By Robert Reich
He’s maybe the most dangerous politician of my lifetime. He’s helped transform the Republican Party into a cult, worshiping at the altar of authoritarianism. He’s damaged our country in ways that may take a generation to undo. The politician I’m talking about, of course, is Mitch McConnell.
Two goals for November 3, 2020: The first and most obvious is to get the worst president in history out of the White House. That’s necessary but not sufficient. We also have to flip the Senate and remove the worst Senate Majority Leader in history.
Like Trump, Mitch McConnell is no garden-variety bad public official. McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party. Even if Trump is gone, if the Senate remains in Republican hands and McConnell is reelected, America loses because McConnell will still have a chokehold on our democracy.
This is the man who refused for almost a year to allow the Senate to consider President Obama’s moderate Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland.
And then, when Trump became president, this is the man who got rid of the age-old Senate rule requiring 60 Senators to agree on a Supreme Court nomination so he could ram through not one but two Supreme Court justices, including one with a likely history of sexual assault.
This is the man who rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and wealthy Americans – a tax cut that raised the government debt by almost the same amount, generated no new investment, failed to raise wages, but gave the stock market a temporary sugar high because most corporations used the tax savings to buy back their own shares of stock.
McConnell refuses to support what’s needed for comprehensive election security – although both the U.S. intelligence community and Special Prosecutor Mueller say Moscow is continuing to hack into our voting machines and to weaponize disinformation through social media.
McConnell has earned the nickname “Moscow Mitch” because he’s doing exactly what Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump want him to do – leave America vulnerable to another Putin-supported victory for Trump.
McConnell is also blocking bipartisan background-check legislation for gun sales, even after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso and Odessa, Texas.
So even if Trump is out of the White House, if McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader he will not allow a Democratic president to govern.
He won’t allow debate or votes on Medicare for All, universal pre-K, a wealth tax, student loan forgiveness, or the Green New Deal. He won’t allow confirmation votes on judges nominated by a Democratic president.
The good news is McConnell is the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. He’s repeatedly sacrificed Kentucky to Trump’s agenda – for example, agreeing to Trump’s so-called emergency funding for a border wall, which would take $63 million away from projects like a new middle school on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.
McConnell is even cut funding for black lung disease suffered by Kentucky coal miners. I know from my years as labor secretary that coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and the number of cases of incurable black lung disease has been on the rise. But when a group of miners took a 10-hour bus ride to Washington this past summer to ask McConnell to restore the funding, McConnell met with them for one minute and then refused to help them. No wonder Democrats are lining up in Kentucky to run against Moscow Mitch in 2020.
The not-so-good news is that McConnell is up for re-election the same day as Donald Trump, and Trump did well in Kentucky in 2016. Which means we have to help organize Kentucky, just as we have to organize other states that may not be swing states in the presidential election but could take back the Senate.
Consider Georgia: Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is retiring, meaning both of Georgia’s Senate seats are now up for grabs. And this one extra seat—in a state that is trending blue—could be the tipping point that allows Democrats to win enough seats to end GOP control of the Senate.
Trump has to go, but so does McConnell.
Here’s what you can do: Wherever you are in the country, you can donate to McConnell’s challengers. If you live in or near Kentucky, you can get out and knock doors or make calls. Or if you have friends or family in the state, encourage them to get involved.
As to the question of who is worse, Trump or McConnell — the answer is that it’s too close to call. The two of them have degraded and corrupted American democracy. We need them both out.
Robert Reich, is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the the twentieth century. He has written fiften books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, “Inequality For All.” Reich’s newest book is “The Common Good.” He’s co-creator of the Netflix original documentary “Saving Capitalism,” which is streaming now.
daniel Motta esq. says
This good ole boy blow hard is all hat and no cattle. Should have been put out to pasture years ago. Reason why government doesn’t work.
The good people of Ky. will dispose of Moscow do nothing Mitch. POTUS will take care of himself thru his continued circus. Not to keen on the Dem.s but the GOP is unrecognizable to me and unelectable.
Who won the election in his district?
Traveling Rep says
Oh, what a surprise. Another tripe based story in the “Orange Man Bad” series. Trump (and his base) are so thankful for the incredibly deranged lefties spouting their anger daily. There really is no better way to affirm that the American people elected the right guy to begin with. Here’s to you and yours! Trump will be your president again in 2020, Merry Christmas!
I am almost wanting to see the side show this Clown will create if Reelected. Free entertainment lmao. Keep winning !
“…that the American people elected the right guy to begin with.” Actually, the Electoral College elected the con man – 3,000,000 more “American people” voted otherwise.
David Schaefer says
They are both idiots.
Jane Gentile-Youd says
Mitch McConnell is far worse- he is stone deaf totally.
F DeWitt Beckett says
Such comments would be expected from such a waste of human form. This little pip squeak was a loser to start with and now he wants to critic those that are actually doing something for the PEOPLE. The political class and their associated bureaucrats (unelected) that have run this country in the ground with giveaways for decades are finally seeing that a new direction is at hand and its for the People and not them. Little Robert and his comments are not worth the ink to print them. Stand up and do something FOR the Country instead of letting such cripe have a say about anything.
Done so much for our Country Like be addicted to stimulants, rant and rave about nothing at NATO, attack a 16 yr. Old female who won an award he thought was destined to be the chosen ones, then The Twitter in Chief sends out 117 tweets in one 8 hour stretch, attacking whomever. Hes done so much. According to the IMF this morning due to his inadequate trade policies with China this charade cost the the World 700 BILLION and counting to bring us right where we started 2 years ago. BRILLIANT UNMATCHED WISDOM “high”IQ GENIUS. He is the chosen one alright. By you not me. This guy RR can run his mouth all he wants. WATCH POTUS do it evrryday. Get OVER it. Lmao Where do you people come from? smh
The author is expecting far too much if he believes those folks will vote in their best interests.
Hank E says
RR is a tool and is even more irrelevant than he was during his 15 minutes of fame years ago.
3.5 GDP (magic wand) and hundreds of other accomplishments that the sheep fail to recognize will be in the history books for all future Americans to see.
Get over it!
@Six of one, a half dozen of another
Both are totally unscrupulous swine. The elected Republican party has become a caricature of a caricature of comic book villains. The so-called commander in thief is a Private Low Class in the armies (depending on who he is serving/saluting at any given moment) of Russia, Turkey, and North Korea. The United States of America has never, ever before, become the laughing stock of the entire planet that trump has made of us.
Together, mcconnell and trump have shamelessly used their accidental and/or ill gotten power to corrode, weaken, and destroy everything they touch. mcconnell is certain of eternal infamy. trump too, along with being destined to spend the end of his time in a correctional institution – his final waste of tax dollars.
This is shaping up to be the grim half-decade to which future historians will point to as when both American democracy and Earth’s biodiversity were irretrievably — and unnecessarily — lost, due to avarice and cowardice in our leaders, and gullibility and sloth in those they led.
Big doors swing on small hinges.