Skip to main content

What Else will Republicans Be Coming For?

We can’t say we haven’t been warned. This place we’ve now arrived at is the end of a fifty-year journey.

It’s been out in the open — for those willing to see it — for thirty years. Ever since Hillary Clinton spoke of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” that tried to take down her husband. And ultimately came for her.

The signs were there as early as 1964, with the thrashing of Barry Goldwater in the presidential election, when the GOP turned sharply right in reaction to the Civil Rights Act and dozens of other egalitarian measures they could not tolerate. It goes back even further, but never mind.

The point is, far too many of us didn’t take them seriously.

Democrats were then — and still are now — a solid majority of voters, though it’s not clear if that matters anymore.

Because far too many of us couldn’t be bothered to vote. We said things like all-politicians-are-the-same, and both-sides-are-equally-corrupt, and sorry-but-I-just-don’t-trust-Hillary. So we stayed home, and the people who were counting on us to stay home were happy to exploit our apathy. They’ve been eroding our right to vote ever since.

Too many of us said the Supreme Court doesn’t matter. That our rights were baked in. That the Founders were wise to make SCOTUS a lifetime appointment. We got that wrong.

Now that Court is peeling off our rights, one by one, in real time. And since one of those rights is the right to vote, our ability to fight back is not a given.

The damage is already extensive. In just the last week or so, SCOTUS — now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Republican party — has eviscerated not just abortion rights, but the EPA and most rational gun laws as well. These don’t get as much attention as abortion, but one could argue that they’re even more devastating.

A gerrymandering decision could be coming soon, and we know how that will go. We also know that Clarence Thomas wants to end contraception, gay marriage, and LGBTQ rights. Which he will go for, even if his wife is in prison.

With this Court covering for all manner of Republican treachery, we are at an inflection point. The coup is upon us, and we’ll have to come to terms with it. Which won’t be easy, because there is no template for how a country as big and powerful as the United States relinquishes its status as a beacon of democracy, and inexorably slides down into a quasi-Putinist monster state. History will have its eyes on us.

So please allow me a few extrapolations, a few things that are likely to happen if things continue in the present direction. A few things that scare the hell out of me.

If Republicans win the Senate — even if it’s not this year — they will absolutely kill the filibuster. They’ve watched Democrats dither about it, and they know it will fall eventually, so why would they not kill it at their earliest opportunity?

And when I say Democrats dithered, I refer only to Manchin and Sinema. I am still convinced that both these quislings have large untouchable deposits in the Cayman Islands and couldn’t care less if they win their next election.

In Sinema’s case, I doubt she’ll even run. She’ll retire to a villa by the Mediterranean, where nobody knows her, and where nobody knows how she drove a stake through the heart of her country, and perhaps her whole planet. I hope she enjoys her place in history.

If the filibuster indeed dies in a Republican Senate, a bill to ban abortion nationally will immediately come to the floor. Biden will, of course, veto it, but how long till Republicans take the White House again? It does seem inevitable, and with no filibuster, they can make real progress toward getting this whole democracy thing out of the way.

But let’s consider what else they might have in mind. What else might they go after?

How about the entire social safety net? Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security — probably in that order. Just watch. There’s a long history of hate there. They’ve only hated Obamacare for the last decade, but they’ve hated the rest of the safety net for far longer. They still seethe about Social Security, and that goes back to FDR, in the early forties.

They’ll also be coming after OSHA. Workplace rules cost money, and protecting workers will surely take a backseat to profits. To the GOP’s corporate sponsors, workers are just fungible assets — unplug one, plug in another. If someone dies in the process, that’s just a cost of doing business, and possibly a tax write-off.

They’ll be coming after the SEC and all consumer protections. All those pesky regulatory bodies that keep sharp operators from fleecing us will be swept aside. Let the fleecing begin.

They’ll be coming after public education, because public schools don’t indoctrinate kids the right way. Republicans know — as did Stalin, Hitler, and Kim Jung Un before them — that when you get them young, you get them for life. School prayer won’t just be permissible, it will be mandatory.

