THE SINGLE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO AMERICA? SURE. TO LIBERALISM? NAHHH.
Greg Sargent has written a post titled "The Democrats' Nightmare Scenario"; he says that nightmare scenario is the elimination of the filibuster in the Senate next year if the GOP regains control of that chamber and also wins the White House. I agree that that would probably happen, and that it would be awful.
But Jamelle Bouie can imagine something worse:
...as bad as this would be for liberal priorities, it’s not the worst thing that would happen as a result of a Republican presidency in 2013. For that we can look to the economy, which barring something catastrophic will improve. As a result of their association with the recovery, Republicans will ride on a wave of gratitude as the party that "saved" America from the worst recession since the Great Depression. The GOP will emerge as the dominant party for another decade or two, and that, more than any rule change, is a nightmare for the long-term success of the liberal project.
But that's not what's going to happen if we get a President Romney and a Republican Congress.
Oh, sure, that may be what happens in the short term: a recovery, as a continuation of current trends. But I agree with Jonathan Chait's theory that Republicans see themselves as an old, white party that's rapidly losing its voter base, which means the party will be desperate to ram its agenda through before we know what hit us -- as I've said before, I think the first few months of the Romney presidency are going to look a lot like the first few months of the Walker governorship, at the urging of the same right-wing billionaires who set the agenda for Wisconsin and other newly Republican states. Alternately, perhaps Republicans don't really think their agenda is doomed to increasing unpopularity. But I think they think we'll adjust to it only gradually -- they seem to believe Americans need to be weaned off the notion that a safety net should exist, but they also seem to think that once we taste this wonderful new laissez-faire freedom, we'll love it and become Randians too.
But whatever they think, I believe they're going to slash taxes even more (especially on the wealthy) and try to eviscerate the social safety net (but probably not get as much of that accomplished as they'd like). They're also going to deregulate like crazy.
That last bit -- the deregulation -- absolutely guarantees that we're going to have another horrible financial crash sooner rather than later. And the rest means that the poor and middle class will get poorer, the rich will get richer, and deficits and debt will continue to soar.
Oh, and we'll probably go to a new full-scale war with some brown people soon, because that's what Republicans do. That costs money, too, even when Republicans pretend it doesn't.
How is that a foundation for the GOP to "emerge as the dominant party for another decade or two"? I don't see it. I think it's a foundation for the destruction of America as we know it -- but hey, cheer up: it won't give Republicans long-term popularity.