The GOP has apparently solicited a ton of polls from Republican-leaning pollsters which show they’re doing great at the midterms. As such, some journalists are questioning their value. But I think the real reason they are taking all these polls is so if they lose, it will make their claim that “the election was stolen!” more believable to their gullible cultist followers.
What makes it worse is that there are overall less polls being done this year than before (which makes individual ones less reliable) and that polling is much more difficult as people just don’t answer their phones to pollsters like they used to.
Meanwhile, the early voting has been huge, especially for a mid-term election, and has come mostly from Democrats. Since in many places, those votes are counted after the polls close, the GOP will also use that as another argument that the election was stolen (just like they did in 2020, when it looked like they were doing much better before all of PA’s votes were counted).
Strange how elections are only stolen when the winner is a Democrat, huh? And how the exact same ballots can steal one race while not stealing another.
In any event, the polls may be completely accurate, but who knows? Recent elections have proven to be more beneficial to Democrats (take, for instance, the Kansas referendum keeping abortion legal that did hugely better than any poll indicated). I’m just pointing out that if the same thing happens again, and Democrats win in places where they were predicted not to based on the polls, it will just provide more ammunition for the conspiracy minded Republicans.
So this is what we have now. Cries of “fake” and “conspiracy”, and violent invasions of government buildings, are now the default, the things we can expect to happen.
I keep hearing people say that this election coming up is our last chance to hold on to our democracy.
I have to tell you, I think the democracy is gone; the body just hasn’t stopped twitching yet.
Democracy depends, at bare minimum, on the understanding by all participants that the results matter, that we grimace when somebody we despise wins and then accept the results. This is something that, among others, John McCain understood. When he spoke to his followers on election night — the same night Sarah Palin wanted to go on campaigning — they booed the name of Barack Obama, and he stopped them. He said, “No,” and John McCain was not always a towering beacon of character, but in this, he did the bare minimum, and today that looks like greatness, because we have fallen so far.
To have democracy, we need the uniform agreement on the part of everybody that elections matter.
Today the Republican default is that when you lose you start yelling, you start marching with your guns, you threaten violence and you turn the volume up to eleven and you hope that the other side backs down. It doesn’t matter if you’re one percent behind and it doesn’t matter if you’re five percent behind. You lay the groundwork for your own victory being the only possible legitimate result and then you stop at nothing.
You openly do this before the election and you count on nobody stopping you.
This is the new normal and it is here for the duration.
You know, once before, one side refused to accept the results of the election. (Twice before, if you include the Business plot against FDR.) It happens to have been the same side. (Yeah, I know Abraham Lincoln was a “Republican” and the side he opposed, essentially Democrats — but back when Abraham Lincoln was elected those words meant different things, and we had yet to experience over a century of half of shifting alliances and demographic shifts. Lincoln was, among other things, a liberal socialist.)
It was the same side, and this continent ran red with blood.
I am telling you that the situation is WORSE now, but the factions are not as neatly defined by regions.
Half the country does not believe in Democracy, rejects the very word in an inane belief that the very word favors the Democrats. You cannot have Democracy if half the country rejects the principle, if a quarter consider their guy infallible and inviolate.
Worse is coming. Far worse.
Democracy is still twitching. But it is bleeding out, and I do not see a return to sanity any time soon.
This is from a Facebook post and is reprinted with permission. Adam-Troy Castro has written 26 books to date including among others four Spider-Man novels, 3 novels about his profoundly damaged far-future murder investigator Andrea Cort, and 6 middle-grade novels about the dimension-spanning adventures of that very strange but very heroic young boy Gustav Gloom. Adam’s works have won the Philip K. Dick Award and the Seiun (Japan), and have been nominated for eight Nebulas, three Stokers, two Hugos, and, internationally, the Ignotus (Spain), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (France), and the Kurd-Laßwitz Preis (Germany). You can also read a recent story of his in my latest anthology, Three Time Travelers Walk Into…
The 20th century was the time of Democracy as more and more countries threw off kings, dictators and tyrants to embrace elections and democracy.
The 21st century, so far, appears to be a retreat based on the fascist and dictatorship leanings of Russia, Italy, Turkey, and other countries (and now the US)… and the sad thing is, just like Hitler in Germany, this is being accomplished through democracy — with the end result being the death of democracy.
