We seem to be watching two, simultaneous election cycles unfolding at once. One is the obvious Congressional election this November; the other, the Presidential and Congressional cycle of 2016. The first is overt and acknowledged; the second, more covert and under-the-table. And the results of the first, will certainly affect the path of the second.
Starting with 2014, we see the Democrats stuck in a holding action, barring any unforeseen evens. They will be on the defensive, we suppose, hoping to hang onto their squeaky Senate lead and to avoid losing more House seats. The Obamacare albatross hangs from their necks. The Republicans are handed the Obamacare issue to exploit, but are riven by their festering split between Liberal and Tea Party proponents. It’s increasingly obvious that there is insufficient room for both in the GOP.
To us, this presents an opportunity for the Dems to replace their fading seniors with new Dems in Congress while their division hampers the Republicans. Contrariwise, the GOP is offered a shot at replacing marginal Dem seats with Republicans courtesy of Obamacare. The key 2014 issue is less how much gain the GOP makes (if any) but rather, how many elected Republicans are Teafolk. Given the present membership of Congress, we don’t expect a lot of change in legislation from the 2014 elections.
In 2016 we will (we presume) elect a new President as well as Congress. The Democrats are imprisoned behind their current President, who will see no strange gods before him, and the party’s resident haunt, Hillary. To construct a realistic alternative before November, 2015 is probably not impossible, but not a likely way to bet, either. And Hillary carries a sign in her left hand: “Hillarycare” and in her right: “Benghazi.” Together with presiding over foreign affairs that may be Monday morning quaterbacked into a losing game.
The Republicans are no better off. At the moment, they need two candidates; one liberal like the recently failed Mitt Romney and another from the Teafolk who stayed home and allowed Mitt to founder. Until that is settled, no GOP prospect seems likely to be taken seriously. And of course, the next stock market crash we’re awaiting will throw the whole thing into unknowability, should it arrive before these impending events.
These seem to us to add up to: No major organization is presently seriously trying to win the Presidency at this moment and both the talking heads of our bicephalous government are presently more engaged in trying to head off the other guys than they are in electing anyone in particular. Add that the other guys being headed off here include folks in their own parties as much as folks among the other side. We are reminded of a famous cartoon of a dairy cow mooing in pain with one hoof planted athwart a low-hanging teat.
It seems that we no longer have two political parties striving for power. We have instead, two groups with different labels representing the same principles and therefore, struggling for the same voters. Our suffering dairy cow is now but one single beast with two horns: Democrat on the left horn, Republican on the right one. Both are appurtenances of the same government. Neither then, is capable of producing significant change, both are equally indebted now to the same interests for their financing. Large donors with major political engagements no longer donate to one party; they give to both. If we were paying attention, that should be informative.
So Democrats, Republicans and the next economic crash are racing each other toward their next fated meeting as we happily ignore these unpleasant realities. It will likely be unexciting until we all meet at the collision point. Or so it seems to us tonight.