We just want to get on with our lives.
There used to be two seasons in Washington. There was political season and policy season. Drunk on the attention of the last few election cycles, Washington reporters and pundits now think it’s always political season. Republicans, the minority party, have indulged them with constant outrage. The insurrection meant to bring down the U.S. Constitution was just the start.
But I can’t see a single issue on which Republican stands represent a majority view. The only way these views get any traction is by filtering everything through a Republican prism. There’s an entire media class, owned by oligarchs, doing nothing but that. Extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice, for in extremism there is no liberty. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is a virtue, for without moderation there is no justice.
When these views become policy, however, you’re playing with dynamite. Most Americans don’t want to see racial policy, or policies regarding women, gays, and immigrants, sent back over 100 years. Most of us support the right to vote. We don’t like paying more in taxes than billionaires. We don’t like Vladimir Putin. But these divisive social policies are what Republican state governments have decided to run on. These regressive and unpatriotic policies are where national Republicans find themselves.
But here’s the thing. Right now, we don’t care. Unless we’re directly impacted, we just want to live our lives. We want there to be a policy season. We want politicians to deal with stuff and for the rest of us to judge them during political season, a distinction neither they nor their media respect.
A lot will happen between now and November. The war will likely end. There will be indictments. Inflation will cool. There will be a backlash against policies now being implemented.
Unless democracy was itself a bad idea, Republican officeholders should not expect to be popular in November. Their record in office, which is what they will be running on, will not look good to the silent majority.
Only then, in political season, will that majority be heard from. As was true in the early 1970s, our roar will be mighty. And, right or wrong, our decisions will be final.