2018 Or Bust …

Many of us, this writer included, have pretty much placed all of our hopes for the future of this nation on the mid-term elections for 33 senators and 435 representatives on 06 November 2018.  For most of this year, I convinced myself, given the shambles that Trump and the current Congress have made of our federal government, that the mid-terms were a no-brainer … the Democrats would sweep, would carry the day.  Some readers, primarily my friends from across the big pond, however, were less optimistic.  “Maybe not”, they said.  “I wouldn’t count on it”, I heard.  It is easy to kid ourselves, to say that they don’t live here, so they don’t understand.  But the reality is that they sometimes see things more clearly than we do, for they have the benefit of a bit of distance and a much longer history.  The more I study the situation, the more I consider, ponder, scratch my head and lose sleep, the more I am convinced that the mid-terms may not be the salvation for which we are hoping.

I have at least six points of concern:

  • Democratic Party disoganized
  • Russian interference
  • Voter disenfranchisement
  • Lobbyist influence
  • Bannon influence
  • Voter apathy, especially among democrats/minorities

To be sure, the Democratic Party has a few advantages at this point.  The president’s party typically loses seats in midterm elections, and Trump is a historically unpopular president – the most unpopular in modern times. Then there are the encouraging wins for Democrats in Virginia and Alabama special elections recently.  But I think it would be a mistake to take those wins as a sign of things to come, for there were extenuating circumstances in both that may not be replicated in the broader mid-term elections.

A Washington Post-ABC News survey released in April found that a majority of the public thinks the Democratic Party is out of touch with the concerns of average Americans. I would agree and don’t think that has changed much since April. The Democratic Party will need to have squeaky-clean candidates next year, ones without a breath of scandal in their past, for there is no doubt that the opposition will be digging deep, spending millions to find “dirt” on every candidate.  Whereas Alabamans were willing to overlook Roy Moore’s pedophilia and sex scandals, it must be understood that so much as the hint of any such scandal in the past of a Democratic candidate will be be a death knell. The Republicans have a propaganda machine in Fox News and Breitbart that cannot be discounted, that is very powerful.

The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable that the Russian government did, in fact, have influence in our election process.  The extent of their influence is, I think, still unknown, but there can be no doubt that they did have an impact, a role in putting a madman in the highest office of the land.  We need to be taking steps to ensure that there can be no outside influence in 2018, but are we?  Given that Trump denies any such interference existed, even though such denial is an obvious and pathetic attempt to cover his own posterior, it is doubtful that any meaningful steps are being taken to protect the integrity of next year’s election.

On May 11, 2017, Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”. Mike Pence chairs the Commission, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach serves as the vice chair. This commission was established as Trump claimed, falsely, that there was widespread voter fraud with thousands of people voting twice.  Never mind that he won the election, he was offended that he did not win the popular vote.  The commission also serves as a smokescreen for the real issues that made our election a sham, the aforementioned Russian influence. I have written before about this commission, and the fact that Kris Kobach as Secretary of the State of Kansas, has long called for greater voting restrictions, and in July, the commission demanded that states turn over to the commission all citizen’s voting records. Thus far, the commission has not been notably successful, however the fact that it exists is chilling and may keep some voters away from the polls next November for fear of having their personal information shared.  Additionally, the commission has claimed they will remove duplicate names from voter registries, even though in many cases there may actually be two people legitimately named John Smith.

There is no doubt that big donor money plays a key role in elections and it has been magnified many times over this year, with the large corporations and lobbying groups emboldened to tell members of Congress that if they do not vote as the donors wish, they will never receive campaign funding again.  This is a slam against the democratic process and needs to be checked immediately, but of course, it will not end any time soon.  We cannot change campaign finance rules in time for the 2018 elections, but we must make absolutely certain that we do not support any candidate who is taking large campaign donations from these groups.  The information is public, and one only has to do a little research to find out who is being bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the NRA and others.

Steve Bannon has vowed to pursue the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” He has pledged to support and promote candidates that are of the extreme right ideology, as he did Roy Moore in Alabama.  He will, I belive, choose his battles wisely and use any and every tactic to put extremists in Congress next year.  He certainly has the money, the voice, and the resources to get his message through, and poses a significant threat to the democratic process.

And lastly, I think that voter apathy or angst played a large role in the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of Hillary Clinton.  It would make sense that voter apathy/angst among Democrats is even higher now than it was in 2016. One reason, of course, is the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the electoral college.  Another is the Russian influence.  People may think the system is rigged, and their vote doesn’t matter or will not be properly counted.  Minorities have absolutely no reason to vote for a Republican candidate, for the current administration and Congress have increasingly supported legislation and spewed rhetoric harmful to African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims and the LGBT community.  But does that mean they will come out and vote for a Democrat?  Not necessarily, for they may find it simpler to simply stay home.

The Democratic National Committee must step up to the plate, must become organized, support only those candidates who are above reproach.  They must generate enthusiasm and their trademark must become the very things that our government is lacking today: transparency, honesty, integrity and equality.  And those of us who have a voice, even a voice that may reach only a few hundred people, must help generate enthusiasm, must help explain the issues, introduce the candidates, and light a fire under the voters. We simply cannot afford to end 2018 with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, for as we have seen this year, they are not working for We The People, but for their own interests.  I say it is time to clean house, but do not for one minute think it is going to happen without a fight.

