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Weekend Conversation – Looking Ahead to 2021

In this installment of Weekend Conversation, PF Whalen and Parker Beauregard of The Blue State Conservative look forward to 2021 as we head down the homestretch of what has been a chaotic 2020, as we consider our hopes and expectations for the new year.

PF: Considering we’re in the middle of the holiday season, it would be nice to speculate what political reconciliation might look like bearing in mind Joe Biden’s occasional rhetoric on “unity,” but such a discussion would just be fantasy. Going back to a time of respect and dignity, when government leaders viewed those of other parties as rivals, not as enemies, would be ideal, but that’s not going to happen. What is possible, however, is moderation.

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For Republicans, we should expect to see at least some reunification next year. Once Biden is inaugurated and President Trump leaves office, I think we’ll see some – or perhaps even many – of the never-Trumpers come back to the fold. It would be a boost to the conservative movement to see folks like George Will and Bill Kristol realign with the GOP. The Democrats have lurched so far to the left, and the mainstream media has become so corrupt, opposing the Republican Party merely for the hatred of Donald Trump just doesn’t make sense. I don’t think it will be an immediate, full embrace, but gradually I expect many on the Right will coalesce around an anti-Left agenda.

With Democrats, the situation is much more volatile, and it will be fascinating to watch. Biden may have won the presidency, but the rest of the party got clobbered on Election Day and we can see their uneasiness. Nancy Pelosi barely held on to power in the House, and the Senate looks likely to remain in control of Republicans. Many have been predicting a battle between centrists and the radical left of the party. If such a reckoning would take place, it’s likely we’d see the current fissure turn into actual separation, and that’s what’s needed. It would be good for the country. Having two reasonable parties with distinguishable ideologies is much preferable to the current situation, where one is radical to the extreme.

Parker: I don’t much believe in prognostication, but the tea leaves are unusually ripe for reading. I have a sense that is as a strong as it is hopeful: Both parties will face a reckoning of purpose and identity under the Biden administration. I foresee each working in conservatives’ favor.

We have similar views (dare I say hopes?) of what lay ahead for the two major parties. Prominent pro-Trump voices like Ted Cruz in the Senate and Dan Crenshaw in the House (among many others) can continue the party’s courtship of homeless voting blocs who have been deserted by Democrats. This is to say nothing of a still-vocal Donald Trump, who should continue to ruffle leftist feathers from his Twitter feed while encouraging the disaffected conservative base. Working class folks no longer see their interests represented by the left, which hold competing ideologies of standing for the least wealthy and most wealthy subgroups within society. And, regular Americans of all identities (black, white, male, female, gay, straight) are also beginning to wake up to the overtly racist and hateful rhetoric tied up in Critical Race Theory that focuses on some of the least important traits of a human being. 

I see the Democrats coping with the opposite effect. 80 million Americans allegedly voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this fall. Of those, what percent voted against President Trump, as opposed to for the Biden/Harris ticket? I would guess quite a bit. Joe Biden wants the nation to unify, but he won’t even be able to quell uprisings within his own party, let alone the whole country.

The only thing the media and Democrats had in common the last four years was their anti-Trump messaging. With him out of the picture, it will be tougher to maintain camaraderie. Even if Georgia still loses both Senate seats to the Democrats, does someone like Joe Manchin from West Virginia have more in common with a Raphael Warnock than his across-the-aisle colleagues? If he’s being honest, Senator Manchin and other blue dog Democrats were left behind. Traditional liberal values fall square within the new Republican Party.

I hope that the implosion is spectacular. We got a taste of it with that leaked Zoom call among Congressional House Democrats, who in the aftermath of the sputtering Blue Wave, pointed fingers at everyone but themselves. AOC thinks her comrades aren’t far enough left, and mostly everyone else thinks that saying “socialism” is akin to whispering Voldemort’s name. Again, do some Democrats begin voting against their party and standing up for American values? I have to believe there are still decent liberals out there.

PF:  There’s absolutely opportunity for the GOP politically next year, and without getting ahead of ourselves, there are plenty of reasons for optimism for 2022 and 2024, and you mention a few of them. Unfortunately, the political winds will likely determine in which direction our new president will go on most issues. The hope would be for the new administration to base policies on what’s best for the country, but expectations should be for Biden to simply do what’s politically expedient.

Biden will try to enact radical leftist policies where possible, because if he doesn’t the radical Left will freak out. I expect him to push a hard left agenda on immigration, education, financial regulations, and environmental initiatives among others. Fortunately, President Trump has reconfigured the make-up of key courts within the judicial branch, so there’s hope that rulings from those courts will limit the damage Biden does. 

I’ve been optimistic about the Georgia Senate election on January 5th, and the more I see of the candidates, the more confident I am the Republicans will come away with victories. Assuming that’s the case, Biden will be limited on what he can get done through the legislature. I think we should expect Mitch McConnell to be relatively reasonable with shepherding the approval of Cabinet nominations, but after that we will see extensive obstructionism, and that’s a good thing. With Trump, McConnell and the Senate Judiciary Committee had the pedal- to-the-medal on approving judicial nominations, appointing record numbers to the bench. 

With Biden, we should see the exact opposite. McConnell will downshift and pump the brakes for the foreseeable future. And the other radical nonsense that had been floated (i.e. abolishing the filibuster, adding states to the union) will get nowhere.

