Above is a video that pretty much encapsulates the current state of the Democratic Party and American progressivism more broadly. In it, Al Franken takes apart Ted Cruz’s Jeff Sessions–related dissembling piece by piece during a Judiciary Committee meeting about the Alabama senator’s attorney general nomination, making clear in precise detail that Cruz’s defense of Sessions’ civil rights record was at best disingenuous and at worst a characteristically Cruz-ian tapestry of cynical lies. (The gist is that Sessions’ claims to have personally litigated several civil rights cases were undermined by a witness whose credibility Cruz then attacked in two subtly bogus ways.)
I may be biased from having worked (in a minor capacity) as research assistant on Franken’s 2003 book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, but I think it’s objectively an effective performance on the Minnesota senator’s part, both in its particulars and in its larger point that Sessions has been disturbingly evasive while discussing civil rights and voter fraud during his confirmation process. Here’s the thing, though: None of Franken’s inspired performance—nor really any other Democratic performance that might occur over the next two years—will have an effect on actual government policy, because it was already a foregone conclusion that the committee would recommend Sessions for confirmation on a party-line vote, which is what happened shortly afterward. He’s also expected to be confirmed by the full Senate.
By my calculations, 2018 is approximately 100 years away.