Republicans control the House and they’re going to keep control of it for at least another decade. This is a cold, hard fact. The only way to deal with the promised obstructionism is to elect a leader that understands the system so thoroughly that she can make progress in spite of Republican efforts to break the machinery of government.
As of this writing, Hillary is once again crushing Donald Trump in the polls and Trump is caught in a Derp Spiral of his own making. If his next debate performance is just as abysmal as his last one, it’s time to start looking ahead to what challenges President Hillary Clinton will face.
But first, let’s rewind a bit. In 2010, Republicans engineered a theft of the House or Representatives. They used advanced data-mining and computer algorithms to gerrymander themselves a permanent majority regardless of how badly they lose the popular vote.
Both parties have been gerrymandering districts since the dawn of time but the Democrats were not prepared for the GOP to so brazenly and permanently rig the system. In hindsight, Republicans had no choice but to resort to extreme gerrymandering. The complete and utter failure of their domestic, economic and foreign policies and the rapidly changing demographics of the country would have been a fatal combination.
No longer able to terrorize/tempt/trick the country into voting for them, Republicans resorted to cheating to hold onto power and it worked.
The results was, according to David Daley in an interview with Vox, an electoral nightmare:
This is not politics as usual. What happened in 2010 was different. It amounts to a firewall in the chamber of our government that is supposed to be the most directly responsive to the citizens’ will. It is now completely insulated from that will.
The House GOP is now controlled by a handful of far right Tea Party extremists that answer to no one but their hand-picked voters. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, once the other Great White Hope of the GOP, has little to no control over House Republicans and the Tea Party Caucus’ only real interest is setting everything on fire. This dynamic will become even worse if Trumpism continues to infect the GOP beyond November.
There will be no negotiating with a Democratic president in either case.
During the primaries, a lot of Hillary supporters, myself included, wanted to know how Bernie supporters expected him to get any of his big ticket items past a Republican controlled House. They already tried to burn the country to the ground over Obamacare; what would they do to stop evil Socialist Single Payer universal healthcare? Or massively increasing taxes on the rich? Or breaking up the big banks?
The automatic response was always the same: “Oh yeah?! Then how would Hillary get anything done? Huh? HUH?!” Keep in mind, these are the same people that loudly razzed Hillary for her “politics of incremental change” because her goals were too modest.
But that is specifically the point of Hillary’s entire campaign: Vote for the possible and we can get it done.
Lost in all of the rending of hair over emails and the Clinton Foundation and 25 year old conspiracy theories is the fact that Hillary Clinton is one of the single most prepared candidates to ever run for office. When Obama won, he was hoping to sweep into Washington and work hand in hand with Republicans. Instead, they spent 8 years rabidly trying to destroy him.
Hillary Clinton, being the person most loathed by conservatives, can expect the same degree of legislative resistance minus the racism but with a huge dollop of sexism. But unlike Obama who was blindsided by the visceral hatred, Hillary is acutely aware of what’s coming.
Bernie supporters claimed that Bernie would have shamed Republicans into supporting his sweeping progressive changes using the Bully Pulpit. This is, and continues to be, the most laughable idea to come out of the primaries. House Republicans have completely cut themselves off from public opinion and extremists do not feel shame.
Hillary knows this. She’s known it since well before she declared her candidacy. Unlike the popular perception that she wants power for the sake of power, Hillary is a lifelong public servant and frighteningly smart to boot. Anyone who doesn’t think she has several different and highly detailed plans to achieve her goals of bettering the country no matter what Republicans do has not been paying attention.
By his second term, Obama had started focusing on ways to get things done that did not involve congressional approval because he knew he wasn’t going to get it. Hillary will start off testing the waters to see just how intransigent or cooperative Republicans are going to be. But either way, Hillary is going to accomplish her goals and Republicans can either take some of the credit or get steamrolled by the Clinton juggernaut.
Buckle your seat belts.