Darrell Berkheimer: Republicans facing decline to irrelevancy
April 13, 2018
Today I'm going out on a limb to forecast that the Democrats definitely will take control of both the U.S. House and Senate as a result of the November elections.
I'm not just predicting that as a possibility, as others have cautiously suggested. I'm going much beyond that to say it actually will happen. And I can give a litany of good reasons why.
But it won't be a vote favoring the Democratic Party as much as it will be a conglomeration of votes against what Republicans and President Donald Trump have been doing — or not doing.
Three reasons for my prediction result from a survey of our millennials generation (voters 18 to 35) conducted by the World Economic Forum and reported last month by Business Insider.
That survey cites what millennials consider the most critical problems facing our world today. And for the third year in a row, climate change and environmental concerns lead the list.
Second on the millennials list is wars and large-scale military conflicts; and their third issue is income inequality and discrimination.
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In gauging those problems through the reputations of our two major political parties, the GOP falls on the short end of all three, which provide the first three of my list.
The climate change denials appear to come only from the ranks of Republicans and conservatives. I have yet to note any prominent Democrat who denies it.
On military conflicts, the Democrats do have a few hawks, but it's mainly the GOP that pressures for huge increases in military spending. And most of us civilians can't tell, don't know, how many places our young men and women are stationed in war situations. That's a bit unnerving for those of us who stop to think about it.
On inequality, the many economic prices that we are paying are cited in a thick book by Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics. Quite naturally, the book is titled The Price of Inequality. And Stiglitz repeatedly reports how the wealthiest 10 percent benefit at the expense of our 90 percent.
But his book fails to detail the minorities discrimination inequalities. And the GOP definitely is on the short side of those issues when it comes to voting. That's because Republicans can't develop new voter suppression tactics fast enough to cancel how quickly minority voter registrations accumulate.
Immigration is another subject working against conservatives and Republicans. Republicans continue to block any immigration measure that might be deemed sensible — including proposals from among their own ranks. That issue also has a growing number of employers uneasy over the shortages of available workers.
Gun control failures jumped to high on the list after the Parkland, Florida mass shooting ignited a fire in our idealistic and liberal-leaning youth. Republicans, and even a few Democrats, are facing a growing anger as a result. I anticipate that issue will fester into November's balloting as many liberals are assisting the up-and-coming new voters in pushing for changes.
The rise of political activism by women is an especially strong reason. Their long-overdue aggressiveness has finally flooded into such organizations as Emily's List; VoteRunLead; #MeToo, and Indivisible Women. Again, the GOP falls on the short side with the members of those groups.
But health care — the strongest issue among the women — deserves a separate listing. A national poll by two women's organizations reported two-thirds of the women identified health care as their number one issue. And we know how Trump and the GOP failed in their many promises to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something so much better. Instead they just gutted the Affordable Care Act.
Trump's tariffs-initiated trade war is a problem that will build as the weeks go by. With time, more businesses, consumers and farmers will learn how much they are losing as a result. Many Republicans realize they will suffer the brunt of a backlash if they fail to prompt Trump to reverse his trade policies.
Trump's sex scandals is another factor likely to give the GOP a spanking. That topic has even stirred the concern of evangelical leaders, many of whom have given blind support to Trump — blind in that they close their eyes and minds to Trump's other unscrupulous behaviors. But the sex scandals have prompted evangelical leaders to schedule a sit-down quiz with Trump in June, a meeting announced by NPR.
Trump's lying, by itself, will add to the toll suffered by Republicans. Even those who stretch the truth don't want a liar for a leader they can't trust.
In addition, congressional inertia is forecast until November. Despite the numerous critical issues before Congress, the controlling Republicans are expected to accomplish little as opposing factions within the party are unable to compromise, let alone work with the Democrats.
These issues are more than enough to scuttle the GOP's 2018 campaign goals, without mentioning the investigation into the 2016 campaign chicanery by special council Robert Mueller III. That could only add to Republican woes.
Republicans also lack a positive long-term agenda. Instead, their agenda has been based on cut, repeal and deregulate — all negative. They haven't even been able to put together an effective, but sorely-needed, infrastructure package because of the increased national debt they've created with their corporate tax cuts.
It will be a higher than normal turnout by young voters and women that will create the big "Blue Wave" this November. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is wondering whether it will be a category 3, 4, or 5 hurricane.
Take my word for it, Sen. McConnell, it will be a category 5.
And surely, Mr. Majority Leader, you must realize that Republicans are facing a future of irrelevancy until the party moves to adopt a positive long-term agenda that appeals to younger and minority voters — and soon.
Darrell Berkheimer, who lives in Grass Valley, is a frequent contributor to The Union. He is the author of five books available through Amazon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.