This morning I had one of those “Your Memories on Facebook” pop up in my news feed. It was from this day in 2010, and here’s what I had written:
Wow, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal, tax cut deal, food safety bill, New START Treaty, 9/11 Health Bill — don’t look now, but progress has broken out in Washington. There really is a Santa Claus!
What a difference elections make. That was the last time Democrats held the Presidency, the Senate and the House.* Just a few weeks earlier, in the 2010 election, they suffered big losses in both the House and the Senate. While they managed to narrowly hold on to their Senate majority (which they’d go on to lose in 2014), they handed over the House majority to Republicans. We haven’t had another year with holiday goodies** like my list above since then. And now this year – 6 years & 3 elections cycles later – this holiday season, we’re all getting a big Trump of coal in our stockings.
*The sarcasm about progress breaking out was in reference to the fact that, despite holding majorities in both chambers of Congress at that time, Democrats were regularly blocked from using their majority in the Senate to pass bills due to constant filibusters by the Republicans. In fact, one of the reasons people around the country started to get so angry at Washington “insiders” (a presage of 2016) was because of this constant gridlock. They looked at their representatives in D.C. who were supposed to be working for them, and all they saw was what looked like a bunch of infighting, with nothing being done to improve their lives. This was actually a deliberate strategy by Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell to diminish President Obama’s popularity and stymie his agenda. It turned out to be a brilliant plan that paid dividends in each successive election.
**Seeing the New START treaty on that list is especially ironic right now, in light of the controversy Trump stirred up with yesterday’s tweet about expanding our nuclear capability & the follow up report today that he supposedly told a Morning Joe host off-camera, “Let it be an arms race.” Elections really, really have consequences.