The GOP has made it clear that if they don’t like the results of democracy, they have every intention of ignoring and overturning the results, either through violence or other means. I’m not kidding when I say that there are Republican politicians out there who want their states to certify the Republican as winning the election even when they lose.
How can they do this?
Well, when it comes to the President at least, the Constitution says that the states are responsible for appointing the electors to choose the President. That’s one of the provisions of the Electoral College which has given us two Presidents in recent history who lost the popular vote. The Constitution does not say how these electors are chosen. Technically, the party in power in that state could choose the biggest donors to be electors if they wanted to.
And that’s what some Republicans plan to do. It’s why this upcoming election is so important and why you should vote for Democrats. It may be your last chance to vote, after all.
But wait, you scream. The Supreme Court won’t allow that. “Seriously?” I reply. “Have you seen this Court?” Have you noticed that a majority of the members of that court were appointed by those same Presidents who lost the popular vote? If you think for a minute that these people are big supporters of democracy, you may want to, you know, read some of their decisions concerning, for instance, the Voting Rights Act.
We are on a threshold here in America, where our brave experiment is nearing an end. But an overwhelming turnout of Americans — who do not support these fascists — can make a difference.
And if we don’t turn out and they win instead then I guess we get what we deserve.
So if lots and lots of Democrats vote in the midterms — which is not what usually happens — it will be a massive change from what they predict.
And especially if lots of women vote, because that would be grand. The woman vote could really make the difference and that would force all politicians to pay attention, afraid that they might lose their next election if they don’t listen.
We’ve already seen some of the power of people actually coming out to vote. The anti-abortion measure in Kansas lost by a huge margin; special elections in a few places showed a much greater Democratic response than predicted; and it is certainly possible that this could happen again in November.
But only if we don’t act like we always act.
There’s more of us than them, but when we sit things out like we normally do in midterms, we lose. Republicans know that, which is why they spend so much time doing everything they can to make it harder to vote. They can’t win based on the issues so they have to rely on cheating.
We have to overwhelm them. To get their attention, we have to hit them over the head with a million-pound shithammer (as Hunter Thompson used to say).
So if you’re not registered to vote, do it now! And then show up. Let’s prove the predictors wrong.
What exactly do conservatives want to conserve? Clearly, they want to conserve what they consider to be the “good old days” where straight white rich men controlled everything and the rest of us were basically pawns for them to use in their goal to get richer and more powerful.
Let’s look at what they seriously are proposing this election season:
Make abortion illegal everywhere and curtail women’s rights;
Make gay marriage illegal again;
Restrict access to contraception;
Shut down medicare and medicaid;
Repeal the recently passed law that limits what Big Pharma can charge for medicine;
Force Christian religious training in schools while banning books they find dangerous;
Reduce taxes on the very wealthy;
Prevent higher education from being free or cheaper;
Fight against raising the minimum wage;
Refuse refugees begging for help at our border;
Allow governors to throw out election results they don’t like…
I could go on, but you know the pattern. Every one of these things is opposed by a majority of Americans, but they don’t care. They’re used to the minority of rich, white men running everything, and they see nothing wrong with it.
It is predicted that the GOP will win the House in November, which means you can expect that we’ll never see anything of value accomplished. Instead, there will be investigation after investigation of made-up conspiracy theories, along with numerous attempts to impeach Biden for stupid reasons.
Our only hope is that people (and especially women people) are mad enough to vote in numbers never seen before for a mid-term election. The signs are encouraging so far, but the other side knows it, too, and you can expect them to turn out in big numbers. Remember that Trump cultists are often underrepresented in public opinion polls, because they don’t want to come out and admit that they support treason and racism.
“This is a terrible day!” liberal commentators are saying. “A Republican won the governor’s race in Virginia! Democrats are doomed! Doooooomed!”
Let’s first put things into perspective. Most states did not have major elections last Tuesday, but in Virginia and New Jersey, governor’s races were up.
Virginia has a term limit law preventing a governor from running for re-election so there’s never an incumbent. And in 10 of the last 11 elections (that is, for the last 44 years), the party not in power in Washington has won the governorship. In other words, if there’s a Republican President, the governorship goes to the Democrat.
So this year was no different. History predicted this.
In New Jersey, governors rarely win re-election. Until now. Democrat Philip Murphy will stay in office.
The media is downplaying it. “He only won by 2.7%! It’s a narrow victory!” they scream.
Meanwhile in Virginia, these same pundits are saying “The Republican won by 2.2%! It’s a major landslide!”
