For Republicans, Dead Heat in US Election Means Dumping Trump: Opinion

It will be hard not to conclude that the problem for Republicans is Donald Trump’s continued political influence

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Did anyone expect a tie in the WE elections? As of this writing, about 20 hours after the ballots were counted, that’s about what they produced. Republicans have won and are leading in enough constituencies to take control of the House of Representatives, while the Senate appears to remain 50-50, meaning Vice President Kamala Harris continues to vote decisively – unless there is a runoff in Georgia in December and former running back Herschel Walker crosses the line to get the 50% plus one vote required by Georgia law and give the Senate to the Republicans.

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A common reaction to this close result was the lament that the United States “has never been so divided”. Well, actually, General Sherman marching into that same Georgia and burning much of it to the ground in 1864-5 was a more serious indicator of division than a 50-50 Senate. Granted, Georgia eventually got over it, even jokingly calling its NHL team the Atlanta Flames (before they became the Calgary Flames and the association went oil). and gas).

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Certainly one of the bloodiest civil wars in history is a low bar for the division. But it’s not like the divide was unexpected in politics. Checking out the Latin roots for “diversity” and “division” – they aren’t quite the same – I came across the following from famous 18th century rapper Alexander Hamilton: “There is enough diversity in the state of property, in the genius, manners, and habits of the people of the different parts of the Union, to occasion a material diversity of disposition in their representatives towards the different ranks and conditions of society. He wrote that in 1788, there are 117 congresses. “Material diversity.” It seems that he did not expect a regular legislative concord.

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The tie provoked the usual reaction of many Canadian commentators to American difficulties: barely concealed joy. “Schadenfreude” may be a German word, but we Canadians have adopted it as our own. But we shouldn’t be so quick to throw stones from our own glass house. The percentage breakdown of the popular vote in our last federal election was: 33.7% (for the opposition party, Conservatives), 32.6% (for the ruling party, Liberals), 17, 8% (for the party that writes a lot of new politics, the NPD), 7.6% (for the party that wants to dismantle the country: the Bloc Québécois: the United States has none), 4.9 % (for the party that is mad as hell against the government, the whole government, the People’s Party) and 2.3% (for the party that is mad as hell against itself, the Green Party).

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A six-way vote split in which the party with the most votes does not form the government would seem to indicate substantial political division. Not even the empathy, generosity and cooing collegiality with which Members converse during their daily Question Period can alter this impression.

Apart from the Greens, some of our major parties are themselves so divided that they are incoherent. Compare the various Liberal reactions to the provincial use of the notwithstanding clause to circumvent the Charter of Rights and Freedoms: deep hysteria when Ontario does it vs. this.

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Whichever American party ends up controlling the chamber of Congress, one lesson you might think the winners would learn from what is virtually a stalemate is legislative abstention: Any law we pass now shouldn’t be so offensive. for the other side that they will repeal immediately if they take over in two years, which they might well do. (Foreigners, especially those who live nearby, should practice diplomatic abstention: better not get too close to one side or the other if the person in charge can change in just 24 months.)

Unfortunately, in a system where everyone is afraid of being “primary” – that is, of having their party’s nomination refused by party activists – legislative abstention is not so easy. . Which means that if you want to get your program across and hold it, you have to organize several congresses in a row. Which in turn means having a comfortable enough electoral margin to win a few elections in a row. Republicans watching the results of this round must be wondering why they didn’t get very comfortable margin on a president as weak and vulnerable as Joe Bidenwho, at this point in the vote count, appears to have had one of the least damaging midterm results in recent years.

It will be hard not to conclude that the problem is the continued political influence of donald trump, which his fans still adore but which undecided voters increasingly can’t stand. If the Republicans conclude that the lesson of Dead Heat is Dump Trump, the next question becomes: who will ring this cat?

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