We have seen in this week’s deep exploration of the GOP right wing’s strategies – taking advantage of resentments among the former culturally dominant but now dwindling white working class, finding weaknesses in the US’s antiquated system to reverse electoral outcomes at the state and federal level – that only an informed and active pro-democracy movement can protect our future elections by making executive, legislative, behavioral and other changes at every level.
Analyst Sean Dobson, who is board chair of Progressive Maryland, outlines the surprisingly broad agenda – both difficult and energizing – that progressives and their pro-democracy allies must tackle NOW to ward off a right-wing takeover of government that, if not fought early, could be very difficult to reverse and result in a permanently authoritarian nation.
Pro-democracy forces "need to truly and massively deliver to the working class – white, black, and brown -- in a way that tangibly hoists median living standards. The obvious need to jump-start the economy, fight climate change, and invest in (green) infrastructure offers historic opportunity to do so – but only if Democrats finally act on their professed principles and ignore their big campaign donors."
You can read the earlier installments of this week-long analysis at
https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover, https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover_ii and https://www.progressivemaryland.org/the_once_and_future_takeover_iii_plugging_gaps_in_our_institutions
/By Sean Dobson<>PM BlogSpace Analysis/ Not only as an end in itself, but also in the hopes of tamping down the evolving fascist tendencies of white, working-class folk addled by Trumpism, Democratic lawmakers need to abandon the neoliberalism of the Clinton and Obama years in favor of the economic populism of FDR and LBJ. No more deregulation, no more free trade, no more “entitlement reform”, no more bank bailouts, no more cynical gestures that fail to attack the roots of income and wealth inequality. This time, Democrats need to truly and massively deliver to the working class – white, black, and brown -- in a way that tangibly hoists median living standards. The obvious need to jump-start the economy, fight climate change, and invest in (green) infrastructure offers historic opportunity to do so – but only if Democrats finally act on their professed principles and ignore their big campaign donors.
To decrease the odds that courts strike down these and other new, pro-democracy measures, Congress should create and fill a new seat on the Supreme Court to compensate for the Republican theft of Merrick Garland’s seat in 2016. 16
And sitting Justice Stephen Breyer should retire immediately so Democrats can fill that seat with a younger liberal Justice before a 2022 midterm election which might deliver the Senate into Republican hands.
Of tangential helpfulness would be corporate campaigns to pressure large organizations – e.g., companies, professional sports leagues, the NCAA, -- to cease doing business with or in states that pass voter suppression laws. It would probably not hurt the malefactors much economically, but it would generate media coverage and keep the issue in the spotlight.
Finally, freedom-loving Americans must defend democracy in our personal lives. Considering 100% Republican loyalty to Trump until yesterday and 90% going forward(12), we must assume that any person registered as a Republican as of 2021 aims to subvert American democracy, no matter what they might say to the contrary. We need to disempower and ghettoize them to sap their ability to do so. Don’t worry about “alienating” them because they already and implacably hate you, me, and democracy. They started this fight and in any event there is no point in trying to appease aspiring tyrants. Instead, we should refuse to hire them as employees, contractors, and suppliers, fire them if their true identity comes to light, refuse to patronize their businesses or advertise on their platforms, and isolate them socially even if it creates awkward situations for friends and family -- or precisely for that reason, because it is time for everybody to decide where he or she stands.
Mussolini and Hitler led minoritarian movements. They came to power only because people who knew better normalized them, which lowered everybody’s defenses and opened the gates to the barbarians. Today, we find ourselves in a war to the knife with even more potent enemies of democracy because, alas, they are fellow Americans. We all have a patriotic duty to ensure this Fifth Column is never normalized, but instead identified, disempowered and ghettoized not just politically but also economically and socially so they can not undermine the Constitution of the United States. For freedom-loving Americans, it is also a matter of self-respect: if somebody is trying to impose a dictatorship on you, you need to find the courage to openly and vigorously oppose him – or else admit your own cowardice. 17
If you think this sounds too harsh, if you think we should forgive Republicans and forget their continuing loyalty to Trump and Trumpism, ask yourself a simple question: if Trump’s coup had succeeded, how would average Republicans have behaved thereafter? Would they have joined us to topple the dictator by any means necessary? Or would they have accepted the coup and rallied to Trump? Of course, the huge majority would have chosen the latter option. They are a menace to the Constitution and must be disempowered. Cancel culture? Yup. We can uncancel them only when the GOP plays fair and square through two consecutive election cycles (a scenario I severely doubt will ever happen).
