29 June 2017

This is What a Virtual Coup Looks

The GOP has taken over the federal government and could keep it through 2032.

In 2010, the GOP targeted and won key elections in order to be able to shape national elections through 2020. Now, for instance, while Republicans make up about half of Wisconsin's polity they have about two thirds of its elected offices courtesy of gerrymandering. By refusing Obama's Supreme Court appointment, the GOP now has a majority on the Supreme Court. With the help of Putin, they now have the White House and probably one or two more Supreme Court appointments than they would otherwise have. And, finally, now that they have power over all three branches - courts, legislature, and executive branch - they are able to stop any investigation of Russia, enabling it to continue its meddling with our elections (something 17 national security agencies all agreed they had done and would continue to do) while also continuing with voter suppression efforts that arguably stole hundreds of thousands of votes in swing states. (One of the many things overlooked in the question of collusion is the certainty that Trump - and the GOP more generally - will do nothing to stop Russia from interfering once again. Why would they if it helps them to win?) The head of the Census recently resigned out of protest for not having budget enough to properly conduct the 2020 poll; the results of not having a valid 2020 poll will likely give Republicans cover for not updating any demographic or census data from 2010, effectively extending their gerrymandering victory of 2010 to cover 20 years rather than just 10. In this they are ignoring a constitutional mandate necessary for democracy. (No census, no information on which states and regions should have more or less representatives.) They won't loosen their grip on national offices until 2032.

What are they doing with this power? They're instituting policies for which they don't have popular support.

The Republicans will get their tax cuts and will make their donors happy. And given they'll keep these tax cuts in place for at least a decade, they will become the new normal against which even moderates will be judged in any future quest to change things. It's also worth remembering that the most powerful Republicans and their donors will be dead soon. The Koch Brothers are 77 and 83 and will be dead by 2032. So will Robert Mercer, Mitch McConnell, John McCain, and Donald Trump. What happens after is speculative and, frankly, won't involve them. Trump, who is as immoral as any president since possibly Andrew Jackson (Trump's favorite past president), is the conscience of this party; it is not a party burdened with morals or any consideration of fair play. This is about power and profit.

The Republicans will pass a healthcare bill that Americans oppose and then follow that up with tax and budget cuts that lack popular support. Analysts and pundits will fret about how this will create problems for Republicans but of course it won't. Republicans represent the donors who can now spend unlimited money rather than the voters who can cast only one vote. Their gerrymandering has given them power disproportionate to their numbers: Republicans won less than half of the votes cast for House members in 2016 but won 55.2% of the House seats. With further help from Russia and voter suppression, they can leverage this vote into an even bigger gain in future elections. They've seized control and while there might be legitimate uncertainty about what they'll do with that power, we can be certain they won't give it back willingly.

The five most valuable companies today are Apple, Alphabet (nee Google), Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. American businesses have led in the creation of a new virtual world. American government, however, has yet to move into this new world. The result? The country so able to defend itself against any real world attacks has been virtually attacked. Putin has attacked us virtually, where we have little or no defenses; the GOP apparently sees no reason to defend itself against what benefits them. We've been the victim of a coup. Because it was virtual, most people still don't think it's real. The Republicans - intent on passing legislation that Americans would never vote for - know that it is.

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