Does obstructionism pay? & other thoughts

President Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy left by the late Antonin Scalia today, validating nearly a year of steadfast refusal by Senate Republicans to entertain President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland.

While strident obstruction may make bad policy, it seems that it makes excellent politics. Aside from losing the 2012 presidential election, Republicans have steadily gained at the state and national levels since commiting to obstructing Obama’s agenda during his first term. The GOP successfully thwarted efforts at immigration reform, gun control, and more, and forced Obama down on issues like raising the highest marginal tax rate and any fix to the ACA.

Now Democrats find themselves in a similar position to the GOP’s predicament in 2009. Cooperate or obstruct? Their reaction (and Americans’ views on it) will decide their fate for the next 4 years and beyond.

Adding to more notes on literature, I read Underground Airlines earlier this month. It’s an alternative history thriller, set in 2016 in a America that never fought the Civil War and abolished slavery, and 4 states still permit bondage in the present day: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and a united Carolina. President Truman induced Georgia to abolish slavery in the 1940s with lucrative wartime contracts, and abolitionists organizedo a successful takeover of state government in Texas to abolish a decade prior. The U.S. in this world is largely a pariah state, with limited international trade and a much-reduced role on the world stage. Instead of fighting a war in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, the U.S. fought a stalemate with separatists in Texas.

It’s a very entertaining novel that follows a freedman now working as a slave catcher. I wont dwell too much into the plot, but alternative history novels always fascinate me. They paint a portrait of a world near ours, a shadowy reflection. It’s a genre with a lot of possibilities.

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