So instead of the headlines being “Democrats break losing streak as predicted by history,” instead we get “The Democratic party has lost hugely! They’ll never recover! It’s all over!”
Look. Anyone who studies politics knows this: The party in power in the White House loses in the off elections, as people vote against whoever is in there. During Trump’s four years, the Democrats won the House and the Senate, and in next year’s midterms, there is a good possibility the Republicans will take back the House. That’s normal. There’s only been a few exceptions to that rule.
But there are other reasons Terry McAuliffe lost in Virginia when he probably should have won. There are all the main reasons (Democrats don’t vote in the same numbers as Republicans even though we outnumber them; voter suppression; gerrymandering discourages participation, etc.) but let’s discuss problems Democrats always have.
First: We tend to nominate smart, competent people who would make good leaders but are wonky insiders who don’t have a lot of personality. (Michael Dukakis, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry…) Terry McAuliffe is one. He was not hugely popular in his first term, so why Democrats thought he’d be a good choice to run again is a mystery. Republicans know personality is more important, so they nominate completely incompetent people who have charisma (at least to their voters).
Second reason: The Republican party has become a cult — the cult of Trump. In a cult, you don’t question your leaders, and you don’t fight among yourselves. It’s even easier when almost everyone in the cult is the same (white, Christian, male, straight).
We Democrats represent the rest of the country, and we don’t all get along. That is part of the problem. Even though we have the White House, Senate, and House, we can’t even get a bill passed that many Republicans support, because we’re fighting among ourselves. Meanwhile, the GOP votes in lockstep to prevent us from accomplishing anything, even bills that they supported when they were in charge.
That means we have nothing we can brag about at election time. Thanks to Senators Manchin and Sinema, no candidate could point to any accomplishments of President Biden in order to ride in on his coattails. We shoot ourselves in our own foot often.
Third: We’re not good at fear. Republicans know fear drives people to the polls and that’s why they make up fake boogeymen to scare their cultists to the polls. “They’re going to force our kids to get vaccinated, fear them! They want to make children learn about racial injustice! They’ll force your daughters to have abortion while giving them free marijuana while they spit on the Bible and declare a War on Christmas!”
“The American people are smarter than that,” Democrats say, ignoring the American people saying, “No, we’re not!”
Come on, there’s a huge chunk of the Republican party that believes JFK Jr. was going to reappear from the dead and run as Trump’s Vice President. They believe every QAnon claim despite the fact that not one has ever come true. They’re crazy. You can’t fix that.
So we need to be inspiring to get our people to the polls. Obama was a nerdy wonk of the type we like, but he also had the charisma we needed at the time. And Terry McAuliffe? He’s no Obama.
So the election didn’t go the way we wanted, but at the same time, it wasn’t the shellacking the media wants to portray it as. (Here in my purple county in Pennsylvania, we Democrats did quite well actually, holding back the GOP cultists trying to take over the school boards and local governments).
Republicans in Texas (like in many other states) are doing everything they can to make the most basic right in a democracy harder, because Republicans know that the only way they can win is by cheating.
The Democrats in Texas have left the state to prevent the Republicans from having a quorum to enact these laws.
Some people are saying this is unfair and that the Democrats should “do the job they were elected to do.”
Well, they are. They’re protecting the rights of voters, just like they’re supposed to do.
The GOP has fixed the game so that the only way they can do their job is by protesting. You know, the thing the Founding Fathers did a lot of. The thing that is protected by our very first Amendment. That thing.
“But the laws have a process that should be followed! They’re supposed to vote!” This argument has been used for generations to justify discrimination and bad laws. “Well, I’m sorry you don’t like the fact that blacks can’t vote, but the laws preventing them from voting were passed according to our rules.” Well, sure. But if the rules allow the majority to trample on the rights of the minority, what other option does the minority have?
The Texas Democrats are stuck using this as a means because the rules have been written by those in power to prevent any other means (in the same way the Filibuster is preventing the majority from accomplishing their goals in the US Senate).
Texas is, believe it or not, a purple state. Beto O’Rourke came this close to defeating Ted Cruz. Trump won it by only 1.3%. Republicans have gerrymandered the state in such a way that they control far more than 1.3% of the state house. They’ve used legal means to disenfranchise many voters, and now they’re trying it again.
