The latest polls predict that the Republicans will maintain a lead in the House and may obtain a filibuster proof majority in the Senate in the 2012 election. With the White House, the Republicans could cause sweeping reforms through Romney’s plan or what is sure to be a new Gingrich “Contract with America”. It will amount to a complete victory of the Republican strategy that has played out since the election of the 112th Congress.
The American people know that Republicans have been stalling. We do not think they put the interests of Middle America first. However, we also intuitively know that a continuation of this political stalemate will not improve our lot and that the Democrats seem impotent to stop it. At some point, staying put by the wreckage on the mountain becomes deadlier than attempting to climb down the icy path to safety. America is ready to risk a change in 2012.
If no major policy changes are introduced by either party, the Republicans will win. As a result, America will get regulation “reforms”, budget cuts in discretionary spending and entitlements, lower taxes and tax holidays on international profits, and more “free trade”. We will likely experience an initial downturn in GDP and higher unemployment, a furthering divide between the wealthy and poor, lesser services, and increased austerity, followed by gradual job growth and recovery as longer term Republican measures begin to affect the U.S. economy.
The outlook is not bright but America will endure the pain because we fear the status quo more than change. We hope the pain endured as a result of a vote for Republicans will be followed by the possibility of gain. Republicans know this and have no interest in any compromises that will change their strategy unless cornered by opposition political spin. This provides a perplexing and difficult strategy ahead for the Democratic Party.
To win in 2012, the Democrats have only three choices. Their first is the continued dangerous path of one upsmanship to see who can make the other look like a worse cretin in the eyes of the American public to eke out a slim majority. The second is to co-opt the Occupy Wall Street movement in an early 2012 grass roots political campaign that emphasizes the 99 percent. This strategy relies on a hoped for uprising that will result in what the Democrat elites might consider as an unruly Tea-Party-like caucus for the progressive leadership to attempt to corral within the Democratic Party after the elections.
The third path is to ignite the fifty million workers that were marginalized by the 2008 crisis through a bold turn-around strategy. A viable plan initiated early in 2012 including a direct jobs program, a housing debt to equity program that keeps people in their homes, and a rapid recovery of business and personal credit through credit amnesty, will engender the voters to the Democratic Party whether or not it is enacted by the 112th Congress. A bold plan that co-opts the Republican Party philosophy by offsetting its cost with elimination of long term unemployment compensation and by creating jobs within the private, domestic sector, will not only embolden the electorate but will create vote yielding indignation if the Republican Party refuses to participate.
2012 will be an election year unlike any since the Great Depression. Either the Republicans will win through attrition of America’s will, or one bold party will present a viable, rapid, 15 million direct jobs plan to cause the independents and the other party’s faithful to shift their votes in droves. 2012 can be won and residual victories over the next two to four years should be expected for the party that moves first. The lamb and the lion will lay down together in the party that welcomes them with jobs in 2012.