John McCain Reveals the Way Primary-Centric Gov’t Could Work
On Monday, John McCain told reporters that the current fight for immigration reform might have to wait until next summer, after the House primaries. In yet another signal that the Tea Party and primary system have made it impossible to govern, this says a lot more about the way bills may have to be passed for the foreseeable future than it does about the current push for immigration reform.
Lost in the constant deadlock between the Democrats and Republicans in the House is the deadlock between Republicans and Republicans. Since the rise of the Tea Party and the conservative movement, any Republican willing to compromise on any of the party’s key issues (i.e. no immigration reform, no Obamacare, no abortions, no gay marriage, no taxes) has been held under threat of a well-funded primary challenger. The way that congressional districts are drawn up, Republicans and Democrats are essentially guaranteed to keep their seat which means the only people who could threaten their status quo are members of their own party.
This current push for immigration reform has all of the support it needs on both sides of the aisle but moderate Republicans are terrified of voting in favor of a bill perceived as “Obamnesty” and losing their seat to a conservative that runs solely on a anti-immigration platform.
On Monday, John McCain said “There are a number of members of Congress who have primaries and when those primaries are done, they may be more inclined to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform.” That means the Republicans are aiming for that small sliver of time between late-summer and Christmas vacation to vote for any potentially dangerous legislation.
In the past, the post-election congress was called the “lame duck congress.” During the time between the elections and the next Congress, representatives seldom do anything because many of them have lost their seats or are waiting for the Democrat-Republican vote count in the House to change. In a complete reversal of the norm, the modern lame duck session may be the country’s best bet at passing any legislation, after the elections are over and the representatives can dismiss the will of their constituents for another two years.