How Democrats Can Capitalize on a Radical Supreme Court
Which political party is the worst?
That’s the question voters will face this fall as they decide whether Democrats should continue to lead Congress, or if they’ve missed their chance and it’s time to give Republicans another chance.
President Biden and Democrats with narrow congressional majorities must account for 8.6% inflation, gasoline prices near $5 a gallon, the ‘police defunding’ fiasco and intraparty wrangling which is equivalent to separate marital bedrooms. The worst inflation in 40 years pushed Biden’s approval rating to dismal levels and gave Republicans a good shot at taking control of Congress in November.
And even. Republicans have finally caught the car they’ve been chasing for decades, with the Supreme Court’s overturning of nationwide abortion protections in Roe v. Wade from 1973. It’s not just that. The court, now leaning 6-3 Tory thanks to three Donald Trump appointees, also just made guns easier to carry and upheld a football coach’s right to force high school students public to pray with him during matches. On the first two issues, the Republican-dominated court is wildly out of step with public opinion, while the third ruling appears to upend the traditional separation of church and state in the United States.
Then there are the new revelations about what is likely criminal behavior inside and outside government by Republicans trying to help President Trump overturn the legitimate 2020 election results. which led to the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol. The congressional committee investigating this national disgrace found, among other things, that Trump probably knew he had lost and went ahead with his fraudulent scheme anyway, with the help of toads from the White House, Congress and the governments of the States that begged him for preventive pardons, as if they knew they were committing crimes. Some of these schemers are now plotting at state and local levels to attempt another coup in the future, and this time win.
Republicans are corrupt. Democrats are incompetent. Since it’s arguably better to be inept than bad, is there a way for Democrats to turn Republican extremism to their advantage?
It’s possible, but it will likely take a very difficult thing for Biden and his fellow Democrats to do: get U.S. gas prices below $4 a gallon, on average. Gasoline prices are having an outsized effect on the consumer psyche, even though Americans are buying less than before. For voters to think Biden has this under control, they need to see awards that start with 3, not 4 or 5, by September or October.
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As it stands, the political trends look bleak for Democrats. A recent analysis by the Associated Press found that about 1 million voters online changed their party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in the past year. This is the opposite of the trend when Trump was president, and the Democrats won more voters, on the net. These GOP gains were concentrated in the suburbs, which was a particular strength point for Biden in 2020. Thus, a key element of Biden’s winning margin from 2020 may be missing.
After Roe was gutted by the Supreme Court, Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said abortion rights were “on the ballot” in November. But Democrats are fools if they think the court’s decision alone will bring a wave of voters in their direction. Democrats don’t have a plausible plan to protect abortion rights nationwide through legislation because there’s no chance they’ll get the 60-seat majority needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate. Middle voters won’t side with the Democrats on an ideological whim if the high cost of food, rent and gas under the Democrats kills them.
Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to keep global oil and gasoline prices high as long as the shells fly, as sanctions against Russia become tougher, not softer. Biden has already released a record amount of oil from the strategic reserve, which has likely kept prices from rising even higher. His call for Congress to suspend the federal gas tax probably won’t happen, and would matter little if it did.
Is there another way for Biden to stop a move? Maybe. Biden plans to visit Saudi Arabia in July, which comes as a surprise given Biden’s own condemnation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who likely ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The trip is already attracting plenty of criticism from human rights activists, which Biden must have anticipated. So why is he going? Seeking a deal with the devil and pricing the Saudis to pump more oil, not just a little more.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have spare oil capacity of at least 3 million barrels per day, which is more than enough to compensate for the Russian oil likely lost due to sanctions by the end of this year. the year. But the two OPEC countries have refused to pump more, perhaps as a snub to Biden, or a sign of support for their oil ally Russia, or simply to capitalize on high prices. There are other tense issues between Washington and Riyadh, such as Saudi brutality in the war in neighboring Yemen and the kingdom’s cooperation with China on military matters. Biden doesn’t want everyone to think he’s going there just to beg for more oil, but if Biden comes back with no deal for that, the trip will look like an obsequious flop.
Negotiations are also underway to reinstate the nuclear deal with Iran, which would end some sanctions and allow Iran to legitimately sell more oil on world markets. Iran recently pulled out of those talks, but they have now resumed. Most analysts think a deal is unlikely anytime soon, but who knows, Biden might also be willing to go soft on Iran, if he puts more oil on the markets and drives down the costs.
A third thing that would drive prices down would be a resounding defeat of Russian forces on the battlefields inside Ukraine, bringing some kind of settlement in sight. That’s not happening right now, with Russia actually winning turf tufts. But Russia suffers painful losses in the process, and powerful Western weapons are finally starting to arrive at Ukrainian frontline units, which could eventually tip the balance in their favor. Much more is to come, and Biden and other NATO leaders could up the ante with fighter jets or sophisticated air defense systems. Politically, it is in Biden’s interest to send Russian forces quickly, rather than eventually.
High prices give voters a reason to oppose Biden’s Democrats in November. An ideological Supreme Court imposing theocratic laws on those who do not want them will not on its own bring voters back to a Democratic party that has no solutions of its own. Voters, disgusted with everyone, need one party to show it can do something that makes people’s lives better. Being less bad than the other side is not enough.
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