Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
This past year has been unfairly hard on Democrats.
Elections have consequences, and it seems winning in 2020 meant a good deal more than sending Donald Trump out to pasture in furthest Florida.
Winning in 2020 meant getting stuck on clean-up duty, KP- come what may with COVID19. And what came was far from an orderly retreat of the novel coronavirus and a full return to life as usual.
The challenges of COVID19 alone continued well into Joe Biden’s presidency, as we all know only too well. Variants, endless debates over masking, school closures, mandates; all juxtaposed against a steady march of deaths from covid, hospitalizations from covid, and covid cases.
A recent move by the administration to change the way hospitals report COVID19 may provide some much-needed good news.
Biden officials trying to recalculate U.S. Covid-19 hospitalizations
"You need a panel of experts to review the cases to adjudicate if a hospitalization is for a person who came in for…
Everyone checking into a hospital for any reason over the past two years has been tested for COVID19. Considering how many people are asymptomatic, this testing choke point may have resulted in an elevated count of covid hospitalizations.
Someone being treated after a car accident, for instance, who happened to test positive for COVID19, has been classified as a COVID19 hospitalization thus far during the pandemic.
Falling numbers of COVID19 hospitalizations should provide some good news to voters fatigued by the pandemic and indeed indoor mask mandates have already been ended in Colorado and New Jersey.
Because in addition to the COVID19 deaths and hospitalizations, there have been and continue to be other challenges as well.
Shut-downs, production slow-downs, sick-outs, staffing shortages; all these have impacted everything from supply lines to the cost of fuel and raw materials.
Add record-setting inflation, sharply rising crime, increasing rates of drug addiction, overdose deaths and suicide in some demographics and the result is perhaps the worst time in history to be the ruling political party, on whose shoulders the burden of all these woes must rest.
This midterm season, Democrats have all the usual challenges of defending their majority, with control of the Oval Office; usually a recipe for the ruling party losing ground.
This year, they also have all the myriad problems caused or worsened by COVID19. How the party will weather this once-in-a-lifetime perfect storm will be very interesting.
As Speaker of the House, elder-stateswoman Nancy Pelosi has the second hardest job in Washington, after President Joe Biden.
Pelosi has her hands well and truly full this campaign season. Besides dealing with 29 Democratic house retirements (thus far) and grappling with the fallout from disastrous progressive pushes like “Defund the Police”, the House Speaker has other headaches as well.
Progressives in the Democratic Party have been mounting primary challenges and making inroads against more moderate Democratic incumbents since the triumph of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018.
Cortez defeated a member of Democratic Party leadership royalty during the primary of that year.
In the years since, the same group which sponsored AOC to fame and fortune has propelled other progressives into Congress.
Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush to name only two.
Primary challenges are generally frowned upon, especially in a tough election year. However, after the recent defection of Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema from passing Build Back Better, progressives may not be feeling overly cooperative.
Worse for incumbent moderates, progressives have remarkable fundraising power. A group like the Justice Democrats, pumping millions of dollars into a progressive challenger’s primary campaign can certainly mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Congressional Stock Trading
Even the LA Times, hardly a right-wing outfit, is calling for an end to stock trading by members of congress.
Editorial: No more stock trading for members of Congress
As a frightening new virus began spreading around the world in early 2020, a few lawmakers made some very well-timed…
True to form, the publication included three Republicans first and foremost. Each conservative lawmaker mentioned made significant profits in the stock market after well-timed trades- unloading hotel stock, investing in telework technology- possibly after a congressional briefing on COVID19.
But the LA Times can’t help but note later, if much later, that plenty of Democrats have also benefited greatly from stocks traded. Not by themselves, of course; but by their spouses. While these in no way compare to Republicans, still; the success of Nancy Pelosi’s husband in the stock market has spawned social media followings and youtube channels no Republican can boast.
Pelosi herself recently defended the right of lawmakers to trade stocks and take advantage of the U.S. free market economy. In spite of her defense, the bipartisan outcry to limit such activities to blind trusts is becoming overwhelming.
There aren’t too many subjects on which both parties overwhelmingly agree these days. Increasingly, and somewhat awkwardly for Pelosi, congressional stock trading appears to be one.
Given all these challenges, no House Speaker has ever faced a more daunting gauntlet heading into a midterm election. But if there is any lawmaker on Capitol Hill who can navigate these headwinds, it’s Nancy Pelosi.
Can the House Speaker somehow deliver a victory for Democrats in November?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)