What will politics look like in a post-Barack Obama America? The current right-wing hysteria and attacks might continue for a generation more, but the madness will be disguised in “dog whistles” and other messaging intended for the hard right. Perhaps there will be a return to the de facto, pre-2008, level of hysteria on the matter of race, and the issue will continue to evolve.
In the former scenario, the FOX News crowd will live the rest of their lives blaming whatever they perceive as being wrong with America on Barack Obama – they have to in order to justify their (so far) six years of delusional panic. That won’t be for too long a period though, say, 25 years. During this time, the regular instigators will continue to fan the fires of ignorance, hatred and intolerance.
The disruptive far-right fringe will make further inroads into the Republican Party in the 2014 elections and impeachment of Barack Obama will be the whole legislative agenda for Obama’s final two years in office. There will be hearings about hearings as the crazy people in the Congress try to trump up a case against the Democrats and Hillary Clinton for the 2016 elections.
Hillary will prevail. Leaders of the Republican Party will meet on the day of her inauguration just as they did on the inauguration day of Barack Obama to plan out how best to stymie her success – only this time they will be more discreet about it. They will give the meeting some patriotic name and call publicly for a grand meeting with the new president to map-out a way forward. This will be done from a position of strength since they will control two chambers of power. Publicly, they will call for compromise but they will lay out a far-right agenda.
The crazy people in the Congress will devise cleverly disguised versions of the Poll Tax to greatly restrict voter’s rights and participation by the natural democratic constituency; women, Latino’s, African-Americans, young people, and educated progressives. They will gut the Affordable Health Care Act amid much clamor. They will repeal Dodd/Frank and return the Stock Market to the Wild West. They will stifle all calls for action on climate control and they will support oil companies drilling for oil anywhere – even in Central Park in Manhattan if oil is suspected to be there. They will repeal the minimum wage and insist that employers have the right to pay whatever the market will stand and they will drive American salaries down to revel that of Bangladesh. They will ban worker’s unions’ altogether. Every state will declare itself a right to work state. They will call for an increase in the work week to 60 hours and abolish paid vacation time. They will push legislation to make America a Christian nation and pass legislation to ban all abortions and they will intimidate the Supreme Court by proposing legislation to amend the constitution to reduce its number to five.
As Americans become more confused and less informed; more exclusive and less tolerant than even now, the right-wing fringe will ride the ignorant bus to bolder and bolder dismantling of the glue that holds the country together. Chief among their ruination policies will be legislation to increase the availability of guns and a wiping away of any and all restrictions on gun-carry rules. Promoting the U.S. as a Christian nation, there will be gradual restrictions placed on other religions. There will be calls to ban some religions, first Islam, and then Judaism. The crazy people will grow in numbers in local as well as national governmental bodies and as they grow the power will embolden them to further restrict who can live in a White Christian nation. A commission will be set up to study the issue before the 2020 national elections.
Nate Silverman, the polling genius, says that the Senate can fall to Republican control in the 2014 election and if he’s right so might all the scenario I just described begin to form. But wait. Hold on.
Silverman has alerted the Democrats in time for them to mount an effort to prevent a Republican takeover, in which case I can see the following series of events. If the balance of power remains the same after the 2014 elections, right-wing hysteria will remain at its current level. Anger directed at the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA) will subside as more people get enrolled, and the vast numbers of American realize that the act has not changed their lives in any way. But anxiety against “Obama Care” (if not the ACA) will remain high as right-wing politicians continue to campaign against it, blaring “facts” for the ill-informed. One day, suddenly, the fact that Obama Care and the ACA are one and the same will register even with Obama haters, who will smile and say they knew it all along. It was all just politics – and that will be true for even the brightest of them.
Once Obama is out of office, books and I mean lots of books, will be written about his tremendous successes under the most severe and bizarre opposition any president, save Lincoln, have ever faced.
The list of accomplishments is so long, I would be out of breath and I would have lost most of you a page and a half ago if I listed them all here. Holy Christ (to use a baseball term), if President Obama had a more cooperative Congress to work with we’d have clean air and full employment.
There will also be books written about what caused 40 percent of white America to turn against the president of their country. These books will be written by sociologists, psychoanalysts and mass behavioral specialists–and not a few political commentators. A new library of material on race will sprout in its wake.
The further we move in time from the Obama era, the kinder the books will be toward him. America will trudge on until we come to that bump in the road again. There won’t ever be a ground-swell to create an Obama holiday, but my man will eventually get his due as will the ugliness too surrounding his presidency.
Surely, someday, the symbol for the Obama era will be candidate John McCain consoling an ill-informed white woman with these words: “No Madam, he’s a good man, a family man; he’s a patriotic man who loves his country as much as I do.”
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