It’s easy to list what all went wrong in 2021. In fact that list has been hurled at us on a nonstop loop for so long, it’s tempting to conclude that the entire year was a waste. But if you take a moment to list off the good things that happened in 2021, it’s a surprisingly comprehensive list.
Donald Trump was removed from power. Yes, the media keeps trying to convince us that he’s hiding behind every dark corner, and that he’s somehow more powerful and dangerous than he was when the year began. But that’s baseless. When the year began, Trump had control of the nuclear launch codes. These days he’s rotting in a Mar-a-Lago back room, pretending he still has power that he does not, hoping he doesn’t get criminally indicted, and he doesn’t even have control of so much as a Twitter account.
COVID vaccines came along and made (most of) us safer. Yes, Omicron is a potential nightmare, particularly if the surge doesn’t subside before the hospital system breaks. But try to imagine how much worse Omicron would be if three-quarters of us weren’t vaccinated. Most of us are far safer from COVID than we were when the year began, and most of the people who are at most risk from COVID are unvaccinated idiots who are at risk by choice. Let’s all do what we can to help protect immunocompromised people until this surge is over.
– When the year began, Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell were still packing the courts with far-right federal judges. Now, a year later, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer have spent 2021 packing the courts with legitimate federal judges at a far faster rate than Trump and McConnell were ever able to do. And, for whatever it’s worth, Trump-appointed judges keep ruling against Trump’s last ditch attempts at staving off criminal prosecution.
Speaking of criminal prosecution, new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is taking office today. He has a history of bringing legal action against Donald Trump, and now he’s inheriting what appears to be a nearly-complete criminal case against Trump, complete with an active grand jury. Trump’s indictment in New York is coming in the new year.
And if state-level criminal charges against Trump aren’t enough to satisfy your sense of justice, the January 6th Committee is about to start holding televised public hearings, after having recently leaked to the media that it intends to make a criminal referral against Trump for crimes including obstruction of Congress and wire fraud. Whatever you think of Merrick Garland’s DOJ, it’s difficult to imagine this DOJ ignoring a legitimate criminal referral from Congress. In fact this DOJ has already acted on the committee’s criminal referral against Steve Bannon, setting some degree of precedent for it.
There was a lot of winning in 2021, even if much of it was incremental, incomplete, behind the scenes, and so on. The good news is that the mixed victories of 2021 have set the stage for far bigger wins in 2022, if we’re smart about playing the winning hand we’ve been dealt. We’re heading into the new year with a growing majority consensus that voting rights legislation must be passed by any means, that Trump must be indicted, and so on. And we’re heading into the midterms with Trump set to spitefully make a total mess of the primary process for the Republicans. If we work hard and work smart in 2022, we can win it all. Happy New Year. Let’s do this!
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report