Did we actually dodge a bullet in 2016?

This piece makes a surprisingly persuasive argument that we did!

Given that Republicans retained control of the House and Senate in 2016, president Hillary Clinton’s legislative agenda would have gone nowhere, while her court picks would have been blockaded by McConnell’s minions. […]

And since midterms favor the opposition party even when the governing one isn’t dispirited, Republicans almost certainly would have grown their House majority in 2018, while ousting far more of the vulnerable Democratic senators who were on the ballot that year (e.g., Jon Tester and Joe Manchin) than they did with Trump in office. These congressional gains would have made it nearly impossible for Democrats to secure unified control of the federal government for a decade.[…]

It is all but certain that Clinton’s administration would have handled the COVID-19 pandemic better than Trump’s, but it’s far from clear that it would have averted a major crisis entirely. After all, only a tiny minority of Western governments pulled that off, and many of the flaws in the U.S. response aren’t attributable to Trump per se (if red America resisted federal guidance on masks and social distancing with one of its own in the White House, imagine the scale of its defiance with “Crooked Hillary” at the helm). Assuming America did enter a pandemic-induced recession, there’s no way an overwhelmingly Republican Congress would have supplied a sitting Democratic president with as much fiscal aid as the present Congress has given Trump. Clinton was already an unusually unpopular major-party nominee in 2016. If she had to seek another four years while presiding over a broken economy, the GOP would have likely enjoyed a “red wave” election in 2020. Such a landslide would not only have put the party in position to enact a sweeping agenda at the federal level in 2021, but also to draw the coming decade’s House and state legislative maps in most states.

Scary thought!

I don’t think dodging one bullet matters much if one takes ten others.

I wouldn’t call it “dodging a bullet,” but I have always thought that if she had been elected, it would have been four more years of McConnell standing with his arms folded saying “NO!” over and over and over…

And chances are the 2020 victor would have been whatever Republican ran (not trump, who would be busy taking up space on his own cable channel).

Even so, nothing could have been as bad as what we have now. <shrug>

Yeah, and having the courts packed with Trump and McConnell judges that more likely than not will stop many progressive moves for generations, means that even more bullets are coming even if we vote the rascals out now.

Yeah, two words “Justice Kavanaugh”. Pretty much while dodging one bullet we took a RPG to the chest.

It’s also false that a tiny minority of Western governments headed off the COVID disaster – they all handled so much better than we did, we’d probably have saved 100k lives.

Without a unified government? Most of those countries have parliamentary systems that are not divided like ours usually is.


Not as of August 2020, for certain. But by five years from now, with differently drawn legislative districts and so on? I’m not so sure.

Assuming that was directed at me, yes. This wasn’t about congress doing something, it was about leadership from the top, and executive action. You wouldn’t have had FEMA outbidding the states on personal protective equipment. You’d have a leader who encourages mask wearing, not snake oil.

On the economic front, though, you may be right – I could totally see the Republicans undermining a Democratic president like they did with Obama. These giant disaster relief packages were only possible because the Republicans wanted to help Trump and the Democrats are competent and won’t throw people out of work to undermine their opponent.

Hillary would have been absolutely raked over the coals by Republicans for allowing 20,000 Covid deaths.

I totally agree! But, I’d rather have 20,000 dead Americans than 153,000 and counting. It would be worth the ridiculous accusations.

Obama was raked over the coals for, what, 5 Ebola deaths?

Obama was raked over the coals for wearing a tan suit. Can you imagine how many supposed sartorical faux pas Hillary would have been accused of?

The argument seems to be that if conservatives hadn’t gotten an opportunity to screw up the country under Trump, they would have had an opportunity to screw up the country under Clinton. I guess I agree with that theory.

But I don’t think things would be quite as bad as they are now. Sure, we would have had the normal level of conservative corruption, crime, dishonesty, hostility, and incompetence. But we wouldn’t have had the extra layer of it all that Trump threw on top. And I feel Clinton would have been able to mitigate some of the usual Republican mess.

I will admit we’re experiencing something of a benefit out of conservatives running around unchecked; they’ve disgraced themselves to the point they’re probably going to experience a set back. But I figure it will be temporary; they’ll circle the wagons after this year and begin building a new edifice of lies. Starting with declaring that Trump was never really one of them.

For Democrats, seeing Trump getting elected in 2016 was like a vaccine; it may hurt in the short term but will have a big payoff in the long run.

40 years of electoral dominance ahead was/is worth the payoff, to the D’s, of 4 years of temporary Trump-ache.

Agree, I think that’s a given.

But the next 4 - 8 years? One can imagine that the R’s would have worked very hard to destroy the economy to get rid of Clinton. And as has been mentioned, they would have been the party of “HELL NO”. The 2020 election would have been a landslide for whatever muppet the GOP put on the ticket. Plus probably the Senate and House. For 8 years. Can you imagine what destruction they could have done from 2020 - 2028?

At least now we can imagine better times ahead.

As someone who has voted almost exclusively for the Democratic party for her entire voting life - No.
100,000 (and counting) American lives is not worth winning a few elections. It’s insulting to imply that someone (especially an entire party) thinks it would be.

Why? Do you feel the Republicans have learned anything? Are they any better now then they were four years ago?

All those bad things the Republicans would have done under Clinton for the last four years? They’re going to do them under Biden for the next four years. Plus they’ll blame Biden for all of the terrible things they’ve done in the last four years.

Yes, but you’d still have red state governors refusing to take precautions. If they balk (and they might do it even more when it’s Hillary asking them to shut down), federal measures become much less potent. I think the death toll would still be over 100K at this point.

Exactly. Everyone responding that things would be better right now if Hillary were president is correct but missing the point about the medium term.

No, because unlike in 2017, in 2021 they probably won’t have control of the Senate and almost definitely won’t have the House.

Nonsense. Over a hundred thousand Americans died because the President went on the air and told them they should refuse to follow basic medical precautions. No other President besides Donald Trump, Republican or Democrat, would have done that.

You think if Hillary had gone on the air and told Americans to follow precautions, red America would have followed her orders? Pshhhh.

Yes, they would have. They’re sheep. They’re not refusing to wear masks because they thought it was a bad idea. They don’t have thoughts on their own. They’re refusing to wear masks because Trump told them not to wear masks.

If Trump wasn’t President, nobody would have been telling them not to wear masks. So the idea never would have occurred to them. They would have just followed orders like they’re doing now, with the only change being they would have been following intelligent orders instead of stupid orders.