45 thoughts on “2018 Or Bust …

  1. The USA stands at a place she first stood in the years prior to The Civil War and has stood in arguably several times since, one being the Prohibition era, another The Civil Rights campaigns of the 1950s and another during the Vietnam War. In these times there was much polarisation of the populations and passions roused. In these times in addition to the firebrands were folk of eloquence, in these times The Government used and relied or the organs of the State for better or for worse, sometimes both at once.
    In this, there is nothing new going on here. What is different though is having a vulgar, upstart, ignorant oaf whose knee-jerk reaction is to blame very organ of government when he can’t get his way and to allow folk into the Whitehouse who quite frankly should be under constant surveillance by one state agency or another.
    On the face of it this ramshackled crew of opportunists, carpet baggers and extremists would be turfed out in 2018. For shrewd and deft operators, they are a gift. In brutal political terms if the Democratic Party cannot shred this crew either in terms of elections or in public credibility then quite frankly they are not a party deserving of government. This would be a good time for an FDR or an LBJ (hard-nosed operators, not a time for visionaries-yet)
    So returning to the opening words. Here is the choice the USA peoples face, if the current crew remain safe and basically ensconced and once Trump is out after the Second Term replaced by a Bannon acolyte then the nation is on the path to division. Be prepared for mayors and some state governors fighting the Whitehouse and its ragged crew of supporters tooth and nail. Watch out for slow and tentative steps for ‘Secession Lite’. This is not apocalyptical, this is history calling, The USA will not be the first large nation to split, though this is likely to be a legalistic and constitutional path rather than some fantasist’s wet-dream re-run of The Civil War.
    Thus, will Trump have his heritage ‘The Fool Who Destroyed The USA’.
    Russia won’t have to do a thing, that genie is out of the bottle and she can concentrate on her main concern, Europe and Warm-Water ports for her Navies.
    All in your hands folk. You can shred these little people.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The key factor that might change the whole equation you have described above is the prospect of World War.
    At some point, all Americans must have a reason to care and unite for the better good if their survival is at stake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I worked as a research assistant for a professor of political science who wrote a paper about this very thing, that the best way to unite people within a nation is a threat from outside. However, in the nuclear age of this century, such could lead to devastating conclusions, so I hope it doesn’t come to that.

      Like

  3. I’m right there with you, Jill. Much determination, much anxiety. For instance, my own congressman, Tom McClintock, voted to repeal Obamacare and to cut rich folks’ taxes, but he has no viable opposition in this district. I have no doubt he’ll be reelected, though I’ll do everything I can to beat him. This scenario is everywhere in this country, thanks to gerrymandering.

    By the same token, I think the Resistance has activated a lot of people who might have been apathetic before. If you’re young, especially a young woman, you’d best get registered and ready to bring down the hammer on these SOBs!

    It’s going to be a long, strange trip in ’18 …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that is the big problem … where are the bright, engaging democratic candidates? Sigh. You should run in your district!!! And indeed, the coming year is sure to be ulcer-inducing for those of us with a functional brain and a conscience. I wish I could say I’m looking forward to it, but I am not. I just wish I could see where and how this all ends, then perhaps I could get my second wind. Happy Holidays to you and yours, Kevin!!! 🎄

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My view of this (from abroad) is very mixed. Most average people (such as myself) cannot believe that Trump will continue, nor his party in the mid-terms. But people like me do not turn the world. If Americans want this man out, they need to get out and vote.

    I see (from my abroad perspective) that Trump is poking his pudgy finger of warning into other countries.
    He has instructed that any country who votes against the US to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, will be noted ‘and put on the list.’ He will take any negatives as ‘personal’ attacks against him and use that information for goodness knows what sort of retaliation.
    And, there is the stirrings of ‘justifying’ of Trump policy abroad…sort of saying what a good guy he is while having your arm invisibly but forcibly twisted behind your back. Britain knows that position all too well.

    The writings in Brookings are troubling. Has this source become a puppet to the Trump administration?
    https://www.brookings.edu/topic/u-s-foreign-policy/

    Trump has just taken ‘climate change’ off the list of threats to National Security. That means that he can ignore any disasters (like Puerto Rico) and leave areas flattened by weather events, unprotected and abandoned to their own fate.

    This man is a danger world wide, but no one has woken up to it yet!

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  5. Dear Jill,

    I am much more optimistic. I am not counting solely on the Democratic party. There are other coalitions at play here. I call it the coalition of decent folks. It is the coalition of all our minority brothers and sisters, those of the democratic party plus those of the resistance groups like the Women’s March, Indivisible Team, plus majority of independents, centrist republicans. In VA., voters under 35 years of age who voted for Dems by a 70% advantage margin + women at 22 pts.

