Here we are in the midst of a pandemic, an imploding economy, and an unprecedented surge in anti-racist action, and what are Senate Republicans doing? In coordination with the White House, this noxious and spinless cast of characters are promoting a number of “recovery” measures that can be characterized as “neoliberalism at warped speed.” These include more tax cuts for the corporations and the wealthy elite, sweeping deregulation of the economy, and handouts to corporate and business cronies.
And there is more.
Trump and the GOP are also plotting to liquidate the post office and force states and cities into bankruptcy, while opposing a second stimulus bill to assist millions who are drowning in a tsunami of economic hardship and pain. And it’s being done in the name of allowing “free” markets to work their magic and the argument that the economy can’t stay closed forever (as if anyone is saying that), even if, in doing so, millions are left without income and the coronavirus spikes and takes more lives.
On its face it sounds like a suicidal path for Trump and Congressional Republicans to pursue in an election year. Looks like a death wish? Aren’t they worried that a big swath of the electorate, angry at their callous indifference to their economic plight and health, will take out their anger on them on election day?
So why would they choose such a perilous course of action?
The only answer I can come up with is this. No longer able to claim the “greatest economy ever,” they decided to double down with a two pronged strategy. One prong is to gin up turnout of his base, especially high school educated white men, with ample and sustained doses of brazen lies and demagogy, particularly racist demagogy. The other prong is suppress the vote by means, foul and fouler. And together, they will take to Trump over the top on election day.
This is a big gamble. It may have worked 4 years ago, but even then only because they drew an inside straight and won by a hair. This year looking at current polling, including in the battleground states, and the resoluteness of voters to dump Trump and his Congressional enablers, they will have to draw 4 aces to come out on top. And that’s rarely done.