Now that 2020 is over, it is a good time to examine the political losers and winners of 2020.
I will ignore n the obvious winner President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and the biggest loser President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida). Instead, I will concentrate on some lesser figures whose gains can point to the future directions of American politics.
Winner #1 Barack Hussein Obama
Former President Barack Hussein Obama (D-Illinois) had the most curious political winner of 2020. In fact, Obama took the greatest political risk of 2020 and succeeded.
Obama relinquished his role of aloof and disinterested ex-President and elder statesman, by intervening in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. To explain, Obama used his influence to convince other candidates to drop out and support Biden.
The gamble paid off when Biden trounced U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) on Super Tuesday 2020. However, a Biden loss could have destroyed Obama’s reputation.
Obama is now the most influential man in the Democratic Party and a kingmaker. However, Obama has made himself a target.
Loser #1 Barack Hussein Obama
By intervening on Biden’s side, Obama has made himself a target of the Left. Many leftists blame Obama for the defeat of their idol, Bernie.
Obama’s reputation is taking a hit. Many leftists routinely criticize the ex-President and his administration. Even some black leftists are attacking Obama, something that was unthinkable two or three years ago.
On the left, Obama is no longer seen as a visionary ex-President. Instead, many leftists now view Obama as a corporate sell-out and a kleptocratic centrist.
Obama has sacrificed his reputation for power. Only history will tell if Obama’s power will last. However, I predict the leftists who feel Obama stabbed Bernie in the back will have their revenge. If they do not get their revenge not on Barack, then the leftists will get revenge on Michelle or one of the Obama daughters.
I think Obama will have a tough time maintaining his repatriation and power.
Biggest Loser Mitch McConnell
In 2020, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) went from political and strategic genius and dark lord of the Senate to a complete failure.
In fact, I think McConnell experienced the greatest career collapse of a Congressional leader since U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas (D-Illinois) in the 1850s. Essentially, McConnell’s career and reputation fell apart in a few short months.
In October 2020, McConnell was the most powerful Republican in Congress; and the leader of a coalition that had shaped American politics, for a decade. In January 2021, McConnell was a has been.
By January 2021, Republican Senators were fighting like cats and dogs and ignoring McConnell’s leadership. Republicans lost their U.S. Senate majority and the White House and the reputation of the Grand Old Party )GOP) was in tatters. To add to the catastrophe, major donors were distancing themselves from the Grand Old Party in the wake of the 6 January 2021 Capitol Riot.
The Republican coalition of cultural conservatives, big business, and libertarians McConnell worked so hard to build is dead. I think McConnell’s career and reputation as a strategic and political genius are also dead.
My prediction is McConnell, 78, will retire soon. I think McConnell will leave because he does not want to preside over the collapse of the Republican Party. A probable development is that McConnell will suffer a “health crisis” that forces him to retire. However, observers will note that the supposedly ill McConnell looks healthy.
I predict McConnell’s last act will be to preside over the successful impeachment of Ex-President Donald J. Trump (R-Florida). Once the Trump threat is over, McConnell will leave.
When he goes, McConnell will leave a fragmented Senate GOP with no leader and no heir apparent behind him. McConnell’s legacy like that of U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas (D-Illinois) will be one of chaos.
Even more so than Trump, McConnell was an agent of chaos who viewed the role of the Republican Party was one of mischief making and disruption. McConnell, like Douglas, is now reaping what he sowed.
My final prediction it will take a political genius on the order of Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Texas) to revive and restore the Congressional Republican Party. Without such a figure, the Republicans have no future in Congress. Only future history will tell if the Republican collapse provides an opening for a third party.
Political winner #2 Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang (D-New York) was the surprise breakout candidate of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Yang lost, but he outpolled many well-known political figures including Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York).
Yang is now a major political figure because his signature policy; direct cash income support payments to ordinary Americans, is now a key issue in U.S. politics. The centerpiece of Yang’s campaign was the Freedom Dividend; a $1,000 a month basic income.
In the wake of coronavirus, similar cash payments are the dominant issue in American political discourse. For instance, Democrats turned President Donald J. Trump’s (R-Florida) demand for a $2,000 cash stimulus into the only issue in the 2021 US Senate special elections in Georgia. The Democrats won.
Many politicians including Trump, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) now champion cash payments. Moreover, I do not think the political establishment can kill the cash issue.
Voters want cash and will demand it, and politicians will listen to them. Some strategists have already seized on cash as a political issue. For example, a new political action committee, the No Excuses PAC is attacking U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) for opposing a $2,000 stimulus payment.
Cash is now a major issue in American politics because of Yang. Thus Yang is now a major political figure and a potential kingmaker.
Yang is now campaigning for mayor of New York City. I think the mayoral run is a mistake for Yang. I believe the failures of former mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Rudy Giuliani in presidential politics proves the New York Mayoralty is a dead end in national politics.
Instead, I believe a 2024 presidential run is a smarter move for Yang, even if the Democratic establishment hates it. My prediction, another candidate (perhaps Hawley) will adopt Yang’s Freedom Dividend and ride it to electoral success in 2024.
I think Biden; or his successor, will be vulnerable in 2024 because Democrats are doing nothing for ordinary people. Yang has the inside track to beat establishment Democrats if he wants to take it.
Thus, the political winners and losers of 2020 are not who you think they are.