Suckers for punishment are shaping America

Source: Hot Air

Yesterday, I was reading a lengthy article by Scott McKay at The American Spectator and reflecting on how the midterms failed to deliver much of the promise that most conservatives had been anticipating or at least hoping for. It’s not that the midterms were a complete blowout in favor of the Democrats. They weren’t. There were a number of bright spots for the GOP in several gubernatorial races (Kari Lake may still pull out a win amidst the ongoing disaster in Maricopa County), New York over-delivered in terms of congressional seats, and Florida basically turned bright red. But as McKay points out, all of the conditions existed for what should have been a massive realignment in favor of conservatives. And yet the Republican Party demonstrated that “channeling it into positive action is something beyond the reach of the GOP’s leadership and political class.”

McKay describes this as a failure of leadership and it’s hard to argue that point. When you’re granted a senior position in your party and you wind up with a result like the one we saw on Tuesday night, you have to accept responsibility. But the title of McKay’s article (“Maybe America Hasn’t Suffered Enough”) speaks to something deeper and far more entrenched. The true fault doesn’t lie with Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, or Ronna Romney McDaniel. The real problem is that significant swaths of the American electorate are simply awful.

There are so many utterly horrid Democrats who will remain in office after this election that it should be offensive to average Americans. It’s tempting to fall into the trap of believing there must be wholesale corruption in American elections, but the problem with going there is that there must be proof before it’s actionable.

Until some is presented, we’ll have to deal with something very unpleasant. Namely, here’s the truth that we on the Right are going to have to accept: the American electorate in 2022 is awful.

And the axiom about the cycle that involves weak men and tough times is a real thing, and we are in the worst quadrant of that cycle. We are still in the time in which weak men make tough times. We have not gotten to the point where tough times make tough men.

I can’t read Scott McKay’s mind, but he sounds angry to me. And I’m not saying this in an accusatory fashion. I’m angry. All of my conservative friends are angry. And you should be angry too. But let’s be honest about where that anger should be directed.

The last two years have been nothing short of a disaster and I’m not even talking about the lingering damage brought on by the pandemic and the government’s response to it. We’re still in the midst of multiple crises involving the invasion taking place on the southern border, inflation, several types of energy shortages, spiraling prices, and a crime wave that has been both shocking and relentless. And all of these crises can credibly be defined as either having been caused by or at least exacerbated by current government policies. Joe Biden’s approval numbers have understandably tanked and at times he fell below the levels reached by the Bad Orange Man on his worst day.

Under these conditions, how could people across the country of all political stripes not stand up and speak out in a nearly unified voice demanding change? I’m not suggesting that died-in-the-wool liberals and progressives should suddenly start picketing abortion clinics and demanding constitutional carry laws in their home states. But shouldn’t they have agreed to call a time out in terms of “normal” partisan politics and at least demand stability, affordability, and safety in their homes and out on the streets?

And yet that’s not what we saw. The country will continue to be led by an addled old man who attempts to shake hands with invisible beings. He will be served in the Senate by a new person from Pennsylvania who is clearly not capable of processing information or forming coherent sentences. And the Democrats will still control enough power to block any meaningful reforms intended to lessen the damage we’re witnessing. When asked what he might do differently over the next two years, Joe Biden literally said, “nothing.”

Perhaps Scott McKay is correct. Maybe America simply hasn’t suffered enough yet. But how bad will things have to get before people reach their breaking point? Human beings have always tended toward a certain amount of tribalism over all of our recorded history, but in the United States today, those tribal instincts have evolved away from factors of geography, race, and religion. The new tribalism is red versus blue. And even if your “team” is the one responsible for making your life and the lives of your friends and neighbors more expensive, less safe, and generally more miserable, changing course is still viewed as an unacceptable signal of surrender.

What will it take to change this? Perhaps a nuclear war would do it. (And we seem to be getting closer to one of those every day.) But perhaps even that wouldn’t be enough. In case you can’t tell, I didn’t wake up in a particularly optimistic mood this morning. For that, I apologize. But reality has been roaring in an unusually loud fashion over the past couple of days.