As an optimist who worries a lot (a self-description I borrowed from the late, great Madeleine Albright), I am not happy about a few things occurring in this countdown to the critically important—likely democracy-at-stake—midterms.
I am writing this post now because I believe that even if you’re apolitical and would rather be reading about another topic—or you’re disgusted with inflation and fear a recession and are tempted to vote for a Republican “to send a message”—we must together confront the dangerous truths we’re facing.
A majority of the Republicans running for office this year are Big Liars. That is astonishing.
THE BIG LIARS MUST BE RESOUNDINGLY DEFEATED FOR THE SAKE OF OUR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC TO AVOID THE FIRST STEP TOWARD AN AUTOCRACY WHERE ONE PARTY WILL NEVER CONCEDE DEFEAT IN AN ELECTION.
This year, we know–because they’ve told us!–that no matter what the outcome, whether the election is close or not, they’ll either claim victory or declare the election was stolen.
WE MUST VOTE IN LARGE ENOUGH NUMBERS TO SHOW THAT THEIR LIES ARE LIES.
—Though we must not rely upon polls in this odd political season, reports are that the Republicans now have an advantage over Democrats in the “enthusiasm gap.” The lead pollsters were finding in the Democrats’ favor on the generic House ballot post-Roe has now swung to a minuscule advantage for the Republicans.
Where is Roementum? The heartbreaking stories of the impact of the Court’s ruling and the male-dominated legislatures’ draconian laws keep pouring in. These are people–not the statistics Republicans want Americans to focus on to avoid our grasping the scope of this rising tragedy.
Within 48 hours after Arizona abolished abortion, a 14-year-old girl who suffers from severely debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis was denied a refill of methotrexate because it can also be used to end ectopic pregnancies—a condition that renders the fetus non-viable and can jeopardize the mother’s life. The drug had made her pain and symptoms “totally manageable” and she was finally able to attend school.
Methotrexate, an immunosuppressant, is an important medication for cancer patients as well. So much for a “pro-life” party’s positions!
Surely you’ve heard the ugly story of Herschel Walker, who opposes abortion without exception for his state and the country. I won’t repeat it here, except to say that it shows once again that there are no principles anywhere in evidence among the Republicans—among the leadership or the faux godly voters who seem more inclined to pray for the soul of the unredeemed lying, profligate “baby-killer” (in their lexicon) than to support a real minister and fine Senator, Raphael Warnock.
When asked if he thought this latest Walker scandal would have an impact on the race, Warnock made this memorable remark:
“I’ll leave it up to the pundits. I’ve been consistent in my view that the patient’s room is not big enough for the woman, her doctor, and the government.”
IF WE BELIEVE IN A WOMAN’S FREEDOM OF CHOICE and don’t want the extremists to enact state and federal abortion bans, WE MUST VOTE DEMOCRATIC. And we know that other Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms are also endangered.
—Some members of the media are absolutely gushing with excitement in their free coverage of Kari Lake, the Republican running for Governor in Arizona, whose pizzazz seems to be making voters forget that she’s an anti-abortion Big Liar who still wants to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election. She has compared herself favorably with Giorgia Meloni, the neo-fascist recently elected as Italy’s prime minister. And she evoked a firestorm when, for unknown reasons, she endorsed a state legislature candidate in Oklahoma (?) who was a blatant racist and antisemite. She backed down after that story broke.
Please take a moment to watch Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney speaking in Arizona about Lake and her running mate in the video above. She explains why she’s supporting Democrats for the first time in her life—because the stakes are so high nationwide.
Lake and Katie Hobbs, the state’s current Secretary of State, who’s received death threats for her dogged pursuit of the truth in the face of the Big Lie, are now nearly tied.
I heard former Republican political strategist Mathew Dowd compare the races in Michigan with those in Arizona. In Michigan, the Governor and her slate are running closely as a team, touring the state and warning voters what’s at stake if the anti-abortion election deniers are elected. They are well ahead in the polls. Dowd said the Arizona candidates need to do the same. I hope they heed his advice.
(In case they hadn’t heard Dowd’s wise counsel, I informed them all via Twitter. The accessibility to prominent people that Twitter provides encourages individual grandiosity, so I do what I can…)
IF WE RECOGNIZE THE BIG LIE AS A THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY, WE MUST VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS—BEARS REPEATING.
—Saudi Arabia gave Putin a boost by siding with Russia in OPEC, reducing oil production and inevitably increasing the price worldwide. Although the justification was that the move was necessary for them economically, the evil but savvy Saudis–who have been close to Trump–knew their timing in driving up oil prices would benefit the Republicans.
This cynical OPEC move also affects Ukraine. We can’t expect Zelensky to say where his political preferences for the US lie, but we can be sure he realizes that Ukraine’s interests are better served by Biden and the Democrats. There are too many dark forces who adore Putin lurking among the Republicans.
IF WE SUPPORT UKRAINE AND ITS EPIC BATTLE FOR ITS FREEDOM, WE MUST VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS.
—It looks like the radical Supreme Court majority will likely eviscerate the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action in this session—and perhaps even deal another huge blow to democracy through validating the flimsy Independent State Legislature theory, which the revered conservative judge J. Michael Luttig has torn to shreds. In The Atlantic, he wrote:
“Such a doctrine would be antithetical to the Framers’ intent, and to the text, fundamental design, and architecture of the Constitution.”
One glimmer of hope arises from the sterling introduction of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. I had expected great things from her but assumed she’d take time acclimating herself to the court, and we wouldn’t hear much from her for a while. Wrong!
She’s been in the limelight this week, asking probing questions and winning praise for taking on the Court’s Originalists, who are about to destroy the Voting Rights Act. The Court is considering an Alabama case involving redistricting that would deprive Black Alabamians of a House seat to which their population entitles them. At issue is whether to be Constitutional, a law must be “race neutral.” According to Talking Points Memo:
“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson turned the favored tactic of her right-wing peers on its head Tuesday, advancing an originalist argument to support protections for racial minorities.”
“I don’t think we can assume that, just because race is taken into account, that that necessarily creates an equal protection problem. Because I understood that we looked at the history and traditions of the Constitution and what the framers and founders thought about, and when I drilled down to that level of analysis, it became clear to me that the framers themselves adopted the equal protection clause, the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment in a race-conscious way.”
“I looked at the report that was submitted by the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the 14th Amendment, and that report says that the entire point of the amendment was to secure rights of the freed former slaves,” she added.
Justice Jackson may not be able to change the majority’s views, but she’s certainly being the teacher I’d assumed she’d be. And she’s the ideal person to make sure that history shows how off-kilter this court is. She may even make the majority members a bit uncomfortable.
IF WE SUPPORT VOTING RIGHTS AND PRESIDENT BIDEN’S ABILITY TO CONTINUE APPOINTING JUDGES OF JUSTICE JACKSON’S CALIBER—AND PERHAPS CONGRESS’S ADDRESSING THIS COURT’S EXCESSES—WE MUST VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS.
I’m not going to discuss the growing concerns about whether we are moving toward a civil war now, but my response is the same. Resoundingly defeating the Big Liars is an essential Step One in preventing such a crisis.
I ended with Justice Jackson’s defense of the Voting Rights Act because the entire Big Lie and all the vote(r) suppression laws stem from our country’s failure to broadly confront the stain that’s plagued us since the Civil War.
I’ve no illusions that we’ll get through this period easily, quickly, or even bloodlessly. But it’s a battle we must confront if we are ever to become the democracy of our great promise.