In the words of Political Twitter’s favorite elections guy, I’ve seen enough. After an election cycle that basically started in 2016, not only is Joe Biden the next president of the United States, but due to the victories of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia, it looks like the Democrats — with the help of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — will have a slight majority in the U.S. Senate. They also defended their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives last November despite losing 13 seats.
Despite the chaos of Wednesday’s events, where pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol building and over 100 Republicans between the two chambers of Congress still tried to challenge electoral votes without evidence, it’s official: The Democrats will be in complete control of two branches of government on January 20.
It’s been 12 (veeeery long) years since Democrats won full control of both chambers of Congress and the presidency in an election, and it’s been a decade since they’ve wielded that power in office. For some, the feelings on this Democratic trifecta can best be described as somewhere between shock, relief, and excitement. But there’s also a weariness for what’s to come and the sizable challenges that lay ahead. After all, this country — and its lawmakers — are an absolute mess.
Biden ran as the good ol’ boy unity candidate, a man who’s going to heal the nation during a particularly divisive, devastating, and traumatizing time in United States history. And while Republicans continue to talk up the importance of the president-elect reaching across the aisle, the fact of the matter is that they’re not the ones who got him — or Warnock or Ossoff — elected. It was Black voters, Latinx voters, young voters, LGBTQ+ voters, disabled voters, and low-income voters who did that.
So, what should we demand of our leaders when the clock strikes 12:01 p.m. on January 20? I won’t mince words: Biden, future vice president Kamala Harris, and the Democrats in both chambers of Congress need to go balls to the wall.
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Time’s already ticking until the 2022 midterms, and Democrats have to make it all happen immediately: Comprehensive COVID-19 containment, vaccination protocols, an additional round of pandemic relief checks, honest-to-God health-care reform, student debt relief, tax brackets that make sense for once, an actual plan for stopping police brutality, reproductive health protections — the list goes on and on.
I don’t want to hear that it’s too hard or they’re worried about backlash from the other side. Republicans spent the Obama and Trump eras not listening to a single thing that the Democrats wanted. Why wasn’t anyone asking them about why they weren’t reaching across this venerable aisle they suddenly love so much? After all, I’m old enough to remember when the slight downturn of late Senator John McCain’s thumb was the only thing that stopped millions of Americans from losing health insurance due to Republicans’ failed Obamacare rollback efforts. Democrats have the mandate of the people. They should adopt some of that Big Republican Energy and use it.
I get it: It’s scary to look ahead and ponder what the future of our political system and our country holds. Four years isn’t a long time, not to mention that the 2022 midterms might as well be tomorrow given how fast election cycles move. And then there’s the fact that the 78-year-old Biden has reportedly suggested to aides that he plans to only serve for one term. It’s likely that we’ll have to start the presidential rat race from scratch again in just a few years. Democrats’ internal issues aside, what the hell are we supposed to do about the Republicans and whatever shenanigans they’re no doubt going to throw our way?