Seven weeks ago, I wrote about the possibility that the GOP would win back the Senate by misinforming the public, debasing the presidency and inflicting great damage on the American people. Today, that possibility seems more real than ever. Regardless of Tuesday's outcome, we'll have a divided government intentionally ground to a halt not just for the next two years, but likely considerably longer. Electoral math makes it unlikely the GOP will recapture the White House in 2016. Gerrymandering makes it quite likely they'll keep the House. The real consequence of a GOP win Tuesday is a validation of the dangerous GOP tactics that are an anathema to our democracy.
In the six years since President Obama won 365 Electoral College votes during the worst economic crises since the Great Depression, the Dow Jones has climbed a whopping 256% and we've had 55 straight months of private-sector job growth (the longest such period in history). Even the typically conservative Forbes Magazines reports that President Obama has outperformed the all-but-beatified Reagan in jobs, growth and investing.
President Obama also ended the war in Iraq, got Bin Laden, and resisted sending troops into Egypt, Syria, Iraq or anywhere else. Meanwhile, Obamacare, an idea that was originally proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation, has insured nearly 10 million additional Americans. US solar energy production has skyrocketed from virtually non-existent to nearly 2 billion kilowatt hours PER month and domestic crude oil production is at its highest levels since the 1970's. All this while the annual federal deficit has shrunk nearly $900 billion since Bush's last year in office.
The reality of Obama's presidency is much closer to what Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman describes as one of the most "successful Presidents in American history" than it is to any illusion created by the GOP and their puppet media. Then, why is it that Obama's approval ratings are low and that he's actually staying away from some tight Senate races? Because the GOP has made the illusion more real than reality itself. They have led a severe and sustained attack on the President expressly designed to wear down Americans enough to accept their malicious view that President Obama is an extreme radical who ascended to Presidency by some sort of fiat.
From Obama's non-existent "apology tour" to attacking his valid US birth, the GOP and its media have attacked Obama with lies and fabrication since day one. They nearly forced the US to default on its debt twice, and once shut down the federal government to force a repeal of a healthcare law -- upheld by the Supreme Court -- that was the basis for Obama's successful reelection in 2012. They faux-lament and hold incessant hearings on the loss of four lives in Benghazi all while deriding Obama for not sending thousands of troops BACK into Iraq. They blocked widely popular legislation on immigration reform while passing sweeping anti-abortion legislation that had no chance of becoming law. And the GOP has killed any chance of action on climate change, the imminent threat of which is growing by the day.
The GOP has blocked more presidential Appointments from Obama than all blocked appointments under all previous presidents combined. Just this year, the Senate blocked the nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy, an eminently qualified physician, to the post of Surgeon General because Mr. Murthy had the temerity to suggest that the over 32,000 gun deaths per year in the US might just be a public health issue. Meanwhile, GOP led states have reacted to Sandyhook and other gun massacres...by helping gun lovers come to grocery stores with packing automatic weapons. All the while, the right wing media attacks Obama for not having a Surgeon General during the Ebola crisis.
By now, these scorched earth tactics are well known and well documented. Yet they remain alarmingly effective. Mitt Romney -- who's home state had an uninsured rate of 4.35% -- had to run away from Romneycare in 2012, while Ted Cruz became a right-wing hero for his 2013 filibuster, despite the fact that his home state has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country at nearly 25%.
The very real danger of the GOP's likely triumph is that they have convinced an unfathomable number of Americans to vote against their own self-interest through fear, misrepresentation and misinformation. They have obfuscated the hidden agendas of their billionaire benefactors by making millions of Americans afraid of their government...and each other. At this has to be intolerable to all Americans, regardless of where they may be on the political spectrum.
We, all of us, have to rise up against this manipulative propaganda through the democratic process. We have to remind our elected officials that they have to put country before party through our own actions. Our debates have to be a healthy exchange of ideas, not divisive attacks that breed mistrust and hatred. For if we love our neighbors and ourselves...more than we fear each other's ideas...our leaders will have no choice but to follow. After all, they can only divide us if we choose to be divided.