By Arlen Grossman
Published in OpEdNews.com/ May 20, 2022
Published in DailyKoz.com/ May 22, 2022
The political situation in this country is precarious, especially amidst a worldwide trend favoring autocracy over democracy. Conditions here will worsen if the Democrats aren’t willing to stand up to the bizarre cult-like mob that calls itself the Republican Party. Reproductive choices, gay marriage and other civil rights could be swept away in the drive to remake this country into a right-wing, autocratic theocracy.
The Democratic Party received an unexpected gift package, wrapped in blue ribbons and bows, on May 2 from the United States Supreme Court. But the gift will only be beneficial if the Democrats use it wisely.
The gift, of course, is the draft resolution of the Court’s ruling on access to abortion. This Supreme Court intends to erase Roe vs. Wade, the decision, nearly 50 years ago, that gave women the right to make their own choices about reproductive issues rather than have a legislative body of mostly old, white men make the decision for them. Other constitutional rights and laws, considering the conservative makeup of this court, are at risk.
That danger is very real. Polling has indicated that Republicans are on the verge of retaking the House and Senate in the coming midterm election. The enthusiasm, the energy, and the passion these days has been coming from the pro-Trump, MAGA wing of the Republican Party.
In comparison Democrats seem to be in a semi-comatose state, unable to figure out how to slow the momentum of this alt-right movement. The party is now forced to take on the important task of contrasting their likelihood to protect our Constitutional rights and freedoms versus Republican attempts to restrict them.
If that goes well, the Democratic base could be fired up enough to vote and inspire others to do the same. If successful, the Democratic Party might, against all odds, be able to gain seats in Congress and state legislatures across the country.
If not, we may be witnessing the final days of democracy in the United States. The imperfect form of democracy we’ve tried to maintain and improve since the founding of our country almost 250 years ago, is losing its grip and could very well come to an end in a matter of months. Most Americans aren’t aware and don’t understand the significance of changing from a democracy to authoritarianism. They may soon find out.
Any chance to salvage what remains of our democracy will be challenging and require extraordinary will and effort.
Inexplicably, millions of Americans have embraced the insanity, conspiracies, and lies of this modern Republican Party, and must be convinced not to abandon hard-fought democratic values in favor of empty authoritarian promises. After all, with GOP changes in voting laws, voter suppression, and gerrymandering, a losing Democratic Party may be out of power for a very long time.
How can the Republicans, who have no useful policies, plans or ideas (other than those that favor their wealthy donors) be doing so well in the polls? It is likely because of worries about inflation, crime, immigration, and changing demographics, as well as the historical tendency to vote against the party in power. In addition there is the influence of Fox News and other popular right-wing media, who love to fan partisan flames, aware that anger and division result in elevated ratings and hefty profits.
The reactionary, and arguably neo-fascist push from the right wing must be forcibly challenged by pro-democracy forces. That critical job falls to the polite and reasonable Democratic Party.
Fortunately, the Democrats, with help from the ultra-conservative Supreme Court, have been handed an opportune issue that could inspire and motivate their voters. They couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to contrast their party with the angry, repressive Republicans.
This GOP is pushing a debunked claim, with no evidence, that President Biden and the Democrats stole the 2020 election. They know it must be true because their leader Donald Trump said so and everybody knows how gracefully he accepts defeat. In addition, the Republicans are a party in which many members made a concerted effort to overthrow a duly elected president and nearly succeeded by violently storming the Capital just weeks after the 2020 election.
Even though millions of Americans watched it happening on television, the Republican leadership tells us not to take this attempted coup seriously. One Republican lawmaker, overlooking several deaths and suicides and over 150 injuries among Capital and Metropolitan Police and participants, described it as “a normal tourist visit.”
The Democratic Party needs to fight back vigorously and challenge this fanatical onslaught from the right. But are Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (age 82), Senate leader Chuck Schumer (71), Rep. Steny Hoyer (82), Rep. Jim Clyburn (81), and President Joe Biden (79) up to the task? With the exception of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (80), Republican leaders appear to be younger, more driven, and more uncompromising than the Democrats.
It is too late to change the Democratic leadership now, so they must be pushed and persuaded to fight back with at least the same intensity as their GOP opposition. American democracy is truly at stake. This is no time to be pleasant and collegial. Every possible law, rule, regulation, and strategy should be used against the opposition.
The January 6 committee needs to do more to hold Republicans accountable for the attempted coup. In addition, the Justice Department, under Attorney General Merrick Garland, needs to move quickly and decisively against these zealous insurrectionists and their Trump White House allies. If Garland won’t do it, he needs to be replaced by someone who will.
Taking the lead from their unhinged leader, former President Donald Trump, nearly the entire Republican party seems to be experiencing a dangerous psychotic break. Reality, facts, and truth are inconvenient and dismissed. All that matters to them is winning, regaining power, and “owning the libs.”
Democrats need to fight back with unwavering intensity against this existential threat to our broken political system. The party, imperfect though it is, is all that stands between our weakened democracy and a pro-Trump autocracy. The Democratic Party needs to act quickly and decisively. The stakes could not be higher.