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Worried about their future by @BloggersRUs

Worried about their future

by Tom Sullivan

“Democracy is on the ballot,” Barack Obama reminded 2016 voters who then did not heed his warning.

Nancy LeTourneau writes at Political Animal:

We have grown immune to politicians telling us that this election is the most monumental of our lifetimes. And yet that has never been more true than it is in 2018. That’s why I have a hard time focusing on all the chatter about which Democrats will be running in 2020. While I agree completely with what Paul Glastris wrote about how winning is not enough, I’m not sure what comes next if Democrats don’t win a sizable victory this November.

There’s good news and bad news in all of that. Because of the shock I experienced on election night in 2016, my trust and confidence in the American electorate has been severely shaken. But on the bright side, the fact that Trump’s consolidation of power is dependent on what happens in the midterm elections tells us that our democracy is still alive.

I hope she's right.

Writing for Madison, Wisconsin's Capitol Times, John Nichols reminds us how former state Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz in 2014 bucked efforts by fellow Republicans to game the system in their favor,

...telling Wisconsin radio hosts Mike Crute and Dominic Salvia: “I am not willing to defend them anymore. I’m just not and I’m embarrassed by this.”

“It’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics,” explained Schultz, who did not seek re-election that year. “We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.”

LeTourneau's colleague, Martin Longman, warns that keeping our democracy will be a fight. Republicans view suppressing the vote as their last, best chance for retaining power:
The simplest way of explaining this is that the demographics and voting preferences of the electorate have developed in such a way that higher voter turnout helps the Democrats and hurts the Republicans. This is unfortunate for two reasons. First, it gives the Republicans a strong motivation to discourage civic engagement and participation, and to go after people’s voting rights and all efforts to make voting easier and more convenient. Second, it makes the Democrats look like they’re being partisan when they promote civic engagement and participation and work to protect people’s voting rights. From the Republicans’ point of view, easier registration, more days of early voting, more voting machines/shorter lines, vote-by-mail, etc., are all partisan efforts to take away their jobs and their majorities. And, the thing is, it’s simply true that they’ll generally do worse if more people vote.
Yet, I would argue as the realities of a browning America settle into the Republican consciousness, their efforts to curtail the voting rights of their opponents, while more obvious, are nothing new. From the birth of the republic, opposition to "We the People" including everyone has been present among those who question the central proposition that all were all created equal.

Those attitudes simply remain dormant when "lessers" know their place. They become more pronounced in times such as these.

Longman continues:

It’s a genuine problem that things have developed in such a way that “delivering on the promise of American democracy” by encouraging people to participate in our civic life and protecting their right and ability to do so is synonymous with partisan gain for the Democratic Party. But that’s where we are. Fighting to win elections has become fighting to have meaningful elections at all.
Like a certain graduate, Longman and LeTourneau are worried about their futures. But concerns about meaningful elections and democracy remaining alive are perhaps too abstract for the times. There was a time in this country when we went to war to fight for abstract principles—for freedom and democracy, ours and others'. Now, those who have the gold and make the rules are laboring to ensure they and only they hold power. Principles be damned. This game is about power and for all the marbles. Fortunately for 21st century royalists, they have a population of loyal supporters willing to bow and scrape and chase their carriages hoping for a few coins flung their way.

"The greatest obstacle to voting is the feeling that it won’t matter," writes George Packer, noting that Democrat's propensity to sit out mid-term elections has handed power to those who have made democracy a window treatment for the new ruling class. Still, he sees some reason for hope:

This year, something seems to be changing. The new faces among Democratic candidates, the new energy behind them, suggest a party of members, not squatters. But, come November, they will have to vote. It’s the only thing left.
This is a fight to keep that republic Franklin warned us might be hard to keep. Saddle up.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.