Tenuous contact with reason

The list of “deserves more attention, shouldn’t get lost, etc.” things is always too long any more. If I were to propose one more item, it would be the alarming reports of delayed ballot delivery in multiple swing states. Or at at any rate, reports which seem like they should be setting off alarms, though so far they seem not to be.

Meanwhile, I’m struggling to maintain some distinction between what makes sense and what doesn’t, something which feels like it’s getting more needed and more difficult in the final stages of this quadrennial mass insanity we call a presidential election.

I don’t mean bullshit, in this case; that’s overwhelming as always, but selfish Republican senators like Susan Collins and John Cornyn e.g. are just lying and that’s terrible but also a constant.

On the other hand, I presume that Senator Chris Murphy meant well when he suggested that “because a statewide election in Texas is so expensive, the marginal value of every dollar donated is higher.” But I believe that is completely backward. Slightly less trivial, perhaps, Democrats as well as small-business advocates are now charging Republicans with doing harm by focusing on a Supreme Court appointment at the expense of relief legislation. That’s much the same argument that Republicans made in 2019—that Democrats were doing harm by focusing on impeachment instead of other “real” issues—and both instances seem dumb.

As Democrats protested at the time, they could “walk and chew gum at the same time.” Impeachment proceedings didn’t hold up solutions for other problems; Republicans’ total refusal to accept Democratic participation in national governance was the holdup. That, and indeed Republicans’ descent into a sabotage party which doesn’t really govern at all even when Democrats are a non-factor, is usually the holdup as it is in the case of further relief legislation. Republican senators just don’t want to deliver more relief or stimulus right now.

Those same Republican senators’ evil haste to break their word and jam another partisan operative onto the Supreme Court is not preventing further relief legislation. It’s still an abomination, but for other reasons.

The temptation to nest these multiple, more challenging stories into a single narrative about a simplistic tradeoff—Republicans are doing X and aren’t doing Y and correlation is causation—is understandable. Especially after Trump explicitly promoted the idea of such a tradeoff first. But Trump promotes a lot of concepts which are entirely invalid and this is one of them.

At this point, of course, one might respond with “oh, no, Someone Is Wrong On The Internet, watch me look shocked.”

This response would be fair, but these also seem like examples of the real problem in our society of concepts and beliefs badly mismatched with reality.

As one example of a larger mismatch, it seems like U.S. House elections are probably soaking up more resources than their importance warrants. At this point, the U.S. House of Representatives is practically a vestigial organ. You do need a majority, and probably some margin to spare, to pass new laws. But Republicans no longer care about passing new federal laws, really. They want to prevent any possibility of Democrats doing so, sure, but that possibility is pretty remote (I will believe in Senate Democrats able and ready to pass major reforms in the face of all the incentives to do nothing when I see it happen). Of Republicans’ various options for blocking new legislation, a House majority is the least likely. As for House Democrats, they have a majority now and are overwhelmingly likely to keep it. There’s some potential value in expanding it, sure, but said value is less than the presidential election, Senate elections, state supreme court elections, state legislative elections…

America’s biggest misconception, as I have mentioned many times, is a default assumption that the Republican Party is a vital organ when it has become a malignant tumor.

Hard to fix this or any problem if you’re completely misidentifying it.

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