Americans are already voting in the midterm elections. Next week, after another ugly election cycle, we’ll achieve some level of clarity on the political direction of the United States for the next two years.
But a different party in power won’t suddenly bring about progress on those issues that confront us today and that will confront us again next week. Clarity should not be confused with change.
While the Democratic Party appears poised to take control of the House of Representatives, its ascendance will lead only to myriad investigations, policy proposals far outside what most Americans are looking for or comfortable with, and -- if prospective-Speaker Nancy Pelosi cannot keep control of her caucus -- impeachment proceedings against President Trump.
None of those things will solve the problems that Americans face on a daily basis. None of them will address persistent issues such as reforming and securing Social Security and Medicare or admitting that our national debt and deficit may soon have real-world consequences for real-world people.
The Democrats, like the Republicans before them, now favor providing their activists short-term dopamine rushes over actual governance. These actions will stretch far beyond Capitol Hill, reaching out into the hustings as some 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls take their arguments to primary voters across the country – running roughshod over one another to both implicate and imitate the man already in the Oval Office.
As they introduce themselves to America, the would-be Democratic nominees will provide little more than a mirror image of their nemesis. Not different, simply reversed.
If President Trump and his Republican followers provide any sort of change, it will only be to further push out the edges of what is politically acceptable and agreeable. The president, despite months’ worth of tragedies and incidents in which he’s had the opportunity to show himself able to grow into the job, cannot and will not do so. We should stop hoping for it.
Republicans more broadly will double-down on their actions and language to protect their president. They’re “all in” on the chief executive and, as he launches his own re-election effort, those who were on the fence about Trump will fall in line. The voices of loyal Republican opposition, such as they are, will drift into retirement and cable news deals.
Still likely to control the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will quash Democrats’ attempt to pass legislation and will ensure that, short of incontrovertible evidence of the president’s personal wrongdoing, will also ensure that any impeachment articles are dead on arrival in the upper chamber.
The apparatchiks of both parties will be fine either way. They don’t care what happens so long as they have something to hold on to; their personal beliefs, always flexible, will remain fluid even in these turbulent times.
For these reasons, and so many more, real change will not come from within the Beltway. It never has.
The next 24 months are monumentally important for the country, for our politics, and for our communities.
New political parties, energized reform efforts, and a groundswell of the long-silent majority are on the move. Many are already organizing – like so much cosmic political dust – into movements that will truly challenge the two-party monopoly and our increasingly unstable status quo.
These American activists are concerned not with the petty squabbling of those focused only on their own power but are communicating with Americans one on one about how they can and should demand better – and how they can make it happen.
On the day after Election Day, the work begins again in earnest. The forces of those who put personal power and vanity first are on notice. The millions of Americans who inherently know that what we see today is not what our country should be, are shaking the scales from their eyes.
Next Tuesday, get out and vote. Vote for what you believe in. On Wednesday morning, wake up and be ready to get back to work.
Editor's Note: This commentary originally published on Real Clear Politics, and has been republished by request and with permission from the author.