December 11, 2016
Oh my. It’s pretty clear to everyone watching that this week will be a watershed moment for American politics, not to mention the American experiment in democracy, not to mention our relationship with Russia. There’s no way to overstate it: Russia wasn’t just trying to influence the election. They were trying to get Trump elected. And they hacked the RNC servers yet didn’t leak anything, meaning they potentially hold leverage over the administration.
Joe Walsh, someone who serve in congress for two years as a Tea Party Candidate, said this on Twitter:
There’s evidence Russia messed around with our election, but cuz our guy won, people on my side are ok with that? That’s so fucking wrong.
And he kept going all weekend:
Where is the Republican outrage today? Where? This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s an American issue. #RussianHackers
Call me naive, but the one person who should call for an investigation is Trump. No foreign country should ever mess with OUR elections.
So……………..we got a real problem if our soon to be President sides with Russia over our own intelligence agencies. Hello.
Trump won. But we need a bi-partisan investigation to find out exactly what Russia did. So it never happens again.
There. Shouldn’t. Even. Be. A. Debate. Come on, man. Investigate now dammit. Bipartisan. #RussiaHackers
So wait…the CIA says Russia messed with our election to help Trump win and Trump attacks…the CIA? Not Russia? He goes after the CIA?
Meanwhile, McCain, Schumer, and <two others whose names I forgot to write down> are calling for bipartisan investigations. Over in the House, Paul Ryan rejects any investigation. The Trump campaign, for its part, sounds annoyed that anyone is talking about this topic at all.
I’ve been wondering about things playing out like this. I’m not saying it’s a prediction or even necessarily likely. But I don’t think it’s unlikely, either. Here’s how it goes.
McCain and Schumer annoy Trump with their Senate investigation. This complicates matters while the new administration is trying to whip votes to repeal Obamacare. The administration can only afford to lose 3 votes in the Senate if they’re going for a repeal maneuver.
So imagine a world where Trump isn’t only fighting the CIA, but also a few Senators in his own party in the Senate. What if they decide not to play ball with their full repeal of Obamacare? Well, a lot of things cascade out of that. First, they’ll have to push bills through the normal way, meaning requiring 60 votes. They can get 60 votes for modifying the law, of course. But they can’t get 60 votes for a full repeal.
So the next question is whether or not to kill the filibuster. They could. They might. Who knows. But I wonder if that pattern is going to happen:
- Senators calling to look into Russian cyber-warfare
- Trump getting bent out of shape about it
- Relations with his own party in the Senate suffering
- Obamacare repeal doesn’t happen right away
- Filibuster eliminated
As I’ve said before, I don’t mind the filibuster going away. Democrats will be back in power soon enough, and I’d love if they could pass their own bills without the absurd 60 vote hurdle getting in their way.
But what if the filibuster isn’t removed? What if the Senate actually manages to stop Trump’s most extreme agenda items? That would be interesting. Right now it looks like liberals are flat on their back with no control over anything, and that’s a pretty accurate assessment on paper.
But if Trump pisses off his own party, he may not be able to skate by with the 51 vote repeal. And no matter what happens, he’ll need to win 60 votes or say goodbye to filibuster forever.
Personally, I hope he pisses them off. And his past patterns seem to point to that being the most likely outcome. When you drive Joe Walsh crazy before you’ve even been inaugurated, that’s not a great trajectory to be on.
Later in the day:
The more I read, the more my jaw drops. How much more can you say? How much worse can it be than this? How much more troubling could it be than Trump and the RNC being blackmailed by a hostile foreign government? Even something as awful as a literal assassination at least has an end game and a process we follow. This feels like the Russian fox is in the henhouse.
I honestly cannot understand anyone who disagrees with an investigation. This is not about picking sides. This is not about redoing the election. This is some deep trouble, something we need to protect against as a country. But I think the Trump administration is too busy blustering and counter-punching to understand what’s happening.
I never struggle to imagine something to write about on this site. It reminds me of that old album Good News For People Who Love Bad News. There’s an embarrassment of riches these days.