Opinion | A red warning to America
Red was a colorful recent adjective of the Republican party, using it to describe the upcoming storm, wave, hurricane or tsunami that would mark the crippling defeat of the Democratic party in Washington and state houses around the country. Our source of fair and balanced Fox News apparently mentioned “red wave” more than 450 times during this past election season.
Yet, when the results were tabulated, the sure-thing red wave became a red warning to the Republican party. A warning that democracy matters to a lot of people and the Republican message wasn’t resonating with unaffiliated voters.
These midterm elections should have been a slam-dunk win for the Republicans. The main issue was and is the economy. With inflation at its highest level since the Carter/Reagan administrations and interest rates squeezing everyone except the ultra-wealthy, the Republican party couldn’t articulate a strategy besides “blame Biden.” Yes, Biden is partly to blame for the present-day inflation, as he has added over $3 trillion ($3,000,000,000,000) to the national debt in his two plus years in office. But Biden isn’t alone, as President Obama managed to increase the national debt by $9.3 trillion (or about $1.1 trillion per year). If you took a stack of one trillion $1 bills it would reach 67,866 miles into the sky, or enough to go around Planet Earth almost three times!
It would seem like a sure-fire point of attack on the inflationary spending habits of Democratic party administrators. The problem, of course, is that the national debt increased by $7.9 trillion under the Trump administration, or nearly $2 trillion per year. Yet, this was (and still is) an opportunity for the Republican party to show it has plans to govern rather than simply be a Trumpian opposition party.
Inflation is a simple concept of too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. The solutions to resolving inflation all involve removing dollars from circulation. Every time the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, it makes borrowing more expensive and thus creates less demand. If we go back to 1981, the mortgage interest rate topped out at 18.45%. It is around 7.25% today. How high would a Republican-inflation reduction plan have interest rates rise?
Fiscal responsibility is an issue that Republicans should dominate. In an effort to balance the budget (a certain anti-inflationary measure), how much would taxes need to increase and which expenditures would need to be reduced to make this happen? As soon as Sen. Rick Scott of Florida outlined some proposals to increase taxes on more than half of the country while cutting Medicare and Social Security expenditures, his Republican counterparts immediately ran for cover. These discussions are exactly what the party needs to have if a balance budget is to be achieved. Who will pay more and who will get less must be discussed if the party wants to offer solutions again in 2024 or continue to resort to asserting blame without ever looking in the mirror.
In a time where “it’s the economy, stupid” would again apply, the Republican party instead sent us candidates that not only couldn’t begin to offer solutions but instead focused on the lies of the past. How many candidates sought to discredit the fair election results of 2020? How many candidates simply peddled lies to an audience that seems to be thankfully shrinking in size?
And what to make of the Georgia Senate race, which is now headed to a run-off election in a few weeks. According to an NBC exit poll, 1/3 of all Georgia voters identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians — these voters an astonishing 88% voted for the Republican candidate. This would not be terribly surprising in a normal election year where both parties nominated “normal” candidates. But 2022 is anything but normal and it’s astounding to think that this many people voted against a candidate who has literally devoted his life to serving Jesus Christ as a minister and instead preferred a candidate who recently said: “I’m not that smart.”
How does the party that stands for “family values” justify nominating a candidate who has admitted to domestic violence, denied that he fathered children out of wedlock until proof was provided and was deemed to be a pathological liar by his own campaign staff? How does an evangelical Christian justify voting against the senior pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (Martin Luther King Jr.’s former pulpit)? Finally, what happened to famed intellectual Lauren Boebert, who was blessed with having to run a campaign in a district that was heavily Republican when she ran in 2020 and was redrawn to make it more favorable to Republicans in 2022 (Republicans have a 31-24% lead in affiliated registered voters). Hopefully the Republican candidate for this Colorado district in 2024 will actually represent something, regardless of how the 2022 race is eventually called.
Also, to other candidates: Stop insulting voters. Stop offering up candidates who are self-perceived victims without a cause. And if you think the country looked bad without turning red, let’s not even think about another orange option on the color palette.
Scott M. Estill’s column “Challenges, Choices, Changes” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Estill is an attorney, author, and public speaker who lives in Dillon when not traveling or attending to legal matters in Denver. Contact him at email@example.com.
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