The mess that is the Republican party

Jonathan Bernstein in Bloomberg: “Republicans have lost a made-to-order opportunity supplied by the Jan. 6 attack. Mainstream Republicans could have looked good by consistently condemning the attack, thereby distancing themselves from organized hate groups involved in the event. Instead, they’re stuck defending the indefensible and making it a major part of Republican messaging, while allowing their leading voices to be … well, let’s call them the high-profile Republicans least likely to appeal to swing voters. …

“The Republican agenda right now is a combination of three things: Opposition to whatever President Joe Biden and the Democrats propose; support for whatever Fox News Channel’s product of the month happens to be; support for whatever incoherent and self-serving whims come out of Trump’s mouth.

“This is barely a formula for making the strongest supporters happy. It’s certainly no way to build a policy agenda. What has been a problem for the party for several years, especially at the national level, is only getting worse. …

“If I had to guess, I’d stick with my first instinct — that Republican Party dysfunction matters a lot to its future ability to govern competently, but won’t have any serious effect on the 2022 elections. But I can’t say I’m as confident about that as I was six months ago.”

Republicans taking over state elections

NYT: “Republicans have introduced at least 216 bills in 41 states to give legislatures more power over elections officials, according to the States United Democracy Center, a new bipartisan organization that aims to protect democratic norms. Of those, 24 have been enacted into law across 14 states. …

“The maneuvers risk eroding some of the core checks that stood as a bulwark against former President Donald J. Trump as he sought to subvert the 2020 election results. Had these bills been in place during the aftermath of the election, Democrats say, they would have significantly added to the turmoil Mr. Trump and his allies wrought by trying to overturn the outcome. They worry that proponents of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories will soon have much greater control over the levers of the American elections system.”

How to avoid disaster in the midterms

“The trick, says Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, will be lowering the expectations of an impatient Democratic base that is eager to press the party’s slim advantage by forcing votes on issues like Medicare for All or by making structural changes that could secure the party’s power. Booker says there aren’t enough votes to pass statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico right now, nor for expanding the Supreme Court. He’s taking his own lesson from the early Obama years.”

History suggests that Joe Biden and the Democrats are going to have a tough two years and a disaster in the midterms. Here?s their plan to avoid that.

Bidenomics?? How about Biden’s economic proposals?

Paul Krugman in the NYT:”But if you’re trying to assess the candidates’ economic claims, you should know that Trump’s predictions of a Biden bust lack credibility, not just because Trump lies about everything, but because Republicans always predict disaster from progressive policy, and have never yet been right.

“And you should also know that Biden’s assertions that his plan would give the economy a significant boost are well grounded in mainstream economics and supported by independent, nonpartisan analyses.

“So Biden’s economic claims are, in fact, credible; Trump’s aren’t.”