Already, Republicans have declared war on President Hillary Clinton---and we haven't even had the election yet.
If Republicans are to be taken at their word (and they should), after the election---if Clinton wins and if Republicans retain control of Congress---it's going to be the same old infuriating GOP obstructionism and Washington gridlock we've suffered for years.
Already Sen. John McCain vows no Supreme Court nominations put forward by a President Hillary Clinton will get a confirmation hearing. Already GOP operatives plan to block Clinton's agenda by targeting Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018. Already Congressional Republicans vow to investigate a President Hillary Clinton on everything from her State Department emails to Clinton Foundation activities to who-knows-what?
And---amazingly---impeachment is already threatened by some Republicans (also here, here, and here). As a Washington Post editorial headline puts it, "Republicans are already plotting the next war against Hillary Clinton."
All this war-mongering occurred before the latest news of Clinton's emails, triggered by FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress upon discovering another cache.
Republicans are brandishing this news as their campaign's closing argument. Says their nominee Donald Trump, "This changes everything." Wrong: Comey's letter states only that "the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant" or if it contains classified information. GOP Cong. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the powerful House Oversight Committee, declares of this latest email news, "Case reopened." Wrong: Comey's letter "supplements" the FBI investigation, it doesn't "reopen" it. For releasing his cryptic letter so close to Election Day, Comey is taking fierce heat for defying Department of Justice guidelines about refraining from influencing elections. GOP Cong. John Cornyn is to be commended for questioning Comey's action, tweeting, "Why is FBI doing this just 11 days before the election?"
Back to the election: What's instructive here---and what the voter should consider---is the Republicans' characterization of Hillary Clinton as the enemy. Speaking of Clinton, Cong. Chaffetz reflects Republican intent and the investigations to come:
"It's a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we've got two
years' worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good."
Dear Voter: Is this what you want, really? Best way to obstruct continued GOP obstructionism, ugliness, and war---best way to deliver a New Day in America---is this: Take away the Republicans' power by taking away their majority. Give Hillary Clinton and the Democrats a massive mandate. How massive? The Senate can easily return to Democratic control and, if turnout is historic, the House could, too.
Were Democrats to achieve the electoral trifecta---White House, Senate, House---governance is possible again. With the Senate back in Democratic hands, in charge of the confirmation process, the Supreme Court's vacant seat could finally be filled (with a liberal). If both houses of Congress were Democrat-held, Clinton's $275 billion infrastructure repair plan---a massive jobs program---could be launched.
Of course, given our extreme polarization, also the frenzy over the new Clinton email discovery, a landslide is not likely, nothing like Lyndon Johnson's historic victory in 1964 when he won 61% of the popular vote over arch-conservative Barry Goldwater. But, with strong Democratic turnout, a strong mandate can be achieved.
Another reason for a strong Democratic mandate: In this chaotic campaign when we've seen the Republican party implode, with its nomination captured by a man more autocratic than democratic, it is not at all clear what kind of lessons the GOP will draw post-election. If the election is close, the lessons will be few, as the GOP becomes consumed in a power struggle. But the further the Republicans are flung into the political wilderness, the more opportunity for learning. The delivery system for that therapeutic stay in the wilderness? A massive Democratic mandate.
A massive Democratic mandate would also weaken Trumpism, a proto-fascist phenomenon likely to survive the nominee. A massive defeat for Trump would show that xenophobia and misogyny are not winning strategies. Importantly, a massive Democratic mandate would redeem America in the eyes of the world, which is confounded by the likes of Trump as a presidential nominee.
Finally, a message to Bernie Sanders supporters: The bigger the mandate Hillary receives, the better she can pursue the progressive agenda she agreed to with Sen. Sanders---an agenda for the 99%---with which, please note, she has kept faith.
So, Voters, if you are considering voting for a third party, or if you're still undecided, or if you're even considering not voting at all, being underwhelmed by both nominees, consider this: You're not only voting for the person, you're voting for the mandate, the sine qua non for governance. For America's sake, make it a massive mandate for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.
Carla Seaquist's latest book is titled "Can America Save Itself from Decline?: Politics, Culture, Morality." An earlier book is titled "Manufacturing Hope: Post-9/11 Notes on Politics, Culture, Torture, and the American Character." Also a playwright, she published "Two Plays of Life and Death" and is at work on a play titled "Prodigal."