Welcome to our annual frightfest! Every year, we provide two tales of shrieking horror -- one for Democrats and one for Republicans -- so sit back and prepare to be terrified right out of your cheap cardboard costume!
As always, Hallowe'en falls conveniently just before the election, so there is no shortage of possible horrors for both sides to contemplate. We've carved Jack O'Lanterns for each story, as we've done in years past. This year's Texas flag came out a little fuzzy (and a little curved -- it's tough carving rectangles on a quasi-spherical pumpkin!), but it's close enough for government work (as they say). Oh, and for anyone who was expecting a "Friday Talking Points" column today -- have no fear, it will return on schedule next week.
But on this, the spookiest of nights, go ahead and crank up the insane organ music and cue the clanking chains and screaming sound effects! Because it is time once again for our eerie tales of fright and horror for both Lefties and Righties. Enjoy, and have a happy Hallowe'en everyone!
Democratic Nightmare -- The Silence Of The Veto Pen
The Republican wave in the midterm elections is bigger than anyone predicts. Democrats lose all their close races, and the Republicans pick up nine seats. This puts the balance in the Senate at 54 Republican and 46 Democratic. Independent Angus King of Maine announces he'll be caucusing with Republicans for the next two years, which boosts the total to a complete reversal of where we are today: 55 Republicans, 45 Democrats. Republicans also add seats in the House.
Obama admits that his party has gone through (as he puts it) "The Shellacking II," and urges Democrats in the Senate to get what they can done in the lame-duck session before the incoming Congress is sworn in. Harry Reid manages to get dozens of presidential nominees to federal judgeships confirmed, but is blocked from doing much else.
Mitch McConnell announces that Republicans now hold a mandate for change, and after taking the reins as Majority Leader holds a quick vote which abolishes all filibusters for the next two years. "This is payback," he taunts, "so how does that 'nuclear option' feel now, Democrats?"
Unconstrained by the minority Democrats in either the House or the Senate, the Tea Partiers have a field day of passing every item on their radical agenda. Democrats, reeling from the blow of the loss of the legislative filibuster, confidently proclaim that Obama's veto pen will be quite busy for the foreseeable future.
President Obama, however, is stung by how Democratic congressional candidates ran away from him during the campaign, and -- mindful of his historic legacy -- announces he will now be known as "Mister Compromise." He reaches out his hand to Republicans in Congress, cheerfully proclaiming: "Let's see what we can get done together!"
Congress promptly passes a long list of legislation: To get an abortion, American women will now be required to travel to Canada or Europe. Legally, women's pay cannot exceed three-fifths of men's pay who perform the same job. The credit ceiling will not rise, ever again. The Department of Education is abolished, as is the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service. Unions are declared illegal. The income tax will be replaced with a new 35 percent national sales tax, which is fully rebated to those who make over $100,000 per year. The Social Security trust fund will be turned over to Donald Trump to administer as he sees fit. Obamacare, of course, is repealed (and replaced with absolutely nothing). The federal minimum wage is abolished. The military and Border Patrol budgets are tripled, while social spending approaches zero. Anyone who travels to any country in Africa will now have to spend three weeks at Guantanamo Bay before being allowed back into the country. All of these bills are wrapped into one gigantic budget bill, which appears on President Obama's desk.
Democrats apoplectically call for Obama to veto it. Instead, he surprises everyone by signing it, stating: "What do you want me to do, shut the government down, or just agree to these reasonable Republican proposals?"
Republicans give Obama zero credit for approving the bill. Then they really go to town, to secure their congressional majorities. A bill is introduced in the House to completely replace the old Voting Rights Act, which is dubbed the "Right Voters Have Rights Act." This bill would reinstate poll taxes, but only for citizens who live in districts that regularly vote Democratic. Republican districts will be exempt from the new $500 poll tax.
Obama signs the bill, stating: "Well, this seems fair enough."
Republicans still refuse to give Obama any credit for signing all their wildest legislative fantasies into law. They introduce a new "Religious Freedom Act" which essentially gives everyone in America the right to disobey any federal law by claiming "sorry, that's against my religion." Republicans claim this will restore "states' rights" and forevermore rid the populace of the tyranny of federal government.
Obama signs the bill, stating: "What could possibly go wrong with this idea?"
Republicans refuse to give Obama any credit, and a resolution is passed through both houses of Congress declaring Obama to be a Muslim. This being a joint resolution and not a bill, Obama doesn't even get the chance to sign it, but signals that if given the chance he would have, stating: "If Republicans want to call me a Muslim, that's fine with me -- I just want us all to work together in a bipartisan way."
