Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently went before voters and argued that they should elect a Republican majority in the Senate because that “would mean we’d be able to bring the current legislative gridlock to a merciful end”.
|Mitch McConnell and his party are gunning for our democracy. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore|
It also assumes that voters have not listened to a word McConnell has said during his inglorious, and frankly downright treacherous tenure.
“Gridlock” is not a product of divided government. It is the method and the means by which the modern Republican Party executes sabotage on behalf of its corporate paymasters. It is a strategy adopted by the party and its leadership in order to bring government to a standstill. By doing so, and doing so deliberately, they bring to life their despicable lie that “government doesn’t work”.
It is no coincidence that from that gridlock arises a winner-take-all economic climate in which big banks, polluters, the super-wealthy, and the would-be masters of our political system all benefit.
It took Jon Stewart, the comedian, to remind us that McConnell is “the man who personally stood up at a Republican retreat at the Library of Congress, right before Obama’s 2009 inauguration and said ‘there are enough of us to block the Democratic agenda—as long as we all walk in lockstep. As long as Republicans refused to follow his lead, Americans would see partisan food fights and conclude that Obama had failed to produce change”.
That’s as open a statement as you could want of the GOP’s strategy. And yet they are campaigning on the idea that if we give them control of both houses of Congress, that gridlock will magically vanish.
Republicans aren’t stopping with sabotage. They are attempting to rig elections through introducing unconscionable barriers to a process that is supposed to be a civic right and duty, something that defines a person’s membership in our nation and our society.
Chris Christie has openly called for Republicans to seize control of “voting mechanisms” and attacked voter registration as an “obstacle” to Republicans. Other Republicans have attacked early voting, and expressed concern that large numbers of black voters might be able to turn out at the polls. Others have called for voting to be based on property ownership. And Tom Perkins, a capitalist who has done well under the GOP’s trickle-down economics, claimed that critics of him and of the super-rich are like Nazis in 1930s Germany, also opining that wealthier Americans should get more votes.
Republican party leaders are no longer even attempting to hide what their party is about: the evisceration of our democracy through the enshrinement of a plutocracy and the disenfranchisement of the actual citizens of our country. But if the pundits are right, tomorrow they might take a significant step towards the erosion of our democracy, with the assistance of the public they are working against.
It’s a chilling thought.