Everything old is new again.
There seems to be a glaring mismatch between the two sides and their Senate leaders. Unless they play by the same rules, however, we may be headed for a situation that bears some resemblance to the one that caused the Nationalist uprising in Spain in July 1936. As the leading historian of that cataclysm Stanley Payne shows, by the summer of 1936, the leftists running the government had abandoned any semblance of fair play and could scarcely be described as constitutionally minded. Much of the Spanish Left energetically supported three coups against the Spanish Republic, did nothing to stop assassinations and bombings carried out by anarchists and radical socialists, and after February 1936 jailed their opposition. Although the uprising against the Left did not lead to the restoration of constitutional government in Spain, it may have been warranted, given the extent to which order had broken down. Although I doubt we can muster a Right as large and determined as the one that existed in Spain in 1936 or that we’re on the verge of the long, bloody civil war of the kind that lasted there until 1939, our ideological divisions seem every bit as profound.
In any case, the mismatch that now exists between our revolutionary Left and their mostly tepid, confrontation-shy opposition cannot go on indefinitely. Those playing defense must learn to battle back or else retreat into historical irrelevance. Just about all Senate Democrats voted twice to remove Trump from office, supported a congressional bill that would have legalized abortion up until birth everywhere, and endorsed the federalization of elections without safeguards. They also openly flout Supreme Court decisions, whether on abortion or the carrying of concealed weapons, if these decisions don’t advance their interests.
Democrats sat smiling as the summer of violence their leaders financed raged on two years ago. And they are not exactly broken up that their partisans are now threatening the homes and lives of uncooperative Supreme Court justices. Not a single Democratic Senator broke rank to vote for any Trump pick for the Supreme Court; nor can I recall Democrats who voted to confirm any Trump cabinet appointee. Where exactly do we find evidence of Democratic bipartisanship?
At the very least Republicans should stop speaking about restoring a relationship that no longer exists. It should stop imagining that a return to bipartisanship will occur if their side “cooperates.” The late, esteemed Angelo Codevilla issued this warning to the Democrats in September 2021:
The Democratic Party’s practical error, with regard to vaccination as with regard to the way it ended the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, is the hubris by which it has forgotten that when you make war on anyone, they may well make war on you.
We are still waiting for Codevilla’s prediction to come true, which means for a Republican opposition to push back with vigor.
Oh, it’s gonna have to mean a whole hell of a lot more than just that, if we truly expect to ever see real, meaningful change.