Democrats’ inability to embrace the progressive base could spell their undoing

The Trump/MAGA 2022 blitzkrieg cited by President Joe Biden and so many others is sure to be a multi-pronged attack with one clear objective: to obliterate democracy itself.

It’s been two years since Steve Bannon vowed to “take control of the election” and overthrow the “deep state” – a government run by elected officials and public servants dedicated to serving the public.

Bannon, oft-indicted, instead summoned a fascist base that “hit the ground running”, demanding an iron-fisted bureaucracy led by party loyalists to bow to Donald Trump’s every order. This reality is apparent in Bannon’s “constituency strategy,” in which he pushes right-wing activists into positions of power on election commissions and election officials’ outposts across the United States, where they can have a direct impact on who can vote and how those votes are counted.

The dictatorial game plan encompasses a wider range of attacks on our fundamental institutions and democratic assumptions than even the president could imagine.

And there’s only one way to beat it: organize the base from the progressive left.

Let’s count the ways the right attacks democracy:

  • On January 6, 2021, the Trump/Bannon underlings made it clear that their “Stop the Steal” mob loves violence and sees outright murder as a legitimate way to trash an election result they can’t handle. . “Just understand this: all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said on his “War Room” podcast the night before. “It will move. It’s gonna be quick. Also: “We are converging on a point of attack,” he said in another January 5 rant. “It explodes tomorrow. »
  • Gerrymandered MAGA state legislatures are now trashing the most directly democratic feature of American governance, the popular referendum, making it clear that the public will means nothing to their “Christian” view of how we all should live.
  • Florida residents have voted twice to allow those once convicted of crimes to vote. But after 20 arrests made in August by his new “Bureau of Election Crimes and Security,” Gov. Ron DeSantis made it clear he would bar eligible citizens (virtually all black) from voting, even after the state ensured that they could vote, in accordance with the mandate for public referendums.
  • Ohio Republicans shredded two statewide referendums mandating non-Gerrymandering districts while challenging the state Supreme Court, which ordered the legislature to produce fair maps consistent with voter demands for use in future 2020 terms. With a blatant disregard for the law and the will of the people, they have instead imposed maps in this fall’s election that are likely to unfairly sway a number of congressional seats while preserving a fascist supermajority in the state legislature. Similar things are happening in North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arizona and elsewhere.
  • Several red states are also defying referenda on abortion, suffrage and other core democratic issues, making it clear that people’s mandates mean nothing to them.
  • GOP gerrymandering was written into the 2010 election, which was bought by the Koch brothers and ignored by Obama’s Democrats, who failed to fight back. Thus, far-right legislatures have metastasized in states that were once Confederate, in the “heartland,” Arizona and elsewhere. These red legislatures are now issuing anti-democratic laws aimed at enshrining state-based dictatorial regimes.
  • According to the Brennan Center, dozens of those legislatures have enacted dozens of restrictions denying the right to vote and having those votes count, especially if cast by young citizens of color.
  • These dictates include Georgia’s ban on giving food and water to people waiting in line to vote, as well as widespread attacks on the ability of young people and people of color to obtain ballots, to vote at all, to have access to drop boxes, to vote by mail, and many other simple mechanisms that make democracy work.
  • As Election Day approaches, legions of election-denying Bannon and Trump cronies are filling positions on local election commissions that will allow them to intimidate eligible citizens and deny ballots to those who don’t. they may not like it. According to the Brennan Center, election workers have been subjected to death threats, “doxing” (publicizing their home addresses aimed at fueling harassment), outright violence, and forced removals from their positions as part of the campaign. of a global right-wing campaign to answer Bannon’s call. to “take control of the elections”.
  • By severely restricting access to ballot boxes, eliminating early voting, obliterating polling stations and overall making it much more difficult for workers to vote, MAGA autocrats are de facto imposing poll taxes on those who cannot afford to spend whole days waiting to vote…often only to face a Bannonite bully waiting to throw it in a wastebasket.
  • MAGA bullies have weaponized the death threat — in person, over the phone, in writing — to terrorize election officials, school board members, teachers, FBI agents, district attorneys (and their families), destroying the vital nodes of electoral protection.
  • By guaranteeing endless scrambles at polling stations and unnecessary delays, Bannonite poll workers now have the dangerous ability to impose impossibly long waits on citizens vulnerable to discrimination and disenfranchisement, all the more that armed militias threaten them as they wait in long queues… where they will also be denied food and water.
  • In the now waiting Moore v. Harper In this case, the right-wing US Supreme Court may well seek to use the bogus “independent legislature theory” to let the democracy-hating MAGA/Trump state legislatures take over the Electoral College and usurp the public’s right to choose. the next president.
  • Moore would enshrine for 2024 Trump’s strategy of flooding Congress with fake state voters chosen by Gerrymander lawmakers to make Trump, DeSantis or someone like them a dictator for life, no matter who the electoral public actually chooses.
  • The 2022 and 2024 elections will also be riddled with bogus “recounts” like those in Arizona in the 2020 elections, calling into question any pro-democracy results that MAGA forces do not like.