The most substantial impact Biden’s policies could have will be internationally. If Biden were smart, he would build on the successes of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy. Since it’s almost the New Year, I’ll be nice and simply put it this way… but Biden’s not smart. I think the best we can hope for is that the damage done to our foreign policy by Biden is minimized by an active senate pursuing critical checks-and-balances.

Parker: More than anything else (as it relates to political theater), I am looking forward to nightly fireworks from Donald Trump. Despite leaving office, he could and should remain the de facto head of the Republican Party for the next four years, for a few reasons. First off, Barack Obama violated the tradition of former presidents staying outside of the political commentary upon leaving office. With that in mind, Trump needs to rough people up, whether that’s on social media or the long-awaited Trump News Network. Second, it becomes even more incumbent on him to stay involved in the cultural narrative since he is not spineless like most Republican politicians, and if he chooses to run again in 2024, it only heightens his ability to remain the immediate frontrunner. Third, too many Americans are tired of business as usual, and absolutely do not want to unify with Biden. They want and need someone who loves America and what she stands for.

A tangential curiosity will be the former president’s treatment on social media. Will he be shadow banned or outright censored? The tweets alone should be fantastic – until he is blocked or prevented from speaking. A vocal minority of leftist tools will celebrate it as banning hate speech, but I wonder how censorship will go over with the middle American population. Will they view it as a necessary step, or will they finally be repulsed at overreach? The logical question all Americans should ask themselves at that point is: If someone powerful like Trump can be censored, what’s stopping a nobody like me from being silenced? It’s a legitimate question to ask and a driving fear for red-pilled conservatives. Scary stuff!

When the president is locked down (over/under 6.5 days after Biden’s inauguration?), it will be a call to arms for alternative media sources and constitutionalists around the country. I am still not sold on Parler. I like the idea, but I don’t love the platform. But will other conservative social media sites arise to replace Twitter, Facebook, etc.? One thing that conservatives need to do better is respond with their wallets. How many Americans hated that the NFL kowtowed to the terrorist group Black Lives Matter but still cheered for the very same players who despise the white patriarchy? How many Americans hate what they see Jack or Mark doing but still scroll through feeds every day? It is amazing that the only sacrifice we need to make is shut off our screens, and most people still can’t do that. I easily extend my disappointment of Americans who voted for Biden to those who are considered deplorable but tolerate it through their response.

PF: First things first… I’ll take the under. 

What happens with the legacy and social media outlets over the next few years will have a big impact on our political landscape, but it will have an even bigger effect on our culture. The best thing to happen in 2020 – and there weren’t many bright spots – may turn out to be the unveiling of the media. They had been effectively hiding their bias for years, but this year they pulled back the curtain. The aforementioned good showing by Republicans tells me that Americans recognized the charade, and I think a lot of folks are ready to move on to new sources of information.

With that re-sourcing, I think our culture could shift dramatically over the next few years, and that change could begin as early as next year. The radical left won’t change, but there are plenty of traditional liberals and left-leaning moderates that might; particularly once the outlandish leftist policies we’ve seen begin to yield results. The suburban soccer mom who couldn’t stand President Trump is going to rethink her positions when violent crime begins to skyrocket in the Democrat-run city nearby. The union carpenter who’s voted Democrat for decades because his shop steward suggests it isn’t going to play along with being labeled a racist just because he flies the American flag from his front porch. 

We’re already seeing pushback on leftist culture, and people aren’t going to put up with it. Things will come to a head soon. There are going to be verdicts rendered next year on some of the so-called racist police brutality cases, and they’re likely not to go well for the Left. Likewise, the more they try to explain the inexplicable on their transgender positions, the more people are going to reject it. Their narrative is one big house of cards, and even members of the intersectional identity groups they target are dismissing them as we saw with the election demographics. You heard it here first: our culture is going to move back towards the center.

Parker: It is easy to get wrapped up in the Chicken Little tailspin; namely, that a Biden and Harris administration will irrevocably destroy America. We saw under Obama that executive actions could implement disastrous policies and employ vast amounts of sycophantic bureaucrats, but I hold out hope for an American people that won’t so easily bend to tyranny. In the case of Obama, it took eight long years but the nation responded with a fighter like Trump. I see that happening again in 2024. This isn’t to say that the cultural shifts you are referring to will happen peacefully and seamlessly. 

Still, people like you and me, who only started blogging when the pandemic and race riots compelled us to take some sort of action, are two of tens of millions with a different prospective future than the one being offered by the incoming team of identity-focused zealots. Our additional support will come from middle Americans who will be physically, verbally, or in some other capacity, “mugged” by the left. For every attack or cancellation, they create one more ally in our cause. 

Either way, there are two competing and incompatible visions for the future of America. Not only are the institutions at stake, the very notion of our core values and ideals – indeed the American identity – is at stake. A few things worked against Trump this past election cycle: He was demonized for four hellishly long years and he was ascribed blame for the global pandemic. Despite adding over 10 million new votes to his 2016 totals, I believe that number could easily have doubled if not for the brainwashing that took place. Forget the totality of the Biden/Harris administration – in just this next year alone I expect millions of Americans to finally acknowledge and accept that they have been hoodwinked by the left. And, we need to welcome every defector. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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