Ni • hi • list – A person who believes in nothing, has no loyalties, and has no purpose other than to destroy
The votes are in. Mitch McConnell is the one person doing the most to destroy the governing traditions of the United States.
His nihilism has wrecked the Senate, damaged our country, and is threatening to destroy our democracy. And along the way, he has caused pain and suffering to tens of thousands of our neighbors, friends, and family members.
First, though, some background.
The Senate was conceived by the Framers to be a check on the more radical, two-year term House of Representatives. The staggered six-year terms of the Senators were supposed to ensure that after any election year, two-thirds of its members would still be seasoned legislators who knew that their role is to work on making changes to existing laws, or to pass new laws, based on their constituents’ needs.
The expectation was that the Senate would have a longer institutional memory, and that the longer terms would foster collegiality among its members.
The McConnell nihilist checklist
✔︎ Believes in nothing. McConnell has been ignoring these expectations of the Senate, and the democracy designed by our founders, for decades. Why? Because he doesn’t believe in them.
✔︎ Has no loyalty. McConnell has brilliantly elevated partisanship and power over the welfare of the nation, regardless of his oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” He has no loyalty to the nation, to his fellow senators, or even to his party. His only loyalty is to himself.
✔︎ Wants to destroy. Rather than maintaining the workings of the government, McConnell has been throwing monkey wrenches into the gears for years. He blocked hundreds of nominations during the Obama years, and was perfectly willing for the Russians to interfere in our elections. He is more than happy to destroy our democracy if it means he stays in power.
The results of McConnell’s nihilism
In the past 20 years, the master plan of McConnell’s Republican Party has been to sabotage the economy whenever Democrats are in charge, and then allow the wealthy and connected to loot the public treasury whenever they are in charge.
Why was the recovery of the Great Recession of 2008 the weakest in modern history? Just look at McConnell and the Republicans who worked overtime to weaken it.
After Tea Party Republicans took control of the House in 2010, federal officials pleaded with Congress to fully support the recovery policies. They argued that the economy wasn’t reaching its full potential, which meant that the long-term unemployed and underemployed were needlessly suffering permanent damage.
It wasn’t in the Republicans’ political interest to do anything to help the economy until a Republican president took office. Then, suddenly, McConnell and Republicans went on offense. The spigot was turned back on and federal money once again flooded the economy, so much so that the Fed had to slow it down.
Even after the virus hit in March, Republicans thought they were in good shape for November, so they approved the early rounds of relief that disproportionately gave the bulk of aid to corporations and the wealthy, their donors.
Then, in May, McConnell changed his mind. He wasn’t interested in doing stimulus bills any more. He wanted to wait; he wanted to shield businesses from COVID-related lawsuits and ignore the essential workers that were pulling us through the pandemic.
Everyone else knew the economy would need more help once the first aid ran out. Most people assumed that a deal would get done because it had to. It was also the right thing to do for millions of Americans.
Even Republican Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell had been banging the table since the early days of the pandemic for Congress to go big with fiscal stimulus.
“Too little support will lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses, over time, household insolvencies and business bankruptcies would rise, harming the productive capacity of the economy, and holding back wage growth, ” states Jerome Powell.
McConnell was unmoved and unmoving. His nihilism meant that it wasn’t in HIS best interests to do anything about pandemic relief – everyday people be damned.
But there’s more McConnell destruction to come
Even now, though, McConnell’s nihilistic plan is not complete.
Faced with cratering revenues since the start of the pandemic, states have already cut billions from their public education budgets. More than 200,000 state and local government employees, many of whom are K-12 teachers, lost their jobs in September.
Many U.S. cities plan to delay or cancel capital spending to fix roads, upgrade water systems, or make other infrastructure improvements, according to a survey by the National League of Cities.
States and municipalities have already laid off or furloughed more than 1.5 million public-sector essential workers over the course of the pandemic.
We can only imagine what will be cut from Kentucky’s education, healthcare, and infrastructure budgets because of the irresponsible inaction by Mitch McConnell.
McConnell realizes that with the pandemic still raging in many states, there is simply no way the economy is going to come back before November. He knows that the political environment grows less favorable for the GOP by the day. He understands that the odds his party will retain control of the Senate are probably 50-50 at best.
But for a nihilist like McConnell, there is always good news for him in the bad news of others: When Biden becomes president in 2021, the situation will be no less dire than it is now — and maybe more so.
The worse things are in Kentucky and the country, the better it is for Republicans. They can blame Democrats for their own Republican mistakes, then force austerity measures that sabotage the economy and slow the recovery. Blame the Dems, and the cycle begins again.
To think that you’d have to be nihilistic — indifferent to the country’s suffering if it could be weaponized for a political advantage.
In other words, you’d have to be Mitch McConnell.You'd have to be a nihilist to be indifferent to the nation's suffering as long as you could use it for political advantage. In other words, you'd have to be Mitch McConnell.Click To Tweet
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