Here’s a map. Notice how all the cities (which are heavily Democratic) have been divided in such a way that it is practically impossible for Democrats to win. Instead of having one big district in a city, it’s split so that the Democratic part of the city is overshadowed by the Republican rural areas adjacent to it. So. If we had a fair playing field, maybe one could argue that refusing to play is unfair. But the game is rigged, and the only way to fight it is to refuse to play.
Arizona Republicans are doing another ballot count in one of their largest counties, convinced that the election was stolen because of the Big Lie. This ballot count follows previous ones that found zero evidence of ballot fraud, but since these QAnon idiots believe anything, they’re convinced that there is some vast conspiracy out there and they alone can find it.
So one of the things they’re looking for is bamboo.
I am not making this up.
Somehow, some crazy person suggested that the ballots were all forged and sent in from China for some reason and everyone knows that in China, they use bamboo in all of their paper. (No, they don’t.) And of course, there is no bamboo in America. (Yes, there is.)
So the Arizona Republicans, convinced that the Democrats were cheating (in a county where the election board is run by Republicans), demanded another recount. And it’s not going well. The state’s Republican governor has recently had to call in protection for the Secretary of State, who had the gall to declare that the election was fair and who has been receiving death threats for reporting the truth.
So these Republicans, not content to look absolutely foolish before, decided to hire a professional group with lots of experience to oversee the recount. I’m kidding, of course. They hired a group called Cyber Ninjas, who have absolutely no experience in doing this. They’re led by a conspiracy theory nut who is just looking for fraud, and how much you want to bet he’ll find something that will look real to him and that everyone with any brains will laugh at? (This group also has been promoting the theory that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rigged voting machines so Biden would win, despite the fact that Chavez has been dead since 2013.)
The values that liberals push are the values of America. The things we support are the same things a majority of Americans support: National health care, higher taxes on billionaires, free college, a higher minimum wage, legal abortion, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, “Black Lives Matter”, gun control, vaccinations — all have the support of a majority of our fellow Americans, poll after poll shows.
So why are we always fighting for these things?
Some of it is just history: Those with power have always, since the dawn of time, cheated to make sure they keep that power. No advancement has come about because of the Powerful’s humane caring for those beneath them. Everything we have gained has had to be fought for.
So how did we get here?
Mostly it’s the result of our system of government, which is by its nature not very democratic.
The Electoral College. When you start with a system that allows people who lose the popular vote to become President against the will of the people, you know you’re not in a truly democratic country. Our artificial borders place an emphasis on land instead of people and we end up with a system where the population of a dozen or so very sparsely populated states have more power than even a city. (More on why we need to get rid of the Electoral College here.)
The Senate. Similarly, Senators represent land, not people. No matter how small the state, they get two Senators. This means a Senator from Wyoming represents 286,000 people while one from California represents 19,500,000. Many times we’ve seen how the Senators from these smaller states have held up legislation the majority of Americans want simply because of the undemocratic way Senators represent our country.
The Supreme Court. Right now, there are more people on the Supreme Court who were appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote than justices who were appointed by those who won. (And once more let’s remind everyone that Democrats won the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 elections — spanning 32 years — but only won 5 of them, thanks to the Electoral College.) So when an issue about voting or gerrymandering or democracy comes before this undemocratically-appointed Court (approved by an undemocratic Senate), you can guess what their decision will be.
Gerrymandering. Admittedly, some Democrats have practiced this as well, where lines are drawn to benefit one party over another. This can be done in such a way that even though your party may be the minority one, if you get to draw the lines, you can make sure you get more of your party into power anyway.
Voter suppression. Republicans (who hold the minority viewpoint in America) know they will always lose if everyone votes, so their strategy has always been simple: Let’s change our views to appeal to a majority of Americans! I’m kidding, of course. Their strategy is instead: Let’s cheat to make sure we always win. That’s why they have spent 50 years
fighting against the Voting Rights Act
purging people from voting lists
closing precincts in minority neighborhoods
enacting restrictive voter ID laws
prohibiting felons from voting
stopping early voting and mail-in ballots
making sure election day isn’t a national holiday
killing any bill designed to prevent Russian interference
making sure no paper ballots are used
getting rid of election finance laws
making it illegal to even give drinks to people standing in line to vote
So yeah, those of us who represent the majority of Americans have huge hurdles to overcome to fight against the minority power controlling us. And that’s why it seems to many that our views are the unpopular ones, since we lose constantly.
But the real reason is much more complicated and much harder to resolve.