Take the Floor

I had already noted that some sort of deadlock or dysfunction would manifest in the American political process sometime between the midterm election of November 2022 and the general elections of November 2024, without specifying how and when the deadlock or dysfunction would exactly manifest because no one should be in the business of playing God, even though foresight and intuition are important tools and instruments in the way of producing an analysis and suggestion that deadlock, along with dysfunction, were highly likely. As the American baseball player Yogi Berra famously said: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

And if this deadlock in Congress were to somehow persist indefinitely and if some sort of compromise is not reached between the various factions in the Republican caucus, this deadlock could bring the entire American global imperial machinery to a halt by the end of the year. Undoubtedly, this small faction of House Republicans has demonstrated that it wields outsized and unforeseen powers by first of all bringing the functions and operations of Congress to a halt, which secondly and in turn has the potential to bring the functions and operations of the entire U.S. government and its global machinery to a halt by the end of the year.

Ego and personality, one should mention, are also very important factors when assessing and explaining this current deadlock in Congress. As one of my graduate professors told me while I was a student at American University, he learned as a result of his experiences as an intern in Congress when he himself was a student that the folks in Congress are “assholes” and in turn the people in Congress are some of the worst people to deal with. In recent years, certain members of Congress were even attempting to bring guns and knives into Congressional chambers and were hurling racist and sexist comments at one another. One should not forget that the epicenter of the January 6 catastrophe was none other than Congress. Arguably, all of the ill feelings and sentiments derived from Congress’s recent past have carried over into today’s deadlock between the various members of Congress. 

In turn, Congress’s approval rating amongst the American public rarely exceeds the ten to twenty percent range. Aside from the reasons just mentioned when it comes to explaining the widespread dislike and distaste that people have towards Congress, it has also been argued that many people “find more distasteful the core attributes of lawmaking: controversy, messiness, and compromise.” It has been noted that: “Although this same messiness is found in the other branches of government, it is more visible and continuous in Congress.” Hence, there is a general distaste or dislike for the very institution of Congress amongst the American public, which then manifests within Congress itself and between the various members of Congress. 

In addition to the deadlock and divisions between and within members of Congress is the divide between Congress and the President. In a sense, Congress has assumed the de facto role of “obstructor-in-chief” and its core mission has long been to obstruct and undermine either the President’s popular mandate when a president is popularly elected, or to oversee and obstruct the President’s exploitation and use of what is now largely an “imperial presidency.” This divide between Congress and the President becomes even more strenuous when Congress and the President belong to opposing parties. In sum: “Congress and the president are institutions shaped by diverging imperatives.” One continuously seeks to constrain, control, and take power away from the other. In turn, a large part of the deadlock in Congress today can also be explained by the conflict and the “balance of power” that is inherent in the relationship between Congress and the president, in addition to the economic, social, and even global factors and issues which we have discussed before. 

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