The Elephant in the Room

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From a recent op ed published by The Progressive Media Project:

In the aftermath of one of the worst midterm election defeats in memory, Democrats need to regain their standing by fulfilling President Obama’s original vision and reasserting a progressive agenda. The election, which saw the Republican Party sweep the Senate, as well as gaining more than a dozen seats in the House, was widely seen as a repudiation of Obama’s presidency.
Americans, center-right pundits say, were unhappy with the economy, the Affordable Care Act, the president’s perceived sluggishness in confronting the Islamic State terrorist group and his response to the Ebola epidemic. Even many Democratic candidates, fearful of the president’s unpopular approval rating, preferred him not to campaign with them.

But in fact just last week a government report estimated the nation’s gross domestic product at a strong 3.5 percent annual rate and a Commonwealth Fund study released this summer showed that three-fourths of Obamacare enrollees were satisfied with their new coverage. Republican fear-mongers conveniently omit the fact that it was their party’s catastrophic decision to invade Iraq in 2003 that set the stage for the formation of the Islamic State, and the World Bank has called the Ebola crisis an international failure.
The New York Times has a partial explanation for the Republican triumph: the party’s supposed success in choosing moderate candidates. Yet candidates like Iowa’s Joni Ernst, who supports the anti-abortion “personhood amendment” and endorses the John Birch Society’s anti-U.N. conspiracy theories, and Tom Cotton, who said terrorists are collaborating with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate Arkansas, both won Senate seats.
The new majority in the Senate and the increased majority in the House will no doubt embolden Republicans to expand their obstructionist agenda over the next two years, the same one that has caused the gridlock that most voters can’t stand.
The president should not be cowed by dubious threats of impeachment. Instead, he should act now to begin the process of immigration reform. And party leaders nationwide should lead the fight to raise minimum wages in state after state, as well as promote action on climate change.
The nation should not be held hostage by the fear-inspired, racially charged rhetoric used by Republicans to regain control of the Congress. And rather than capitulate again and engage in ineffective efforts to reach across the aisle, Democrats should dig deep down and re-emerge, brandishing an even more progressive sword.

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