Yesterday’s blog post noted that vulgarity is not a bug of today’s Republican party, it has become a feature. And this feature is common to many autocrats and tyrants. Their disdain for law and norms signals to their cultish followers that they are not part of and reject the existing “unfair” system, even if the existing system includes common sense, common courtesy, common decency, and respect for fellow citizens. But when Trump finally leaves office his cult will continue to openly carry guns, spread insane conspiracy theories, deny our nation’s history, and go to the voting booth. So what can we do?
David Masciotra tackles this question in an excellent article in Salon (whose website is frankly irritating). Here are some key excerpts, starting with how Masciotra defines the problem.
Over the course of my lifetime, the leadership of the Republican Party has continually declined in intellectual, moral and political quality. Each successive Republican administration has inflicted greater damage on social service networks, the minimal safety net that exists for the poor, and the institutions and culture necessary to preserve civic liberalism. Republicans went from Reagan to George W. Bush, attempted to anoint Sarah Palin, and eventually landed on Trump.
He then talks about how to deal with the mess we find ourselves in:
In the short term, Americans of conscience need to organize with maximum efficiency to elect progressive Democrats to local, state and national office. But the long-term solution will require a collective awakening out of suffocating quarterly consciousness. Temporary solutions are no longer tenable. Instead, America needs to revive a culture of civic liberalism. Such a challenging and grand ambition demands the elimination of the Electoral College and the revocation of gerrymandering and voter suppression laws so as to ensure adequate representation of the American people, most of whom are not wild-eyed Trump zealots.
And ends on an optimistic note:
The resuscitation of participatory democracy, and the culture that serves as its foundation, is the political equivalent of climbing a mountain on a cold day. But there are signs of hope. Every action provokes a reaction. The gift of Trump’s ascendancy is that it has motivated a new class of progressives — both those in the new Congress fighting for edifying legislation, and those on the ground leading movements that can exert pressure on the political system. Simultaneous with the insanity of the past few years, America has seen more progressives, including women and people of color, seek and win office than ever before, and the swelling of enlistees in environmental organizations, Planned Parenthood, civil rights groups and advocacy networks for economic justice.
Here’s a link to the full article:
One reason Republicans went on a forty-year race to the bottom was Fox “news”. You can’t spout lies and distortions while stoking fear and resentment in a third of our population for four decades without having a profoundly malignant effect. And Trump is the apotheosis of this generational project.
When it comes to solutions, Masciotra’s discussion of long-term solutions got my attention. He mentioned making our voting system more fair, which is exactly what the House’s HR1 bill aims to do. It’s a broad voting rights bill that Republicans hate because it would make it hard for them–a minority of voters–to win elections. And even though it may never get a vote in the Senate, it is still something very popular among a majority of voters that we can throw at Republican candidates every chance we get.
Why won’t Republicans support broadly popular voting reforms? Because they can only win when fewer people vote! That’s how bad their policies are.
Hammering Republicans with the issues that many Americans support is a winning strategy, no matter how loud Republicans scream, no matter how hard Fox rails against us, no matter how much disinformation Russia creates on social media. Common sense gun regulation, voting reforms, climate change policies, tax fairness, net neutrality, affordable health care, and equal rights are ALL winners that Democrats should enthusiastically embrace, and all things the GOP and Trump simply won’t support. It’s not about converting Trump supporters into Democrats, it’s about drawing a stark contrast to get more Democrats and Independents fired up about these critical issues and express their passion at the polls.