About this time next year, Republicans will be cursing the name of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is widely credited for eliminating the concept of bipartisanship in Congress. In lambasting the idea of compromise, he managed to rile up the right-wing Republican base to such an extent that they rabidly went to the polls and voted. They may have been single-issue voters, but they voted.
Meanwhile, according to this PBS report, voter turnout has been falling. The articles cites a study from the United States Election Project noting that “only 36 percent of registered voters cast ballots during the 2014 election cycle, the lowest turnout in a general election since 1942.” Conventional wisdom suggests that voters just don’t care. Everyone in Washington is corrupt so what’s the point of voting?
I have a different theory. It’s not that they don’t care as much as the fact that what Washington did didn’t have much effect on people’s lives. We kind of wafted through a middle course without doing too much to screw up employment or the economy (2008 notwithstanding), so unlike the right-wing Republicans, no one else really had the motivation to go to the polls.
Enter Donald Trump.
With his slash-and-burn tactics, aided by Republican control of the House and Senate, he’s got people paying attention. I suspect that a lot of people didn’t like Hillary Clinton. Seeing polls that said she would easily win, people could not vote for her and still enjoy her presidency. Oops.
Now, seeing the United States slip further into a plutocracy, headed by plutocrat-in-chief Trump, I suspect that complacency in the American voter is on life support. Increased turnout in the off-year election last month in Virginia indicate change may be afoot (New Jersey did not have a commensurate increase, however). Voters now understand what can go awry when they don’t exercise their right to vote.
The result, I predict: the House and Senate both flip next year, turning Trump into a lame-duck president, if not a sitting duck for impeachment charges. But it doesn’t stop there, and that’s why I’m predicting the call for Gingrich’s head. The pendulum is going to swing back, and hard. It’s going to reverse course with enough force to topple some of the horrific changes we’ve seen in America the last eighteen months.
We’re going to see more laws favoring abortion rights, but not gun rights. We’re going to see immigration regulations relax. We’re going to see taxes go up on the rich, and maybe even the Pentagon budget go down. And the Republicans, back to their minority status, will be powerless to do anything about it. The right-wing that brought this on will be absolutely apoplectic.
But none of this would have come to pass if Gingrich hadn’t goaded the Republicans to play unfair in the first place. So for all those rabid right-wingers who believe so fervently in the Bible, look up Galatians 6:7: as ye sow, so shall ye reap.