    Our opponents are hard at work to discourage all of us to where we do give up. This will happen on my death bed. The tax bill that was just passed can be fixed only if we take back our country. If we gain the majority in the US Senate and the House, we can vote to create a truly independent Russia-Trump probe commission to study this period and to make public all the details of what happened. We would still be able to be a part of the Paris Climate Accord.

    The silver lining of this dark period is that I will never again sit back and trust that our government will act in our best interests. This includes when the Dems gain back the majority of legislative seats.

    The state of Virginia is a heavily gerrymandered state that favors republicans but the Dems were able to overcome this obstacle in the 2017 elections.

    It is important that we keep up the good fight. For those across the pond, they haven’t seen anything yet.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, that is likely true, but I am more concerned about some of the swing states than California, New York and New England. I am very concerned that the GOP will wage an even more underhanded campaign than they did last year, and I have no doubt that they will have help from Putin once again. I think we can do it, but I think it’s important to recognize that it isn’t a level playing field and that it will be an uphill battle. Hugs!!!

        Liked by 2 people

    • I am not giving up, my friend! Like you, that will happen only after I take my last, final breath. But I am just trying to assess what needs to happen in order for us to win this fight, for there are some very real obstacles, I think. You know I admire you greatly for all that you do! We will both fight to the very end, I promise you that! Hugs!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:

    So very well explained … I myself feel an apathy that I’d never felt before.
    ‘We simply cannot afford to end 2018 with a Republican-controlled House and Senate, for as we have seen this year, they are not working for We The People, but for their own interests. I say it is time to clean house, but do not for one minute think it is going to happen without a fight.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for the re-blog, my friend! I will not let you remain apathetic for long, you know, but will drag you right back into this fight, for we need you! That said, give yourself a break from blogs and news for a few days and take some time for you. It’s important to do that every so often, my friend! Love ‘n hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know what really “broke” me? It’s the state of my country, Puerto Rico! It’s been 92 days today since Maria, add 14 days since Irma … 106 days without electricity, even in the metro area. I tried to buy airfare for January & it’s sold out. 269,000+ have left the Island & arrived in Florida. Many of them won’t go back.
        The towns in the mountains have been forgotten. Deaths are climbing. The new ‘tax reform’ screws PR ‘mightily’ … I can’t get that out of my mind or my heart!!
        It weighs heavy! 💔

        Liked by 2 people

        • I know, sweet friend, and I … I simply have no words. It is a nightmare beyond belief and … I don’t know how to help. But yes, I know that is a huge part of your angst, and I am so sorry you couldn’t get a plane ticket! I would not have guessed so many people are gong to Puerto Rico … I hope they are going in order to help and not merely gawk? I don’t have any wise words, but I have love in my heart and big, tight hugs! I’m sorry … I wish I were right there to give you one in person. 🤗🤗🤗💓💓💓

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Voter apathy, yes. Or maybe even the sense that ‘someone else will vote Trump out so I don’t need to bother’. The fact that Roy Moore bombed may give a lot of non-Republican voters a false sense of security. I really really wish voting was compulsory in the the US, and elsewhere. With voluntary voting, the ‘silent majority’ either doesn’t vote at all or is drowned out by one rabid minority or another. I just can’t see how that counts as democracy. :/

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree 100% on the compulsory voting, and frankly would also like to see this election done with paper ballots instead of electronic voting, to reduce the chances of Russian (or other, for I wouldn’t put it past the GOP) hacking. Unfortunately, with the republicans in full control of both Congress and the executive brances, and them being quite happy with things just the way they are, there is zero chance of those changes coming anytime soon. I believe we could take back at least one chamber of Congress in a fair and honest election, but I know this election will be neither fair nor honest … it will devolve into a mud-slinging, down-and-dirty fest on both sides, I think. Sigh. It is guaranteed to be another interesting year, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, interesting in the old Hebrew sense meaning…find a bunker and keep your head down. 😦
        I personally believe the Democrats should rally behind Bernie Sanders now and shout from the rooftops that he will be their next presidential candidate.
        I wanted Hillary to win, but she didn’t and now, having heard Bernie Sanders on Youtube re the new tax bill, I think he’s the best change the Democrats have. The man oozes conviction and integrity and I believe that’s what is desperately needed as an antidote to Trump. 😦

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I think gerrymandering being as bad as it is a lot of district are too hard for a democrat to win. They have to win overwhelming to even score. Plus the voter restriction you mentioned are really cutting a hole in the democrat party vote. I think the way the seats that are up for vote are arrayed it also is hard for the Dems. I have great hope for the new generation of democrats, maybe they can make a difference. However the corporate democrats in office get paid to lose or be republican lite, they will fight the new democrats that refuse cooperation and fight for the people. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah yes, I failed to mention the ongoing efforts at ‘re-districting’ or gerrymandering. Some district maps already look like jigsaw puzzles! I think there is … or at least can be … hope for the mid-terms, but the DNC is going to need to kick into high gear very quickly, and if they don’t, the big money boys will score another. One hope I have is for charges to be brought against Trump and several in his inner circle as a result of the Mueller investigation, which I think would take quite a bit of wind out of the GOP sails. Gonna be a long year, my friend. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 2 people

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