Memo to Democrats: Bipartisanship Is Not A Suicide Pact

First, some statements of fact. These are not partisan, ideological observations. These are things that simply happened.

The Republican president enacted a policy to slow down the mail ahead of an election where millions would be voting by mail because of a global pandemic. The Republican president and his party attacked the idea of voting by mail. The Republican president and his party tried to throw out the results of the election that he lost and tried to subvert the democratic process by having him declared the winner, even though he lost in multiple states.

The Republican president promoted a strategy that would have had his vice president falsely declare him the winner of the election. Supporters of the Republican president, at his urging, marched on the U.S. Capitol. Those supporters then illegally entered the Capitol with the intent of overturning the election, in the process indicating they hoped to do harm to the previously noted vice president, the Speaker of the House, and elected officials of the Democratic Party.

The same Republican Party then, after the attack on the Capitol, still tried to deny the official certification of the election they lost. Then they said that the attack was not a big deal and the two congressional leaders of the Republican Party – Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy – said they would not support a congressional investigation into the attack on the Capitol.

Seeing all of that playing out for weeks, Democrats have continued to insist that they hope for a “bipartisan” agreement on investigating the events of January 6.

This mindset is pathological.

Republicans are not interested in bipartisanship. They are interested in conservative rule of America, from the state level up to the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the federal government. They believe the path to this goal is continued marginalization of the Democratic Party, often by enacting statutes and policies with no other point but to limit Democratic votes and power.

It is removed from reality to look at that entire tableau and conclude that there is something that can be salvaged, something that can be worked with, something to “meet halfway” with.

It is prey looking for “common ground” with its natural predator.

It is also politically inept. Voters don’t actually care about bipartisanship. They care about results.

Regular voters are not political junkies, attuned to the ins and outs of the legislative process, tuning in to CNN and MSNBC for the hot political intrigue, reading the New York Times and Washington Post and Associated Press to find out what sexy amendments and hot motions to recommit are underway.

People care about results that affect their everyday lives and they don’t care what party or affiliated political ideology provides it for them. They don’t care if a Republican president goes against the conservative grain and sends them a farm subsidy check. They don’t care if a Democratic president bucks the notion that his party is affiliated with nonviolence and kills a terrorist threatening them.

And they certainly don’t care about the partisan composition of legislation or investigative commissions.

If a committee of all Democrats gets to the bottom of the intelligence and executive lapses in an attack on the country’s highest legislative body, they don’t care if it’s a sea of blue – or red.

And a bipartisan committee will not insulate the committee’s findings from partisan attacks. We’ve had such committees in the past, like the Senate committee that investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election. Despite Republican senators signing off, the results were still attacked by Republicans, including the Republican president.

It just doesn’t matter.

Democrats are perhaps responding to the mainstream media fetish for bipartisanship or the way the world seemed to operate when they were first elected to Congress. But it doesn’t matter.

That isn’t the world. That isn’t how it operates.

The Republican Party is an anti-democratic institution. It cares about acquiring raw power for itself by any means necessary, including the mass disenfranchisement of Democratic voters at all levels. By no means is it something you can work with to attain an ideologically neutral goal.

Continuing to cling to that delusion is destructive and counterproductive. It makes no sense and it should stop immediately.

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