They’ll be coming after Health and Human Services. “Human” is neither a meaningful word to them, nor an item on their agenda. And their cavalier attitude toward “health” has been vividly on display through the whole pandemic.

They’ll be coming after PBS and all arts-related endowments. That stuff, after all, is just for liberals and homosexuals, so who cares?

And of course they’ll be coming after the press. Trump called it “the enemy of the people,” and they’ve been trying to muzzle it since the days of Spiro Agnew. But now — thanks to Putin, Xi, and Orban — they know just how to set up a propaganda bubble that lets no fact in or out without a thorough background check. At some point all news will be Fox news.

This was always the plan. This is the long game they’ve been playing forever, and it’s finally paying off. They knew if they kept at it, if they maintained their focus and their discipline and their blind hatred, the prize would be in reach.

Now they’re uncomfortably close to checkmate.

Yes, there are electoral remedies that could, just possibly, get us through the next few election cycles, but that seems a big lift. What’s needed is an electoral tsunami, and it’s hard to see that happening.

So yes, history has its eyes on us. It also has its hands on our throats.

 


Comments

  1. The scariest thing of all about this is that they have harnessed the power of cult tactics to "lock in" their voter base. They can screw their constituents (the mostly poor and middle class ones) seven ways from Sunday and they will continue to believe that their "protectors" are doing their best to stop the evil Democrats from doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nauseating. I continue to write my letters to Swing State Democrats but of course we need a landslide to recover from all the shit they are dumping out there. I don't want to say I didn't try but the writing is scratched into the wall....

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Dobbs is Just the Bludgeon We’ve Been Looking For

I recently had occasion to engage in a brief political discussion with a bright and well-spoken woman in her mid-twenties. She was clearly perturbed at what she considered the failure of Democrats to push through the progressive agenda she and her generation have long been promised. I felt her pain, knowing how hard the next twenty or thirty years will be for her age group, not just in this country, but planetwide. She will surely be a witness to spontaneous atrocities, environmental calamities, and a competition for dwindling resources that will reduce many of her fellow humans to savagery. At the same time, I was embarrassed — as I often am — that I’m passing along to her a nation in far worse shape than it was when I found it. Even so, I felt she was being a bit hard on the Democrats in power, most of whom have, more or less, behaved admirably in pursuing basically the same agenda as hers, even as they remain shackled to a constitutional system on the very c

Putin’s Information Bubble Springs a Leak

The cat is out of the bag. The Russian citizenry can now be quite sure there’s a real war on, with real people dying. Something about a 300,000-man military draft — more likely a million — serves to focus the mind. It was only a matter of time before even the most brainwashed of parents would figure out that their sons were highly likely to be blown to pieces sometime soon. Who would have thought Putin’s hermetically-sealed information bubble would be pierced, not by liberals or intellectuals or human rights activists, but by the militant right? I suppose it does make a certain weird sense. The left has either fled the country, gone to jail, or — in most cases — opted to shut up and lay low for a decade or so. So it’s the far right that, curiously, is giving Putin the most heartburn. Specifically, it’s the ultra-militarist bloggers on Telegram — boasting millions of followers — who are reporting from the front lines of the war. And they’re telling it like it

They’re Using ‘Trump’ and ‘Espionage’ in the Same Sentence

It isn’t every day that a former president gets investigated for espionage. One more first for Donald Trump. Yes, we’ve all been titillated by every sordid new development in the ongoing saga of the Mar-a-Lago files. But the big question, at least for me, remains: What was he thinking? Why would he take state secrets out of the White House, knowing full well it’s a felony? Not that he’s a stranger to felonies, but still. The press has focused mainly on the make-believe theories thrown up by the wingnut right to explain away the obvious. But I’ve not seen much on the espionage angle itself. Which is strange. Because the very word ‘espionage’ puts an unmistakably sinister spin on Trump’s motives. It’s not a word that either CIA or DOJ throws around a lot. But it’s a word both are using. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Trump it’s that life is about transactions, about trading favors. He is, by nature, a quid in search of the perfect pro quo. So while we don’t know how s