Throughout the autumn, as Election Day approached, many of us found ourselves asking the question: But what happens if we win?
Every political campaign – of either party, of any ideology – focuses on the full range of issues. Tax cuts vs. tax hikes. Overspending vs. responsibility. Hedonism vs. ethics. A strong defense vs. a projection of weakness.
But after the election, we have to come down to earth, and acknowledge that no one person – no single individual – can make the entire government do a 180.
When one side wins both the presidency and majorities in both houses in Washington, or when one side wins both the governorship and both houses in a state capital, then yes, they can accomplish something. But how often does that happen?
As we move through the current crisis – as hopefully a newly Republican U.S. House and Senate have to spend the next two years with a Biden-Harris team in the White House, or as a Bailey-Trussell ticket evicts Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker but has to deal with Democrat majorities in the state legislature – it’s easy to get demoralized. What can be done, when facing such a future?
Well, the good news is… there IS a great deal that can be done, even without full control of all the levers of power. Our political system is designed for divided government; there are indeed ways to accomplish much in the right direction – the direction of limited government and the rule of law – even if the right side doesn’t completely run the table on Election Day.
In Wisconsin, the Republicans will continue to hold both houses of the legislature, and will hopefully have a Republican governor to sign their legislation. Yes indeed, this is the best of all worlds, where proud, visible accomplishments are concerned.
But let’s look at the opposite: Wisconsin’s neighbor to the south, Illinois. In Illinois, Democrats control both state houses with huge majorities, as well as having a terribly activist governor, J.B. Pritzker, one who in fact lives in such disregard for the law that even after Senator Bailey’s lawsuit was victorious in court, proving that Pritzker’s constant renewals of a statewide emergency were utterly unlawful, nothing stopped him and he kept doing it.
Even if both Illinois state houses remain solidly in Democrat hands, a newly-seated Governor Bailey will still be able to immediately effect immense change. There are dozens of statewide commissions, and plenty of state bureaucratic departments. The day a Republican Governor takes office, lots of those left-wing appointees will be replaced by sane, responsible Republicans and independents.
It’s not as exciting as passing legislation, but in this bureaucratic world of ours, just restoring sensible leadership to the state’s bureaucracy will indeed be of great value. Imagine an end to Pritzker’s mass prisoner releases. Imagine an end to Pritzker’s constant emergency lockdown extensions. Imagine killing J.B. Pritzker’s chances as a future presidential candidate. Imagine Darren Bailey appointing all those department heads and commission members, dealing with commerce and school sports, tax and regulatory reform, highway construction and education.
Every state has a broad mix of activities – legislation, bureaucracy and commission work. Controlling the legislature gives a party a chance to restrain some problems, while controlling the executive branch provides a chance to restrain others. Even a partial improvement is desirable over being completely out of power, as Illinois Republicans have been for these past four years.
The same goes for the federal government. Sure, the Biden-Harris cabinet has two more years to go, but the damage they can do is limited without Congress. A Republican Congress can put an end to the inflationary stimulus bills of the past few years. A Republican Congress can stop passing economically destructive green legislation based on worship of the climate cult. And a Republican Congress can start genuine oversight of federal departments.
The U.S. Senate approves most senior level federal appointees; the White House can send judges, cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and other senior officials to the Senate, but the Senate can reject them. In practice, of course, the Senate hardly ever does reject them, but they can; they have the power. And the disasters of the past two years provide ample justification for setting a much higher bar for approval in the future. A Republican Senate can play hardball, and stop the White House from sending up nominees who serve only to embarrass themselves up there.
Finally, if the red wave is serious enough – and it could be, if the GOP picks up four or five, or even six, Senators, and 35 or more net pickups in the House – then those Democrats who remain will be truly terrified, and some will be willing to be pragmatic in a way they’ve never been before.
Before 2022, we couldn’t think of impeaching people, no matter how deserving, simply because 67 Senators is an impossible burden in the current environment. But after this November 8? Brace yourselves; it could get interesting.
If there are 55 or 56 Republican Senators, and the Democrats who remain just watched their “safe” colleagues from “safe” states go down as the red wave swept over them, then it’s no longer inconceivable that some of these Democrats could vote rationally in an impeachment battle or two, even if only to get themselves some “independent” bonafides for their next reelection campaigns.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, Alejandro Majorkas, Anthony Blinkin, the list of potential targets of an impeachment program is long. The process of impeachment has been used wrong throughout our nation’s history; it’s never been used effectively for its proper purpose: to discourage abuse of high office. The current environment presents us with a test case. If the U.S. House and Senate leadership can limit themselves to just the right charges – that is, to charges that will gain the necessary majorities in both houses so they succeed, following hearings that educate the American people, then this important tool may finally reach its potential as a protector of our Constitution.
Think back to Obamacare, passed illegally in 2010, still in place and ruining our nation’s healthcare today. After six years of ranting against it, the GOP finally hit the trifecta in 2016, with the Presidency, the Senate and the House all in Republican hands again. President Trump was ready to sign a bill repealing and replacing Obamacare, and was amazed to find that in all those years, there was none ready. While the GOP had dozens of clear issue positions on the matter that would correct or otherwise address the myriad issues created or made worse by Obamacare… they didn’t have a single bill agreed and ready to vote on. The GOP fought and disagreed over how to handle it for two years, then lost their majority. The Right must not make that mistake again.
These next two years of divided government need to be put to the best use possible: Educating the public. Exposing the criminality and extremism of the modern Left. Passing good bills to correct our nation’s problems, even if we know they’ll be vetoed… because then that Democrat veto can be an election issue in 2024… and the bills will be ready to reenter in 2025, when, God willing, there’s a patriot in the White House again to sign them.
We are under no illusions. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the recovery of the American way of life will take more than two years to accomplish.
But there are things that every legislator and every executive can accomplish, whether in unified government or in divided government.
Most importantly, every single Republican officeholder, by definition, denies the office to an economically and societally destructive modern Democrat. And that’s what counts.
There have always been years when savvy political consultants have said “better to lose this time, and then we’ll run the table in two more years.” There have certainly been times when such advice has made sense. But not today.
Today, every Democrat in office, from the top to the bottom, does so much damage, from a vote to construct the House to a recommendation letter for some leftist internship application, that even a mediocre modern Republican is infinitely better – for his constituents and for the world – than the Democrat he faces on Tuesday.
We have a country to save.
Copyright 2022 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, and former president of the Ethnic American Council, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.
A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.
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