When Republicans are scared, they can always be counted on to gin up the race-baiting. And right now, Mitch McConnell is scared.
As reported by The Hill:
“I think the American people should know what it means if the Senate shifts control and you heard it. Eliminating the filibuster, D.C. statehood, Puerto Rican statehood and packing the courts. That’s what you get if you change the Senate,” McConnell said on Tuesday, asked if Republicans were highlighting these issues because they were worried they could lose the Senate.
Really? Filibuster, court packing, D.C. and Puerto Rican statehood? That’s what the American people should be worried about?
To be sure, the Republicans in the Senate are freaking out about losing the filibuster if—as is looking increasingly possible-– they get shellacked in November and find themselves in the minority. In fact, losing the filibuster is their whole menu of talking points for the week. Apparently someone decided that talking about how important it is to preserve the GOP’s right to obstruct the legislative process is better than talking about why they’re not actually helping Americans in need during the worst public health crisis this country has seen in over a century:
GOP senators, during floor speeches and press conferences this week, are pointing to chatter that a Democratic-controlled Senate could nix the 60-vote filibuster to make their case to voters that the party has shifted too far to the left in the run up to the election.
The fact that they’re talking so much about what amounts to a procedural rule change suggests just how concerning their internal polling must look. But since the average American couldn’t explain the difference between the filibuster and a Phillips screwdriver, that one’s pretty much a nonstarter with the public. Nor is McConnell’s vague allusion to Democrats “packing the courts” likely to inspire much concern, since Vice President Biden has already explicitly rejected the idea of “adding seats” to the Supreme Court, for example. In reality, “packing the courts” is just what McConnell and his henchmen have been doing for the last three years, since they’ve controlled the Judiciary Committee by virtue of their majority. In fact, it’s the only thing they’ve been doing, routinely confirming ideologically extreme Judges, many of whom were considered “unqualified” by the ABA. At this point there really aren’t very many courts left to pack. So while that may be a shout-out to their Evangelical base to get out and vote in places like Georgia and North Carolina, there’s nothing particularly new there.
But of all the things Democrats might do with a Senate majority, why ever would McConnell mention D.C. and Puerto Rican statehood? Those are important concerns, to be clear, but it’s not as if those issues are exactly at the top of ordinary Americans’ radar right now. Honestly, the issues foremost in most Americans’ minds are hanging on to their jobs and surviving the COVID-19 plague that Donald Trump has allowed to endlessly metastasize.
But there’s not much that Mitch McConnell can say about either of those things, since his party and its Dear Leader bear responsibility for the current state of the country. Nor can he talk about what the Democrats plan to do to fix either the pandemic or the economy, because he knows those measures—like direct aid to those out of work, child care subsidies, improved health care services, assistance to state and local governments and schools-– are going to sound pretty damn good to most voters, come November. And they’re all things that the GOP-controlled Senate under McConnell has blocked from happening during the past six months
So instead he’s left with conjuring up visions of African-Americans in our nation’s capital, and brown people in Puerto Rico, clamoring for equal representation in the electoral process. Apparently that’s McConnell’s “go-to” nightmare scenario for the average white Republican voter, the number one worry that keeps them tossing and turning every night after they switch off Fox News: “Why can’t you sleep, honey?” “Leave me alone, I’m worried about D.C. statehood!”
I guess if you have no ideas, no plan, and no solutions, that’s all you have to go with.
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