In all these ways, freedom-loving Americans need to prepare right now for the salient possibility of a strong GOP coup attempt in 2024 and/or 2028. Americans have pulverized threats to democracy before: monarchical autocracy in World War I, fascism in World War II, communism in the Cold War, Jim Crow in the 1960s. This time should be no different. But it will require daily, arduous, political, economic, and social hand-to-hand combat for 10-20 years to wrestle the GOP down to permanent minority status, which will hopefully persuade its more intelligent and ambitious adherents to give up the delusion of “white nationalism” and finally accept America’s multi-racial democracy.
1 "Republicans want to make voting harder. They’ll use the fraud crisis they cooked up to do it", Editorial, The Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2021, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-want-to-make-votingharder-theyll-use-the-fraud-crisis-they-cooked-up-to-do-it/2021/01/03/cdd6409c-4baa-11eb-a9f4- 0e668b9772ba_story.html
2 Robert Barnes, "Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin’s deadline for counting mail-in ballots", The Washington Post, October 26, 2020, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-courtwisconsin-mail-ballots/2020/10/26/70fa459e-12fc-11eb-ad6f-36c93e6e94fb_story.html ; Barnes, "Democrats in Pennsylvania, North Carolina claim key wins at Supreme Court ahead of election", The Washington Post, October 28, 2020, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-pennsylvania-mailballots/2020/10/28/fe78439a-1936-11eb-82db-60b15c874105_story.html ; Barnes, "One theory by one justice binds together Supreme Court’s contradictory election opinions"; The Washington Post, October 30, 2020, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/john-roberts-supreme-court-electionrulings/2020/10/29/6525004c-1a40-11eb-aeec-b93bcc29a01b_story.html ; Richard L. Hasen, "Trump’s Legal Farce Is Having Tragic Results", Opinion Editorial, The New York Times, November 23, 2020, at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/23/opinion/trump-election-courts.html
3 "Even in Defeat, Trump Tightens Grip on State G.O.P. Lawmakers", Trip Gabriel, The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2020, at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/09/us/politics/trump-pennsylvania-electoral-college.html 18
4 Christopher Ingraham, "New research explores authoritarian mind-set of Trump’s core supporters", The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2020, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/10/12/trump-voter-authoritarianresearch/
5 Sabrina Tavernise, "What’s Next for Trump Voters Who Believe the Election Was Stolen?", Jan. 7, 2021, The New York Times, at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/14/us/trump-voters-stolen-election.html
6 Michael Scherer, "‘War for the soul’: Capitol riot elevates GOP power struggle between pro-Trump conspiracy theorists and party establishment", The Washington Post, Jan. 11, 2021, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-riot-republicans-trump-conspiracytheories/2021/01/11/f50e2ce6-5376-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html
7 Tommy Beer, "Majority Of Republicans Believe The QAnon Conspiracy Theory Is Partly Or Mostly True, Survey Finds", Forbes, Sep. 2, 2020, at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tommybeer/2020/09/02/majority-of-republicansbelieve-the-qanon-conspiracy-theory-is-partly-or-mostly-true-survey-finds/?sh=49061e6f5231
8 National Popular Vote, at: https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/
9 Annie Karni, Maggie Haberman, "Trump openly condones supporters who violently stormed the Capitol, prompting Twitter to lock his account", The New York Times, at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/trump-protesters.html
10 Paul Kane, "McConnell defends blocking election security bill, rejects criticism he is aiding Russia", The Washington Post, July 29, 2019, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mcconnell-defends-blocking-election-security-bill-rejects-criticism-heis-aiding-russia/2019/07/29/08dca6d4-b239-11e9-951e-de024209545d_story.htmlX
11 Nancy Gibbs, "If the Senate doesn’t convict Trump, here’s how to discourage him from running again", Opinion Editorial, The Washington Post, January 27, 2021, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/26/if-senate-doesnt-convict-trump-heres-how-discouragehim-running-again/
12 Even after the storming of the Capitol, "the president continues to garner strong support from Republicans, among whom a clear majority agree with his false claims about what happened in November, oppose his removal from office and believe Republican elected officials should continue to follow his lead in the future." See Scott Clement, Emily Guskin, Dan Balz, "Post-ABC poll: Overwhelming opposition to Capitol attacks, majority support for preventing Trump from serving again", The Washington Post, Jan. 16, 2021, at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-poll-post-abc/2021/01/14/aeac7b96-5690-11eb-a817- e5e7f8a406d6_story.html