The American economy begins showing cracks around the edges after a few short months, and when the debt ceiling is reached, the federal government starts defaulting on its obligations. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has made some spectacularly bad investments with the Social Security money, so when the stock market crashes down to 3,000 as a result of the default, America's safety net is wiped out. Republicans in Congress refuse to act.
The federal government, as a fiscal entity, ceases to exist. Together with the number of people claiming "religious objections" to any federal taxes whatsoever, the United States of America, for all practical purposes, also ceases to exist. Republicans, surveying the wreckage of a once-great nation, put all the blame entirely on Obama. "He had to have known all those bills we passed were just jokes," they try to explain. "We never in a million years thought he'd actually sign them." Congress, and all other federal branches, are evicted from their various buildings in Washington D.C.
In 2016, there is no federal election. The states decide to go it alone, and the country splits up into five or six regions. President Obama goes down in the history books as the last President of the United States of America. He writes his memoir, entitled: "I Guess I Should Have Vetoed A Few Of Those Bills," but few people have enough money to purchase a copy.
Republican Nightmare -- Quarantine Horror
Five more people in Dallas come down with Ebola, and Barack Obama bows to pressure (from non-Texan Republicans) and declares the entire state under the strictest of quarantines. The White House issues a terse statement: "There is only one place in America where people are catching this deadly virus, and that is Texas. To protect the citizens of the other 49 states, we are completely shutting down the border of Texas -- nobody will be allowed in, nobody will be allowed out, on pain of death."
All United States Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine personnel are immediately evacuated from Texas, and are put on duty patrolling the borders, with orders to shoot to kill anyone attempting to cross the border in either direction. Governor Rick Perry, in a fit of pique, declares that Texas is seceding from the Union, and declares his state is now the "New Lone Star Republic."
This throws a large monkey wrench into the midterm election, as Republican candidates are torn between supporting Perry (because it makes Obama look so bad) and supporting the quarantine idea (which they themselves pushed on Obama). Moderate voters are horrified that Republicans would even consider supporting the concept of secession, and turn out in record numbers at the polls. The balance of Congress is also thrown off due to the Senate now only having 98 members and the House 399 (minus the Texas delegation), and when the ballots are all counted, the Democrats not only increase their majority in the Senate, they take control of the House as well.
President Obama prudently waits 21 days (just to be sure), and then invades Texas with the full force of the American military. The Texas National Guard and various militia groups and Second Amendment enthusiasts attempt to put up resistance, but they are quickly overrun. As all large Texas cities are retaken by the Union forces in their march to Austin, the disgruntled opposition fires several oil fields and refineries as a final act of defiance.
A "Second Reconstruction" bill is passed in Congress, which Obama promptly signs. Any Texan who openly supported secession is disenfranchised for life -- much like many states already treat felons. The sitting state government is disbanded under martial law, and elections are held for all state government positions to create a new administration. Due to the number of people disenfranchised, Democrats win control of both chambers of the statehouse, and all statewide offices. This new government begins legislating with a passion, passing "anti-fraud" voting laws which institute a "loyalty test" for all voters. These tests differ wildly in implementation (in southern districts, all questions are asked in Spanish, for instance), and only serve to disenfranchise any remaining Republicans who still attempt to vote. As a result, Texas goes solid blue for two generations to come.
Texas is allowed back into the Union just in time for the 2016 presidential election. With its 38 Electoral College votes locked in for Democrats, the Republicans have no chance. Before any battleground (or "purple") states are even considered in the total, the electoral math shows Democrats have 280 rock-solid votes -- an impenetrable "blue wall," which contains ten more Electoral College votes than the minimum needed for victory.
The national Republican Party all but ceases to exist. The hardcore Tea Partiers stay within the dwindling Republican ranks, but the more moderate of the Republicans announce they're switching parties, and now call themselves the "New Blue Dogs." Eventually the Tea/Republican Party disappears altogether, and partisanship in Washington is replaced by factionalism within the Democratic Party. Historians proclaim it the "Second Era of Good Feelings."
President Hillary Clinton (2016) is followed by President Elizabeth Warren (2024) and President Chelsea Clinton (2032), and America enters a golden age of progressivism and prosperity for all. The economy soars, the income gap slowly closes, and the Supreme Court is packed with nine reliable liberal justices.
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