Submitted by ub on Sat, 05/06/2023 - 12:23

There can no longer be a doubt that America is in the midst of a homegrown terrorist attack. 

The Republican Party, taken over by religious zealots and people believing that a mythical America once existed, wants to punish people whose religious, sexual, and philosophical behaviors differ.

Having failed to overthrow a presidential election—with their 2024 candidate of choice now mired in legal difficulties of his own making—they have declared war on the USA and the global economy. 

The current front in their war on America is to refuse to raise the statutory debt ceiling, forcing the federal government to default on debt obligations for money already borrowed and spent.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution says, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

To hamstring the government, politicians before World War 1 and 2 passed a regulation requiring Congress to approve any increase in the debt ceiling. The federal government has borrowed money since the American Revolution in 1775. That requirement for Congress has remained and is a partisan weapon against the American people.

While this regulation conflicts with the Constitution, it almost always means routine budget increases. During the Trump administration, when ill-advised tax cuts forced more borrowing, Democrats in Congress reluctantly approved an increase.

Today the Republicans, with a four-vote majority in the House of Representatives, will approve a budget cap demanding the Biden Administration slash spending already approved by Congress. 

A Republican Congress originally enacted the debt ceiling provision to prevent a president from giving money and assistance to allies abroad engaged in war.

There is way too much dichotomy in a political party that always wants less regulation on business interests and less taxation yet wants to severely increase the government's ability to force people how to live their personal lives when it comes to family planning, abortion rights, sexual preferences, even the books they can read.

At the same time, Republican leadership, beholden to multiple business interests, refuses to bring any meaningful gun regulation to solve the mayhem in mass shootings in America. Laws will not inhibit responsible gun owners. However, untrained people's virtual unlimited use of firearms has resulted in a cascade of mass shootings in just four months.

The suggested carnage to the economy and working people from a debt default has never happened but will be worse than the worst storms in the current climate change era. 

A right-wing faction of the electorate wants a return to an America that exists in their collective memory from too many movies and too little serious history education. 

All the Trump-Biden comparisons seem premature 19 months ahead of an election. Both are elderly, yet after that fact, they are stark contrasts in understanding American democracy. Sitting in my working-class neighborhood barbershop, I hear elderly white men lament a changing society they neither understand nor like. Emotional and angry, yet fact-free, they cannot comprehend that Tucker Carlson is the millionaire son of a wealthy family. Until his recent demise on Fox News, he has been a faux populist champion of their misery with taxes, people of color, the Internet, the cost of living, etc. it seems to me that with the election a mere 19 months away, the best thing is to quote Donald Rumsfeld: There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. At the recent White House Correspondents dinner, Biden didn't sound like an older man. Trump's legal nightmares are self-made, and his tweets are barely coherent.  

Now, we can say this: sure, all voters might want a 40-year-old matinee idol, but the issue is whether voters would turn out for him. Given the alternative — Trump or an imitator — Biden has reason for optimism. 

No president can draw a 55 percent approval rating today because tribalism does not acknowledge the accomplishments of opponents. The wearisome years of financial upheavals, pandemic, and deliberate inflation means few voters will look behind the headlines to recognize any economic success story. Negative takes on the economy now cannot indicate how voters will behave in 19 months. If a debt crisis wrecks the economy, voters will know whom to blame. 

Crime is no worse than per capita norms dating to the 17th century. Ask any Native Americans about that issue. Only ethnicity has shifted. Some of us think every mass shooting is a crime that needs attention somewhere in the societal chain, which is different than opposing gun ownership. 

For voters under age 40— urban and rural— voting rights, abortion rights, gun safety, and climate change — have broad appeal. Younger voters grew up in the era of school lockdowns and encountered tyrannical interference with their most personal life choices. This attitude by God-fearing evangelicals is wrong, especially in contrast to a desire to deregulate everything except individual rights. If you don't like something, don't do it, whether eating sour pickles or protesting against abortion. Today's young adults, for the most part, reject the racism and homophobia of past generations, resist book bans and censored history instruction, and consider climate change an existential threat. 

These issues have spurred high youth turnout in recent elections, especially where races are legitimately competitive. No one argues that "rigged" voting caused the MAGA candidate in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race to lose by 11 percentage points. Are Democrats smart enough to focus "early and intensely" on these voters? I hope so, but I am 50:50 on the possibility. The stakes ahead are high, and unlike antiquarians, younger voters look beyond their next social security check

By: Kenneth Tiven