The general reality is that all of these desperate attempts by MAGA to kill democracy are a reaction against demographic trends that could spell disaster for Republicans if the mechanics of American democracy are left intact.

The reversal by the Supreme Court of Roe vs. Wade — which gave a sudden surge to gerrymandered legislatures — mobilized the nation’s electoral majority in a way that has already overwhelmed right-wing Kansas precincts and many formerly conservative congressional districts.

More than half of the American electorate is female. The same goes for the voting public born after 1981. Our multiracial, multiracial Millennials/Zoomers constituency is so deeply committed to democracy that in 2020, it voted more than 3 to 2 to oust Trump. Based on findings from Pew Research and others, the numbers for 2022 and 2024 should be even more progressive.

Along with the rise of Millennials/Zoomers comes a drastic drop in right-wing evangelism and a “Christian” faith rooted in racial bigotry, sexual puritanism and Orwellian malaise.

Bannon and his MAGA minions are well aware that the rise of a diverse, tolerant, and increasingly progressive constituency in this country means that their hate-based movement is doomed.

Trump’s 2020 losing margin was actually the third-largest of any incumbent in US history (behind only Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter). The January 6 hearings, the flood of crony indictments, even the stunning resistance from Ukraine, all point to a deeply human revulsion against the kinds of dictatorial regimes made all too real by the likes of Trump and Putin.

But the build-up to 2022 also makes it clear that the corporate Democratic “status quo” will not be enough to stop an armed, multi-layered, anti-democratic coup.

So what will it be?

On January 5, 2021 – the day before the attempted coup in the capital – progressive democracy won one of the most unlikely election victories in US history.

Guided by Ray McClendon of Atlanta’s NAACP and the computerized strategy of Andrea Miller’s Center for Common Ground, grassroots activists in Georgia — mostly operating outside the Democratic Party — elected black preacher Raphael to the U.S. Senate. Warnock and a young Jewish filmmaker named Jon Ossof.

The landslide double runoff victories gave the Democrats their vital 50-50 tie in the Upper House.

But that wouldn’t have happened had the corporate party gone through its usual media campaign had it not been for the massive grassroots upheaval coordinated by Miller and McClendon. By all accounts, decisive participations in the Democratic strongholds of youth and color have made the difference.

Steve Bannon is well aware of all this. As evidenced by his “War Room” podcasts, he has always demanded a door-to-door “relationship campaign”, to establish storefronts in key right-wing strongholds, for “on the ground” takeover. of the electoral apparatus, starting with the scrutineers, the heads of the electoral commissions, the secretaries of state.

The continued attacks by corporate Democrats on young progressive candidates have underscored their aversion to needed change, even in the face of overt fascism. Millions of donor dollars are still flowing in endless television ads that do less and less to shape election results.

Despite a wave of angry activism among Millennials/Zoomers demanding the party’s move to the left, there is little evidence that its corporate gerontocracy is ready to embrace the generational wave that must occur if the Bannonites are to be defeated.

The Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe vs. Wade sparked an army of angry American women and trans people.

But millions of pro-choice voters now marching to the polls could be stopped in their tracks if the Bannonite takeover of the electoral apparatus is not neutralized.

And the victories in those two Georgia Senate races are unlikely to be repeated unless Democrats embrace the grassroots campaign that opens the only sure path to saving our democracy.

About Ryan Headley

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