I trust everyone is taking precautions for your safety and that of others. As we look towards the November elections, that old saying, don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good, has achieved cliché status but nevertheless remains true. For those who are convinced that Joe Biden is not your ideal candidate, contrast him with the current occupant in the White House and he’s just a step away from Barack Obama. Yet, there is concern—near trepidation—among Democratic party operatives that he is not far enough to the left to excite young people like Bernie Sanders would. Rep. Alexandria Ocosta-Cortez stated during her interview with Anand Giridharadas that taking the country back to normal is not enough.
After four years of Donald Trump, we should be craving for anything in the realm of normal behavior. Policies can be negotiated but who knows what will be left of the country if Trump manages to get re-elected which is in the realm of possibility because he is willing to do anything to win, including fabricating conspiracy theories like Obamagate. The Trump reelection team is dusting off the Hillary Clinton playbook and will use all at their disposal to remain in power.
Please pay attention. Trump installed a lackey as head of the Postal Service to ensure voting by mail becomes an ordeal if he is not able to curtail it, including contriving technical disqualifications for ballots not emanating from Florida. Today we get the announcement that a federal court has given the green light to the Republican Party to organize a cadre of poll watchers to limit voter fraud in selected electoral districts. We know the purpose of these goon squads will be to intimidate as many voters as possible. God only knows what else is being planned as we live out the daily melodrama of a thoroughly mismanaged coronavirus crisis response. Swing states Arizona, Florida and Ohio are controlled by Republican governors and legislatures that are certain to erect barriers in key election districts. Michigan and Pennsylvania have Democratic governors but their legislatures are controlled by Republicans.
So, what’s at stake? At the top of the list is one or two more Supreme Court justices could be appointed during a second term thoroughly securing a right-wing majority for a couple of generations. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to be a trouper, holding out despite a string of health challenges. She will not make it through the next four years nor should she be expected to. Justice Clarence Thomas could make his exit as well to ensure Trump has the opportunity to appoint another 40-year-old conservative jurist.
While most eyes are on the White House, the 2020 elections are monumental as state legislatures will be conducting their decennial redrawing of electoral lines. The Supreme Court’s hands-off approach to gerrymandering opens the door for more distorted district lines. Think back to 2010 when Republicans wrested 63 seats from Democrats in the House of Representatives and won an overwhelming majority of state legislative seats. If Democrats do not go to the polls in full force, Republicans will continue to create disproportionate advantages at all levels of government.
Despite all of his bellicose about creating the greatest economy in the history of the world, the idea that Trump would restore economic prosperity for anyone but his wealthy friends is ludicrous. The economy he inherited from Barack Obama was solid but not spectacular. He managed not to destroy it until he misplayed his hand by not having a coordinated response to covid-19—we’re still waiting for one—which led to massive hospitalizations, unnecessary deaths and an eventual shutdown leading to massive unemployment. So, what does the stable genius do? He gives another round of supply-side relief to banks and corporations, neglecting the needs of public sector workers such as hospital workers, police, teachers and fire fighters—the backbone of our consumer-driven economy.
There are other concerns like inaction on climate change, the decimation of public education under the stewardship of Betsy DeVos, and the continued erosion of public housing under the lackluster leadership of Dr. Ben Carson that largely go unnoticed as the United States standing in the world continues to decline. When asked to response to Trump’s fictitious Obamagate charges, the former President responded with a one-word tweet: “Vote.” That says it all.