Put Some Gay In Your Day, Dallas!

Brace Yourself

As Mrs. Doubtfire once said, “Winston’s idea of foreplay was, ‘Effie, brace yourself.’”  For those who feel like the political foreplay of the last few weeks leading up to next week’s midterm elections has left them with little to do but brace themselves, you are not alone.  Once braced, you know what happens next.

But some Democrats aren’t the only ones steeling themselves for the coming weeks.  Under the headline “GOP bracing for Trump indictment soon after Election Day,” The Hill reported this week Republican aides and strategists are expecting Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue such an indictment, maybe not in time to unwrap it under the Christmas tree but perhaps inside a box of Valentine’s Day chocolates.

So with a whole lot of folks out there expecting to get screwed, it might be prudent to step back just a bit to review the current crossroads.  Just as there are four tines on most forks, there are four possible outcomes to this election.

It is highly unlikely, although possible, that Democrats will hold the House, but lose the Senate.  According to FiveThirtyEight, there’s less than a 1% chance of that happening.  So we’ll skip it and FiveThirtyEight for the rest of this column.  (The latest headline on that website is “Republicans Are Just A Normal Polling Error From A Landslide—Or Wiping Out,“ making all their analysis about as useless as tits on a boar hog.)

Should the Democrats pull the fat out of the fire and hold both chambers, we need only look back to the last two years to know how that will go.  Except for completely non-controversial legislation (and that definition is narrowing), getting bills through the Senate will only be accomplished following a good deal of blood, sweat and tears.  For many, this less than perfect process is the desired outcome of the midterms.  Sometimes painful, rather chaotic, but familiar nonetheless.

But, it may be that the Democrats will hold a narrow edge in the Senate, but lose the House.  That possibility takes us from rather to downright chaotic.  With the GOP in control, the driving force will likely be the MAGA representatives.  Even if Kevin McCarthy gets to live his wet dream of being the next speaker (and that’s a pretty big “if”), he may very well find out why the last two Republican speakers (John Boehner and Paul Ryan) ran like spotted apes out of elective politics.  

Every budget resolution, raising of the debt ceiling, or any other needed spending bill is likely to cause a crisis that could rattle markets and the global economy.  The threats to Social Security and Medicare could be bargaining chips in a high stakes game of chicken.  Whether or not these folks would pull out to avert disaster would be anyone’s guess.  

There would be virtually no doubt that all kinds of bills on social issues would be passed with no hope of getting through the Senate.  But at least, the electorate would get a good look at the wish list, which might prove quite helpful going into 2024.

But what about that fourth possibility, that the Republicans take both houses?  On the legislative side, it might depend entirely on who would be majority leader.   If Mitch McConnell is returned to that position, it’s a pretty safe bet that he would only put forward legislation that he deems politically advantageous.  But Donald Trump is calling for his “impeachment,” once again proving that he doesn’t understand how any of this works.  

So it could be any of a number of other Republican senators who have passed the Trump requirement of being invertebrate.  The filibuster could go by the wayside and the path to the White House would be filled with drunk-on-power bills that come back to the Capital as vetoed litter.

Our last possibility includes the likelihood that half the Supreme Court could keel over and not a one of the them be replaced.  In fact, any appointment requiring Senate approval would likely from lack of confirmation.

Whether we find out next week or next year (Georgia could go to runoff again), the only thing certain is that we’re living in uncertain days.  These are the times when platitudes are strangely helpful.  Daddy would trot out the one about those who expect nothing are not disappointed.  Mother would offer a reminder that more tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.

But I’m keeping in mind that it’s an ill wind that blows no good.  Finding the good, as scarce as it may be, and knowing what to do with it, might just be the only game in town. 

So go out and get your vote on, and then come home and brace yourself.