“Why does it feel like when the Republicans win, they always get their way, but when the Democrats win, the Republicans always get their way?” This is a question that keeps going viral on social media. Here’s the answer: it feels that way because the media always paints that picture for you. But if you look at the facts, it’s simply not true.
Passing major legislation is hard. Mitch McConnell’s Senate was terrible at it. They got the tax cut and… that’s it. They got nothing else. Their health care gambit took months and failed, even though they had the majority across the board.
In five months the Democrats have already passed the stimulus, and have a clear path on infrastructure, meaning they’ve already outpaced McConnell’s senate legislatively. This is despite having a slimmer majority than McConnell had.
What, did you forget all those Susan Collins tantrums ever happened? Yes, she often caved in the end. But she forced McConnell and the Republicans to spend huge amounts of time catering to her ego just to get anything done. This kind of thing happens to both parties when they’re in charge. It just does.
In fact McConnell’s senate was so laughably inept at passing legislation, Trump resorted to trying to do everything by executive order. But that’s illegal in most instances, so most of Trump’s executive orders were quickly shot down in court. Not a viable path, just a tantrum.
“But judges!” Biden is already on track to nominate more federal judges than Trump did. Look it up.
You can’t find almost anything that McConnell’s senate was able to do quickly or efficiently, even when he had 52 votes. That’s just a factual reality. It’s not changed by any amount of fictional media narratives about McConnell magically getting his way on everything.
“But the Republican senate must have been better at this than the Democrats, because I was told that…” That’s the problem. You were told. You witnessed it with your own eyes, but you’ve rejected that because the media told you something different happened than what you saw.
Why did the media spend the McConnell era insisting the Republicans were instantly and magically getting their way on everything? Because it scared and outraged you into staying tuned in. Never mind that it was false; you got sucked in by it anyway.
Why is the media now pretending that the Democratic senate’s incremental slog is some kind of full scale collapse, instead of admitting it’s just how the senate always works? Because the media wants you outraged and feeling defeatist, so you’ll stare at the TV all day. Ratings.
Back to the original question: “Why does it feel like when the Republicans win, they always get their way, but when the Democrats win, the Republicans always get their way?”Because the media has been bullshitting you to drive ratings, then and now. The facts make that clear.
Hate to break it to some of you, but what you’re seeing right now is what winning looks like in politics. The reward for working hard to win an election is that you then get to work even harder to try to find a way to govern. It’s true for both sides. There are never any magic wands, ever.
If any politicians or pundits had you convinced that winning an election meant that everything would then magically happen of its own accord, then they did you a disservice. That’s not politics. It’s some kind of imaginary candy land.
If you feel like you did your part by winning the election, and you can’t stomach the far more difficult task of governing, that’s fair. But your whiny defeatism about the process isn’t welcome and does extreme harm.
If you’re willing to put in real work instead of whining, you can help us win crucial battles. HR1 can happen. Infrastructure can happen. Winning the midterms can happen. It all comes down to whether the fighters outnumber the defeatists on our side. So if you’re still here, let’s get to work. Step one is to stop talking and acting like we’re going to lose these winnable battles.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report