Since the right wing takeover of the Republican party in 1994, this radicalized party’s history is one littered with failure. The Congressional Republicans lurch from one phony, self created “crisis” to another. Since 1995, the Congressional Republicans have shutdown the government three times and have threatened to shut it down more times than we can count. In 2011, the House Republicans badly damaged the economy with an unprecedented threat to default on money loaned to the United States.
The only GOP Presidency since 1994 has been that of George W. Bush. On his watch, the national debt soared, the country became embroiled in two failed wars and the economy collapsed in 2008. The GOP controlled the Congress for the first six years of the Bush Presidency and gave Bush everything he wanted. The results were disastrous for the country and the world. By the time Bush left office, the economy was losing 800,000 jobs per month and Bill Clinton’s hard earned $5 trillion surplus had been transformed into an annual deficit of $1.3 trillion.
The Republicans would like you to forget about the Bush Presidency. Since President Obama has taken office, the GOP has cried foul anytime a Democrat points out Bush’s failed record. Moreover, it’s hard to find a Republican who will admit that they ever supported and voted for Bush. The few Republicans who admitted that they voted for Bush, do it grudgingly and deny they ever enthusiastically supported the forty third President of the U.S. This is false since Bush enjoyed a 90% approval rating from Republicans between 2000 and 2005.
This effort by the Republican to bully Democrats into silence about Bush’s legacy caused our party to come out with a very tepid message during the 2010 mid-term elections. Prominent Democrats talked about how the GOP drove the car into the ditch and labeled them: “bad drivers.” The reality is that Bush and the Republicans destroyed the world economy. This should be pointed out again and again.
Bush’s record of utter failure is still relevant because the Republicans would bring back his failed policies of deficit financed tax cuts for the wealthy, the deregulation of big business and the deployment of a large U.S. ground army in Iraq. The current GOP platform is Bush on steroids. I will give Clinton and Kaine credit for pointing this out. In their stump speeches and in the debates, both members of the Democratic ticket have pointed out that Trump would bring back the policies that wrecked the economy during the Bush Presidency. This message has been largely overshadowed by the sheer awfulness of the Orange Hued Mogul.
The GOP would also like voters to forget about the destructive and ridiculous government shutdown of 2013. On the eve of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Ted Cruz convinced the House Republicans to shutdown the government in a last ditch effort to derail the ACA. Cruz knew that the ACA would be successful and be impossible to repeal once millions of formerly uninsured Americans began to obtain health insurance. This shutdown ended up costing the economy $24 billion and 120,000 jobs.
Every current Nebraska Republican member of the Congress supported the 2013 shutdown. (Candidate Sasse supported it and opposed legislation to re-open the government.) However, the Democrats dropped this issue in the 2014 election cycle and allowed the voters to forget about it. I believe that Brad Ashford and I were the only Democrats who emphasized this issue during the 2014 cycle. This is a relevant issue because the Republicans in Congress are likely to shutdown the government again if they continue to maintain control of one or both Houses.
Every Republican who has supported a government shutdown (that would be just about all of them) should be required to answer this question: You have been a supporter of shutting down the government. Under what circumstances, would you support shutting down the government if elected or reelected? Moreover, every Republican running for Congress should be asked to take Brad Ashford’s pledge to never shutdown the government. For the record, Don Bacon hasn’t taken this pledge and has reserved the option to vote for a government shutdown.
The Republicans will be counting on mass voter amnesia for Trump to win on November 8. The reality show TV star is the worst major party nominee in the history of the country. In just the recent past, a tape was released where Trump bragged about using his celebrity status to sexually assault women. Since the release of that tape, 12 women (and counting) have made credible allegations that they were sexually assaulted by the GOP nominee.
In addition to being a serial sexual predator, Trump sounds simply unhinged on the campaign trail. In a campaign speech last week, Trump called for the imprisonment of Clinton and her lawyers; said that ISIS would take over the country if Clinton won; called for the former Secretary of State to take a drug test; said a Clinton Presidency would destroy the country and that Paul Ryan was part of a “sinister conspiracy” to defeat him. In another speech, Trump doubled down on the crazy by alleging that: “Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors. So true.”
The only way Trump can win is if millions of voters forget about his awful and unstable behavior on November 8. As Democrats, we must continue to remind the voters again and again that Trump is a horrible human being who shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office. I’m confident that we will drive that message home and win a big victory on November 8. Yet we can take nothing for granted. The encouraging polls mean nothing if we don’t go out and vote on election day.
Our job will not be done on November 8. We must do everything we can to help Hillary Clinton be a successful President. The struggle never ends. We must remain engaged and vigilant. I can promise you that Republican activists never take a day off.
A big part of helping Hillary Clinton is to remind voters that Ricketts, Fischer, Fortenberry, Smith and Stothert supported Donald Trump in 2016. These Republicans are counting on voter amnesia in upcoming election cycles when they are on the ballot. They will make excuses and falsely claim that they never really supported Trump. We can’t let them get away with it. When it was time to take a principled stand in 2016, these Republicans were cowards and backed a candidate who was totally unsuited for the Presidency. Their support of Trump will forever be a moral stain on our record. We can never let the voters forget it!