I would very much not have to live in interesting times, particularly in an era of around-the-clock politics, where people who simply want to live a normal life wind up having to pay constant attention to the doings of the governing class as a matter of pure self-defense; this is all rather like living in a neighborhood where burglars run rampant, and you can’t sit at your dinner table or watch television without having to keep an ear cocked for the sound of breaking glass in the kitchen, or the sudden squeak coming from the stairs in the dead of night.
And yet if we are to remain free, the price does indeed seem to be eternal vigilance, so I ask the question that appears in the heading: what happens next?
The GOP has scored a famous victory, but if it is ever again to be a viable political party that gets things done (or stops bad things from happening), instead of merely serving as a bucket of cold water that voters occasionally pour over the heads of their Democrat overlords for the purpose of getting their attention, then the Republican Party is going to have to genuinely stand for something, and that “something” can’t be limited to the wish lists of the Chamber of Commerce and wealthy donors (Amnesty! Cheap labor!), or claims of vague, inadequately-defined differentiation from Democratic political candidates – the former is a mercenary betrayal of the base by party pashas interested only in hanging on to their jobs, and the latter is little more than political tribalism (and let’s face it: in any kind of tribal confrontation, Republicans are more likely to be led by a version of F Troop’s Wild Eagle than by a Geronimo or Cochise).
The GOP should focus on first principles: smaller, less intrusive, less costly government; a strong military, and the non-profligate but decisive use of same to confront international threats to the U.S. and its allies; the use of the public purse to restrain an imperial presidency; and the repeal, or effective gutting, of ruinous and unpopular legislation, notably ObamaCare (and at this stage, I don’t care if they repeal the damned thing, or pass a new law entitled the Super-Plus-Awesome-Barack-H-Obama-Memorial-Affordable-Care Act which pretty much converts the program into the equivalent of a gaudy necktie that you throw in a drawer and never look at again).
More impressive to me than the taking of the U.S. Senate is the many gains at the state level across the country – not only because restoring sanity is a project more effectively built from the ground up than from the top down, but also because it deepens the Republican bench in future national political contests. This is molecular change, and it offers the best promise for rejuvenating the party long term.