Identity Crisis

 Taking a break from daily news, in the US at least, where Donald skillfully dominates the public message and the press runs after it like a kitten runs after a ball of yarn, mariner turns to the serious issue of identity politics. In 21 months the US will have another Presidential election. Making this election even more important is that of the 33 Senate seats subject to primaries and reelection, 22 of the 33 are held by Republicans. Will the left swing of Democrats add to the attitude shift that carried the House of Representatives? Will a new attitude change the McConnell Senate? Dare mariner say the Senate will be controlled by Democrats?

Not today. The Democratic Party (and recently the Republican Party) is a montage of special interests. This happens frequently in a party that refers to itself as the ‘umbrella’ party. This time, however, the montage is unusually organized and has heels dug in against any compromise to principles.

Special interest groups have had years to foment dissatisfaction about guns, election tampering, gerrymandering, elected officials owned by lobbyists, grotesque amounts of money thrown at campaigns by special interests; add in the familiar ones: race, jobs, wages, unfair taxation, health, and retirement. Every one of these issues has lain dormant for much longer than a decade. The Senate truly is a do-nothing Senate with a deaf ear to the voice of the electorate.

So the Congress is ripe for a shakeup. There is a threshold to overcome: Primaries aside, to elect a new party Senator the vote count for the contender must be higher than the vote count for the entrenched Republican Senator – an uphill battle in a red or purple State. Making the Senate more important than usual is the messiness of the campaign for the Presidency. Even discounting Donald running for a second term, whoever wins in 2020 will not be the central force of change. Donald has completely derailed the normalcy of Presidential power and the electorate will vote for a ‘safe’ replacement – someone like Biden or Romney – Schultz doesn’t have ‘it’ to overcome other candidates. Consequently, both houses of Congress will have more influence on national policy than usual.

If the Democrats are to make inroads in the Senate, the Party must bring together disparate groups like Me Too, Black Lives Matter, Right to Choice, homosexual rights, Medicare for All, Unions, environmentalists and several emerging Hispanic rights groups. Indeed a montage.

Unification of these identity politic groups is absolutely necessary to compete in the red states. Both Republicans and Democrats will lose middle–of-the-road voters to a safe President; these same voters likely will stay with incumbent Senators.

Ancient Mariner


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