy, wrecked government vehicles while drunk, and other “special” behavior. No diligence. But nearly two dozen other high-level nominees have seen similar vetting failures, just sloppy. And when others ask for better vetting Trump jumps on Fox and hysterically bellows about the Washington swamp. Just pathetic.
• The ethical failures of the Republicans, led by Trump but saturating much of the party, are stunning, with Scott Pruitt leading the slippery slope downward. Lavish personal spending, favors for loyalists to the tune of massive pay raises and barely related junkets, not to mention his steamroller destruction of environmental protection — all just Trump-typical.
Will voters awaken in California’s 49th? Will there be a wave of Democrats to replace the corrosively corrupt Republicans in a Congress stuck on stupid? Let’s all hold our breath but, while we do so, let’s get out the vote where we live. Our local efforts will have national and international repercussions.
Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice.