If I were Mitch McConnell part 2

(part 1)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m making the right call when it comes to how I spend my life. Game writing, game journalism, game development, and vide editing all make me incredibly happy, and I’ve felt more fulfilled than I’ve felt in years. The YouTube channel is taking off, I’m attending conventions and gaining attention from all the right places. My LinkedIn has become a well-oiled machine of connections.

But outside my personal life, and the virtual worlds I’ve immersed myself in, the real world is becoming more and more unhinged. The Mueller report just dropped, we finally get to read the darn thing, and nothing’s changed. Republicans continue to stonewall in the Senate, Trump supporters continue to insist there’s no cause for collusion, and there doesn’t seem to be anything the common folk can do to make their voice heard. Protests are irrelevant. Voting occurs too rarely to make a difference. And I have a sinking suspicion voting isn’t going to matter come 2020.

A particular Republican strategy is worrying me more than the others. The senate, lead by Mitch McConnell, is stripping many of the abilities normally available to the minority party in order to push legislation through despite Democratic opposition. Most people I read are saying things like “this is a foolish strategy that will come to bite them when they’re the minority party next.” The news is painting the Republicans as a party trying to take maximum advantage of a dwindling period of power, a party who knows they’re going to lose the 2020 election in another blue wave. Indeed, the neverending Trump scandals and the blue wave of 2018 suggests that the Democrats are entering the next election period with a massive advantage.

Which is why I’m skeptical people are interpreting the Republican strategy correctly. The Republicans, more than anything, are patient. They developed Fox News in response to the Nixon scandal and waited decades for it to permeate their target audience. They’ve spent multiple presidencies filling the courts with right-leaning judges, a strategy that takes forever to slowly redefine the nation’s legal balance. Even the Trump campaign was supposed to be a stepping stone to a future presidency; I firmly believe the Republican plan had been to lose the election and use fake news to erode public faith in the electoral process. None of this behavior is that of a party that does anything “desperately” or “last-minute.”

So, if that’s the case, why are Republicans stripping the Senate minority party of power? Personally, I suspect they don’t plan on ever being the minority party again. But before I go into that, let me explain Donald Trump’s current predicament.

President Trump is in something of a pickle. While he’s done an admirable job of dodging scandals by flooding the news cycle with too many stories for anything to stick, the fact remains that he faces prison as soon as he relinquishes the presidency. Even if he uses the Ford-Nixon strategy to pardon himself of all federal crimes, he can still be charged on a state level. So, how can Trump remain president indefinitely? He’d have to either (1) repeal the 22nd Amendment (downright impossible) or (2) suspend elections.

And believe it or not, the Republican senators’ behavior makes a lot more sense if they ultimately plan on suspending elections and retaining power indefinitely. Here’s my theory for how they plan to do that:

  1. The Republicans allow the Russians to hack the 2020 election, but have the Russians hack in the Democrat’s favor
  2. “Uncover” the hacking after the Blue wave sweeps the election, use the hacking as an excuse to doubt the results and suspend the elections
  3. Use the fact that Russia hacked for the Democrats to distance themselves and cast doubt on the Republicans and Russians working together

I bet a bookie would give me great odds if I put some money down on that idea. And hopefully my screenwriting background is just letting my imagination get the best of me. But even if the Republicans are planning something less theatrical, I can’t help but feel I could be doing more to fight back. Sydney is living in Portland protesting ICE every day and completing street medic training. Admittedly, protesting in Oregon seems a bit like preaching to a choir, but it’s more than I’m doing. When I was younger, I was positive I’d join the underground railroad or help defend common people if I lived in a more exciting time. Now here I am, witnessing a proto-fascist government stuffing the courts and deporting migrant children, and I’m earning money playing games like a Weimar bougiose.

If I Were Mitch McConnell

(part 2)

Gonna veer off into political game theory, just because the Republicans have presented me with an unsolvable problem, and I love those.

Put yourself in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s shoes. For 8 years you and your party have loudly opposed Obamacare. You’ve vowed to repeal it and replace it with something better, and when Trump got elected, you got your chance to accomplish your flagship promise. But you never actually wrote a replacement healthcare plan because nobody expected Trump to win. So now you go about drafting one, but it’s hard because Obamacare is already the most Republican healthcare plan conceivable, and that’s where Mitch’s replacement plan has been struggling. Everything he adds alienates either the hardcore Conservatives or the Moderate conservatives, and just yesterday two Republican senators came out and announced that they would oppose the bill. This puts Mitch’s support at 48/52 Republican senators, not enough to ram the bill through.

In a last desperate attempt, Mitch announced today that they would vote on repealing Obamacare and not replacing it with anything. They’ll just kill it and work out a replacement before the repeal goes into effect. Unfortunately, to nobody’s surprise Republican senators from all fronts are saying they’re not gonna go for that. Mitch has like two weeks to find a solution because he was abusing a loophole where he marketed the repeal as a “budget readjustment” (which requires only a majority of the senate to vote yes), since repealing Obamacare would lower federal costs. The time for voting on budget adjustments runs out in two weeks. After that, Mitch will have to work with his Obamacare repeal as a regular bill which will require 2/3ds of Congress, aka Democrat support (since Mitch only has 52 republicans in the Senate). My Democrat friends are crowing excitedly at the Republicans’ absolute failure to accomplish their goal, and my Republican friends are furious at their senators for failing to accomplish the one thing they’ve been adamant about doing for almost a decade. By all accounts, Mitch’s ship seems sunk. But I, safe in my knowledge that nobody reads this blog, think I’ve found a solution. Here’s what I would do in Mitch’s case:

I would ‘draft’ a healthcare bill that does X, call it “Republicare”, and urge my constituents to pass it. X is literally word-for-word what Obamacare currently does. They’d literally repeal and replace it with the exact same plan under their own name.

This would allow them to accomplish their primary goal: repealing ‘Obamacare’. After all, Obamacare is just a name, the healthcare bill itself is actually quite popular. My Republican friends are quite happy with the Affordable Care Act despite it being the exact same plan. Mitch’s base has proven that they almost entirely care about the optics of repealing Obamacare, so give them what they want. And you don’t even have to suffer the fallout of stealing healthcare from 22 million Americans. Now they can say “Ha! We repealed Obamacare! And now you can all enjoy healthcare courtesy of the Republican party!” Just ignore all the snickering Democrats, Mitch has never cared what they thought anyway.