January 19, 2023

Thinking about 2024

The Congressional hearings on the failed insurrection at the Capitol two years ago wrapped up with a very professional set of television presentations by individual committee members, each highlighting a specific aspect of the event. Riveting reality TV, ending with a written report recommending prosecution of the participants and, above all, the Inciter-in-Chief. Now it is up to the Justice Department to do its duty and present indictments of all the perpetrators.

But as William Faulkner so accurately wrote: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." He was writing about the aftermath of the Civil War, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, but his words have resonance today. Just when everyone thought that things could not get crazier...they did. Instead of fruitlessly trying to re-litigate the results of 2020, the Republican House of Representatives Class of 2022 staged their version of a third-rate carnival freak show, featuring a 15-round vote for the Speaker's gavel. A new face joined the familiar cast of fantasists (Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, et al) — George Santos, a newcomer from Queens and Nassau County, New York, whose résumé seems to have been fabricated from whole cloth. Even the Republican leadership in his district has called for his resignation, although most of their counterparts on Capitol Hill and the GOP Washington leadership have remained silent.

All of this pseudo-reality theater is entertaining, along the lines of the old saying: "If your opponents are digging themselves into a hole, don't stop them from digging." However, beyond the vaudeville, serious issues are looming on the horizon. Not least of these is the US federal debt ceiling, due to show up around the middle of this year. Based on previous performances by the Loony Toons wing of the GOP, we may be looking at another exercise in cliffhanger performance art, endangering Social Security, payments for military and civilian federal employees, and the full faith and credit of the US government in global financial markets.

All of this may seem an abstraction for individual Democrats abroad. However, there is an important lesson to be re-learned from last November: We need to engage aggressively in every one of the 435 House district campaigns and every Senate race in 2024, as well as the obvious urgency of the upcoming Presidential election. Early post-election analysis of the 2022 Congressional fight suggests that if we had pushed harder in some districts that were believed to be out of reach, things might have been turned around — we might even have retained control of the House. Every vote counts, and Democrats Abroad can play a significant role in turning out those votes.

The Democratic Party made significant progress on behalf of all Americans during 2021 and 2022. Now is the time to build on those achievements in infrastructure, the environment, technology, and abortion rights.

Bottom line: Don't let the lunatics take over any part of the asylum, as they attempt to undo the results of these past two years.


Daniel Solon, member, DA Barcelona