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A Proposed Five-Point Election Plan

As midterms approach (and I don’t think any of us are looking forward to them), here is what I think our candidates need to do, at a minimum:

1 Run on protecting a woman’s right to abortion. I put this one on top, not because I am going to rank these in order of importance, but because I just read that Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin is not scheduling any abortion procedures after June 25, in expectation of the Supreme Court ruling giving the states the right to criminalize all abortions.

The abortion issue has somehow almost disappeared from the media, with all their hysteria over inflation, and then a .75 raise in the Fed Rate somehow potentially causing a recession, and those gas prices. But there are so many states where the Republicans control the legislatures, and they have passed, or will pass, bills banning abortion; almost all abortions, or all of them. Women, and any man who has any regard for women, should realize that abortion is on the ballot.

2. Tell the voters, every hour of every day, that Republicans are going to take away your Social Security and Medicare. That is literally in the plan drafted by Republican Senator Rick Scott. The plan is that every five years, Congress will decide whether to end those two programs that every working person has paid into for their entire career, and which seniors depend on. Lindsey Graham just the other day said that if Republicans win the midterms, they should look at getting rid of these two programs. This is not a scare tactic, as ostensibly moderate political columnist Jeff Greenfield liked to say every election year, it is real. Social Security and Medicare are on the ballot, beyond a doubt.

3. Tell them the truth, that saving the planet is at stake. Every reputable scientist who studies this field says that unless fossil fuel emissions are greatly cut in the next ten years, the rise in temperatures will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius, leading to cataclysmic effects. Somehow this existential issue is rarely discussed by the people on television, maybe because it is too frightening, or they have no souls, or they use money, career status, and sensual pleasures as an anodyne to dull themselves. But for those people who care about themselves, their children, the animals, and the planet, they have to be told that if they elect Republicans, nothing will be done until it is absolutely too late. Maybe the billionaires think they can escape to Mars, but no one else can.

4. The immense percentage of people who want to do something about gun violence must be told that if they elect Republicans, not nearly enough will be done. The last I heard, Republicans have backtracked from even their weak position on the proposed gun bill, by saying that they are not going to vote to remove the “boyfriend loophole” in gun laws, and if Democrats don’t accept that, they will vote against any bill in its entirety. They are owned by the NRA, and the only possible way to attain the kind of legislation on guns that about 80% of people show they want, it to elect Democrats. Wanting something means virtually nothing, if you keep voting for people who have no intention of ever doing it. This seems beyond obvious, but apparently too many people simply do not understand this cause and effect.

5. Make it very clear that Republicans do not believe in democracy, even though some of them might say they do. They want America to be a totalitarian country, where Republican officials can override the votes of the people, and simply hand the election to the Republicans every time. Voting will be a charade, like it is in Russia, Hungary, North Korea, and other such countries. The flag, the patriotic songs, mean absolutely nothing in those countries to people who are subjugated. That is what Republicans want here.

And if you do not believe that, look at what happened on January 6, 2021, where their followers almost overturned the election results, and were attempting to murder the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, numerous other officials in Congress, and any police officer who tried to stop them. Show the videos over and over to to them.

There are more issues, of course, both overarching, and specific to various races. But I think that Democrats must make these elections about these five absolutely crucial issues, and try to get through to voters that these are absolutely at stake, this is not invented, or fear-mongering, this is very real. Their vote has never been more important.

Of course Republicans will try to make all the races about gas prices, inflation, Critical Race Theory, “wokeness,” and various culture war matters. We cannot stop them from running their ads, and trying to control the focus of the campaigns, but we must concentrate on those things which are far more important, both short-term and long-term.

Former Republican strategist Matthew Dowd is getting a lot of TV time lately on MSNBC. He certainly was not our friend in the past, and he is not unerringly perceptive now, but he does make one very strong point, something that Republicans seem to understand much better than Democrats. You make the campaigns about “your” issues, the ones where your positions are far more appealing to the voters You don’t let them be on “their” issues, their turf. You don’t spend time trying to make the point that, “Yes, inflation is hurting people, yes gas prices are high, but we are working hard on fixing it, here are out plans.”

You obviously need to have plans, and you need to point out that Republicans have no plans whatsoever, beyond cutting taxes even more for the rich and for corporations. But you do not want to fight on the terrain of inflation, even though we know that most of it is related to price-gouging by the corporations.

You know those exit polls which come out the day of the elections? I hate those, because it seems that the voters almost always say that the most important issues for their vote were the very ones that Republicans have been drumming into their minds. Last year’s Virginia’s governor race was somehow made all about “education,” simply because that is all the Republican candidate talked about. So in voting against Critical Race Theory, which was not even taught in schools in the state, they elected a Republican governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general; and put Republicans in control of the state legislature. This will lead to all sorts of catastrophes, including the efforts to overturn any elections which Democrats win.

Republicans have no ideas about how to help people other than themselves. They just want to find the way to win, whatever issue they can make up, or divert to, is what they will use. Democrats absolutely have to do something which they used to do more of, but somehow gave up doing after the ’50’s and ’60’s: scare the voters into voting against Republicans and what they will do if they win. I’m sorry that it has to be that way, but “going high when they go low” might be fine for the interregnum between elections, but it is not successful during election season.

I’m not saying that Democrats must “go low,” and make up things, but they must run AGAINST Republicans and AGAINST Republicanism, what it would mean for America and for them. Call it Trumpism, or whatever, but get people to understand what is at stake, and what Republicans have done, and are planning to do. Imagine how sickening it would be to have Republicans sweep to big victories, and then see those polls again showing that most people want Roe v. Wade to still be the law; that they want more legislation curbing assault weapons; that they want environmental protections; that they absolutely want Social Security and Medicare to remain.

“But you voted for the Republicans!” “Well, yeah, because those gas prices were so high, but I didn’t vote for them to take away my benefits and bankrupt me, and ban abortions.” “Yes, you did.” “No I didn’t, I didn’t vote for them to do that.” “It’s all included in the package.” “Damn, what do I do now?” “It’s too late.”

If we are going to lose, then let’s damn well make sure that we did everything possible to let the voters know what was at stake when they voted. That’s really all any human being can do with regard to other people, try to tell them what the consequences of their actions or their lack of knowledge or interest will be. Yell, and scream, and talk rationally, all of that.

Show videos, show dystopias, show deadly insurrection at the Capitol, show statements at the January 6 hearings. Do not let Republicans and their media allies control the narrative, as so often is the case. Our messages must be: “It’s the democracy, stupid.” “It’s your right to abortion.” “It’s gun safety.” “It’s hurricanes and floods and fires and power grids.” “It’s Medicare and Social Security, which you are now receiving as you deserve, or are counting on when you’re older.”

Do that, starting right now, and I would predict that the midterm polls will change. Some candidates are doing it, but not enough of them; and as usual, the national message from the DNC, the DSCC, the DCCC , is being muted, or is confused or insipid. Enough of this haplessness. Fight like winners, and keep telling people what the elections are really about for them.