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How Voting in Record Numbers Can Save the Country

I saw a little discussion with former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher. Steele is pro-Republican, but very anti-Trump. Belcher is a pleasant person, who laughs a lot, I guess that is just his nature.

Belcher was asked about some chances the Democrats have right now to pass some not great, but decent, bills, and whether Biden would get credit for them. He laughed, and said “probably not” and then got serious and said that much of the criticism Biden gets is coming from “Progressive Democrats.” That if you took thirty Democrats, you would hear thirty different takes on issues, whereas with Republicans, you might get two or three. He said that it was the Millennials in the party who were expressing the most disappointment with Biden. He seemed to be saying, “But that’s Democrats, what can you do?”

I think that if we watch news shows or read articles, we are likely to come to a similar conclusion, that there are far too many people who call themselves Democrats or Progressives, who have been constantly carping at Biden for not getting this or that accomplished. Well, they certainly have that right to express themselves, but at some point, they have to realize that not only are virtually all of these “failures” due to Republicans almost unanimously voting against the bills, along with Manchin and Sinema, but that at some point, this almost reflexive complaining is hurting Biden, and with it, the chances to keep the Republicans from taking over.

I won’t go through all of the bills, but it seems to me that Biden is almost always trying to do the right thing on crucial issues like abortion, guns, climate, medical care. Could someone else do better? Possibly, or possibly not, at this political moment. And more importantly, he’s what we’ve got now–unless people are so foolish as to think that Democrats could lose the midterms, and then make some amazing comeback in 2024, win the presidency with someone else, and take back Congress.

My opinion is that if we lose the Senate, we will not get it back for many years; the map in 2024 contested seats favors Republicans. If we lose the House, we face so much consolidation of Republican power in state legislatures, that it would be very difficult to win it back. And so, since Republicans use their political power in relentless fashion, we would need to control the presidency, House, and Senate, to get anything meaningful accomplished. What is happening now on bills is not Biden’s fault; even if one doesn’t like his style or elocution, or whatever, these bills would fare no better with someone else at the helm.

Now that sounds bleak. But just consider that if Democrats could somehow keep the House, and add at least two seats in the Senate, great things could be accomplished. Right now, the House is trying to pass an assault weapons ban, which is brave and exciting, except that it would never pass the Senate, and would not even get on the floor, because of the filibuster.

But what if Democrats had 53 Senate seats? Impossible? Not at all. Polls are not reliable, and Republicans pour in money in the last part of a campaign. But our small donor money is greatly exceeding the amount Republicans are donating.

Right now–and keep our fingers crossed–we look strong in Pennsylvania with Fetterman, and that gains us a seat. Very surprisingly, Ryan is running ahead of Vance in Ohio, which would be a gain. Beasley is tied with Budd in North Carolina. Warnock is ahead in Georgia. Hassan leads in New Hampshire. I worry about Cortez Mastro in Nevada and Kelly in Arizona, but they are both ahead. And we have a chance in Wisconsin, though I still think that Godlewski would have a better chance against Johnson than Barnes, who is likely to win the primary.

So it is certainly possible for the Democrats to pick up two Senate seats, though three would be better, of course. That could conceivably override anything that Manchin or Sinema would do. It could well mean changing the filibuster rules, for specific bills like voting rights, abortion, climate, gun safety. Unfortunately, if we lose the House, we would not be able to pass any bills, they would never even be brought up. But it is certainly not impossible that we could hold the House. And if we held only the Senate, we could retake the House in the elections of 2024.

Now, that is not a great deal to hold onto, but it does emphasize that the position Democrats are in is not intractable. Not if people who call themselves Democrats, or liberals, or Progressives, actually come out to vote in record numbers, to save the country. But they have to do that. Indulging themselves by not voting because “we are disappointed in Biden! He did not keep his promises!” (gee, do you think that this might just be because Republican blocked or defeated the legislation?). “Where is the student loan forgiveness?” “He is too old, we need someone younger!,” accomplishes nothing at all, except the illusion of agency, and the reality of Republican rule of the country.

That may be something that the people who are complaining do not want to hear, they are insulted by it, they are going to show everyone that they won’t take it! (just like in 2016); they won’t be dictated to or patronized by Baby Boomers, or by Biden, or anyone who doesn’t do what they want! So I guess we have to be very nice, very ingratiating, with the appreciation of how absolutely important these people are, so as to somehow beg and coax them into going out to the polls every two years, and voting for every Democrat on the ticket.

Oh, yes, I know that they won’t be patronized, they “vote for the person, not the party,” they want what they want, and if they don’t get it, they’ll stay home and complain some more. Growing up, and that is far from just a matter of age, it is about maturity, and the ability to understand how our flawed political system works, is imperative.

We are contesting the most evil force in American history. They are poised to ban all abortions, ban contraception, force children to attend religious schools; do nothing at all about the terrifying rise in global temperatures, do nothing about increasing gun violence–and, oh, they won’t reduce one dollar of student loans, plus they will take away Social Security and Medicare.

If that isn’t enough to compel every single person to go out and vote, then we cannot save the country, as many decent people are trying very hard to do, by donating, organizing the vote, and trying to tell all the recalcitrant people that they need to stop the complaining, stop the “I’m a superior person, and I won’t listen to any of you” immaturity, and do the only right thing here, which is to help the Democrats save the country from the fascists.

It can be done, but it takes will, commitment, and some intellectual and emotional maturity. It’s not an ideal situation, it never is in politics. Keep waiting for the ideal situation, and you are exactly where the fascists want you to be: out of power, complaining, giving up on participating altogether; looking for somebody to blame for the fact that the Radical Right controls the Supreme Court; that the fascists either control all the levers of power, or enough of them to keep the good people from ever changing any laws.

“The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Take responsibility, do something positive, and then see if things might indeed improve for you and the country. Otherwise, the Far Right totalitarians have you exactly where they intended to put you and keep you. You’ve got a little over three months to realize this, and act upon it. Please do so.