October 18, 2022

Midterm Votes Matter

There are countless reasons to register and vote in the elections on November 8. By the time the next issue of this newsletter appears, we will know which party will control the Senate, the House of Representatives, as well as numerous governorships, state legislatures, county, and municipal offices for the next two — or even four — years. Last Thursday's TV coverage of the House select committee hearing on the January 6 Capitol Hill debacle was a vivid illustration of what is at stake, as a deeply divided nation staggers toward the midterm polls and then the presidential battle two years from now.

The hearing provided a host of reasons to understand what is at stake. A defeated, narcissistic, and delusional outgoing president whipped a core of his most hysterical followers into assaulting the Capitol and endangering the lives of legislators and staff members, along with then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the second and third-ranking officers of the U.S. Government. Witness after witness who had been close advisors to Donald Trump, testified in damning detail to his direct incitement of this violent act of sedition and his unwillingness to call it off.

The ongoing saga of highly classified national security documents which Trump illegally moved to his Mar-a-Lago compound as he left the White House is playing out like a hallucinatory, low-budget version of "House of Cards" or a James Bond villain's hideaway sequence. However, this combination of presidential malfeasance and the January 6 riot makes two things crystal clear:

  1. Regardless of partisan hysteria and fake news, Donald Trump must never again be allowed near the thermonuclear launch codes or interaction with other heads of state. He is a danger not just to U.S. democracy, but to the inhabitants of the world at large.
  2. The unpleasant reality is that the Republican Party in its present form and under current leadership, must be reformed or destroyed at the ballot box. The rise of Abraham Lincoln during the 1850s obliterated the Whig Party and led to the foundation of the GOP. We are at a similar crossroads today. For more than a century, that party promoted conservative policies, many at odds with our Democratic views, but at least intellectually coherent and put to the test at the ballot box every two years in an orderly fashion. This is no longer the case. 

Beginning with Richard Nixon's "dog whistle" racist Southern strategy in 1968 and continuing through Newt Gingrich's leadership of the House of Representatives from 1994 and then the Tea Party success in 2010, the GOP has worked steadily to undermine U.S. democracy. To give them due credit, operationally and strategically, they have built a production line of right-wing candidates for nomination to Federal judgeships, vetted by the Federalist Society as though we were still living in the late 18th Century. Today's Supreme Court is the logical outcome of that strategy.

Their decision to overturn nearly half a century of settled law by overturning Roe v. Wade must serve as a wakeup call to Americans of every sexual orientation. Despite the constitutional prohibition of an established religion and the related guarantee of religious freedom, the flat-earth MAGA wing of Donald Trump's GOP would like nothing more than to install ayatollah-style control over national mores and practices. No government structure and no religious hierarchy has any business in America's bedrooms.

U.S. citizens' voting rights are under increasing threat from Trumpista claims of "stolen" elections and "stuffed" ballot boxes. An upcoming Supreme Court hearing is expected to rule on the proposition that the 50 state legislatures should have full authority over election processes. In the worst, but not unthinkable, case, this could mean that a Republican-controlled state government could simply disregard voting results which displeased the legislators and could send its own slate of electors to decide the outcome of a presidential election.

These are not Halloween fantasies, trotted out to frighten the children. They are realistic current threats to the political structure of the United States. For that reason, Democrats Abroad urges American voters, wherever they live, to register and vote in this election, including at the state, county and local level. Our way of life is in clear and present danger.

- Daniel Solon, member, DA Barcelona