Amid the furor and pother over the fate of the Republican Party now said to hinge on the outcome of two Senate run-off races in Georgia, the strongest case against the GOP comes from a predictable source: the GOP. No one is encouraging voters to end the party more than its own lawmakers.
On the evening of December 2, led by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), the GOP quietly convened, avoiding public hearings, and gave their unanimous consent agreement for an amended version of S. 386, the “Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.”
“Under the bill, those on a long-term temporary visa who can secure a job offer requiring a college degree will, after a wait of 270 days, be able to obtain a three-year renewable work permit and permission to travel in and out of the country,” explains Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.
“It will be a status comparable to permanent residency with a green card, but without having to wait in line or be restricted by annual immigration limits,” she adds. “It will potentially apply to hundreds of thousands of people each year, including foreign students, exchange visitors, NAFTA workers, investors, and more.”
“Senator Lee’s bill would create the biggest train wreck to our legal immigration system,” Kevin Lynn, executive director US Tech Workers, told American Greatness. “Not only that, but it would generate an even greater traffic of cheaper labor coming from abroad with the promise of permanent EAD work permits and eventual green cards for nationals from just one or two countries.”
On Friday, the Economic Policy Institute reported that job growth slowed dramatically in November and that trouble looms on the horizon for millions of workers and their families due to expiring unemployment benefits at the end of the month. In the background are rising deaths of despair. More Americans than ever, for a variety of reasons including economic anxiety, are drowning themselves in alcohol, overdosing, and outright killing themselves. The GOP, however, would have you applaud the record-breaking stock market.
Not a single Republican—not “common good” Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or “populist” Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)—spoke out against a bill that would undermine the job security and wages of Americans but offers yet another handout to the corporate world. For all its talk of patriotism and principles, the GOP has none that aren’t for sale.
Journalist John Binder reported last year that Lee pulled in $33,000 from Microsoft, $18,400 from Google, $12,500 from Jeff Bezos’ Amazon, $12,000 from Oracle, $11,000 from Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, and roughly $11,000 from the Koch-owned Koch Agronomic Services. Those same groups lobbied Republican and Democratic Senators to pass Lee’s S. 386. It was kind of Lee and the Republicans to offer a helping hand to the likes of Bezos, who had a $13 billion payday in July this year, the largest one-day jump for an individual since the Bloomberg Billionaires Index was established in 2012.
It’s true that the Democratic Party is beholden to special interest groups as much as the GOP. But Democrats at least understand how to wield power effectively, so they promote policies like debt relief and stimulus. Republicans, on the other hand, talk about the need to limit government power, lecture their constituents on fiscal responsibility and the virtues of bootstrapping, and then turn around and bring to bear all the powers of government to fulfill the wildest dreams of their donors.
In October, Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) shot down talk of a stimulus package that was popular with more than 70 percent of Americans, including most Republicans, and especially lower-income Republican voters. McConnell thought a bill that size was out of the question. He changed his tune this month, however. Senate Republicans have introduced a government-wide, $1.4 trillion spending package, with $696 billion for defense.
Stimulus for the generous defense lobby is never out of the question.
The GOP effectively conditions their constituents to vote against their interests. They frame cuts to social welfare programs as good and necessary to take us off the road to serfdom. But the GOP’s anti-labor, pro-corporate policies actually fuel the need for the very social safety net they denigrate. They put Americans out of work by importing foreign labor, for example, then cry “for shame” as Americans turn to the “socialism” of social programs for assistance. Indeed, the Republican Party frames the Democrats as the party of socialism, and yet the GOP is the proud vehicle of government subsidies for corporations in the form of cheap labor—socialism for the rich.
Virtually every argument for empowering the Republican Party, in Georgia and elsewhere, has been and continues to be undermined by the party itself.
In late November, Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) met with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) to discuss amnesty legislation. It therefore cannot be said that a vote for the GOP is a vote against amnesty.
Republicans responded to months of rioting with police reform, criminal justice reform, and portraying Democrats as racists for having supported tough on crime policies like the 1994 crime bill. At the time it was passed, that bill, journalist Allen Smith writes, had the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, Republicans, and substantial numbers of African American pastors and mayors.
By the end of summer, the GOP had effectively vilified the law and order issue while pledging a half-trillion in reparations called the “Platinum Plan.” Democrats simply call it reparations; the GOP calls it “capital infusion.”
Most recently, Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), one of two Republicans in the Senate run-off races, announced Thursday her “Prosperity Plan.” It is the Platinum Plan in miniature.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns combined with violent protests stunted these historic gains, disproportionately hurting African American, Hispanic and minority families, workers, small businesses and institutions,” Loeffler said in a statement. Millions of white Americans, poor and middling, will be surprised to hear that lockdowns and looting haven’t affected them at all.
The sad truth is that the GOP does not deserve its constituents, its canvassers, and least of all its good-hearted champions because it does not deserve to win and frankly does not want to win.
Senator David Perdue, the other Republican in a run-off in Georgia, said as much recently. If Republicans retain their Senate majority, Perdue said in a conference call with Loeffler, “Mitch McConnell could indeed negotiate with Biden in a way we haven’t seen in, you know, two or three administrations.” Perdue laments the time lost under the Trump Administration where so little got done.
The irony, of course, is that not only did Trump endorse Perdue and Loffler, but that the president delivered on policy former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and McConnell had dreamed of for a lifetime, to the detriment of his original populist platform. Trump did not change the GOP; the GOP changed Trump.
And yet Republicans want more and they aren’t afraid to enrage their constituents in the process. Why? Because the end of a Republican’s political life merely means the beginning of a new life as a political consultant, as a chair at a think tank or on the board of a defense contractor. This party is born to lose.
“Some rise by sin,” wrote Shakespeare, “and some by virtue fall.” The problem with the Republican Party is it functions on this principle: only the bad and the incompetent rise. For that reason, the party offers the illusion of opposition and so represents the biggest obstacle toward a better future for Americans. Perhaps it’s time it all falls down.