It is tempting to pretend our democracy is no longer endangered
While your dedication to improving the Democratic Party is admirable, something deeper is needed to understand Hitler’s rise to power. All of the parties in the middle and the right continued to support austerity policies in order to pay the reparations demanded of Germany by the Allied powers. Then came the Depression and a total economic collapse. Perhaps you can understand that it is not standing up to Trump that is necessary but a fundamental change in how the upper middle class supporters of the Democratic Party are repeatedly minimizing the necessity for reform in their Party thus opening up a path for Trump to destroy them. Hitler wouldn’t have come to power if the reparations policy had been rejected by other parties. Clearly large segments of the working class in the US are losing their middle class status. The Biden reforms would slow this trend. But if those reforms are not realized and are killed by Democrats themselves there is no electoral hope for that Party. When ordinary people see no hope for improvement of their lives through voting then that is the end of democracy, not Trump.
It has been a real fright to see that one or two people can destroy the attempts of the Democratic party. The system is so terribly broken. But we never had such a monstrous tyrant as trump with countries like Russia and China fanning the flames of propaganda rhetoric.
I never thought so many republicans would stand by after the very obvious deadly coup attempt. This is horrifying beyond comprehension, yet at every turn the Republicans pull off every unethical thing known to humankind, while the Democrats seem to have empty cannons.
I'm really enjoying your excellent book, movie, and TV recommendations. Please keep them coming!
When I was still on social media 5vyears ago, I posted the final clip from "Judgment at Nuremberg", where the former Nazi judge pleads with Spencer Tracy's prosecutor that he 'never thought it would come to this'. Tracy's response was that the horrors of the Nazi regime were inevitable once the first innocent man was sentenced to death. Today we see almost a million dead of Covid-19 in the US, hate crimes in the tens of thousands, Nazi flags defended by a sitting US senator, open corruption in every institution of government, white supremacists throughout the military and police departments, rampant voter suppression and voter nullification bills passing state legislatures, and 70 million people refusing a life-saving vaccine and comfortable with infecting others.Yesterday we saw McConnell, the most powerful Republican in Congress, grovel at the feet of Herschel Walker in an effort to appease the base. Yes, everthing we are seeing today and the likely horrors to come were inevitable from the moment Trump was nominated by the GOP.
Agree with you completely. It is terrifying to watch...as a Cuban born American I am seeing the parallels in many areas. Painfully Trump has caused divisions within my own family. Unbelievable to watch and hear Cubans idolize him when he is clearly the epitome of what we as immigrants fled from 60 years ago....I am losing another country I love
The U.S.A. is experiencing a unique status of national politics. It is not a television show!
It is bad!
It is not democratic!
It is not healthy! Human beings cannot live in a continuous state of conflict and maintain there health. Babies, toddlers, primary, middle and high-school students, college students, college graduates, newly-weds, retirees, grandparents: none can grow and maintain his or her health in the current, political status in the U.S.A.
The wealthiest minority of our citizenry control 98% of the factors of production and capital in the U.S.A. None of its member labor productively. None pays as much income tax as the least-earning. Members of the idle, elite, wealthy manipulate our government to sustain their extreme wealth and megalomanaical power over our citizens.
Simultaneously, laborers are working harder, earning less, saving less, uninsured against routine costs for health care, unable to leave their jobs for emergencies within their families. cannot afford education beyond high school, and do not know how our government actually keeps them poor, ill educated, desparate and in conflict with each other.
All above must, and can change, with sufficient rallying of a two-thirds of registered voters.
Pass the voters' rights bill! Pass Build Back Better. Save yourselves and democracy, now for the future of your great-grandchildren!
Vote for members of the Democrats at local, state snd national elections!
Sounds good, I for one haven't been pretending, know and have known the consequences. Shouting from the rooftops to any that would listen, found others such as yourself and those on this forum who understood where we were at who used their voices and platforms also I only wish more would have or will listen/ed and believe/d also. So saddened but will continue on for our country and those we will be leaving it to. Disgusted with the amount of corruption and pure selfish greed especially by those who are supposed to be representing we the people. Seriously, I have no words to describe what I'm feeling and if I did I most definitely would not be allowed on here.
I would suggest the 1956 film "The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers", an interesting combination of standard fare "horror" and searing social commentary. Written during the McCarthy era, it documents the gradual changing of an entire town into a community of automatons, ostensibly because they have been taken over by aliens in their sleep. The few holdouts are increasingly terrified by their once trusted neighbors, and wonder just what to do about what seems to be an unstoppable change in the fabric of their lives. One of the most truly frightening films I've ever seen. I think the change many have seen in their family and friends over the last few years into more and more authoritarin leaning group thinkers, that has caused many to abandon even the most casual relationships, is in many ways the most disturbing aspect of the current situation in our country. We did manage to throw off McCarthy and his thugs, and I hope we can lean toward our better selves in a similar way this time as well. As Winston Churchill famously noted, Americans always do the right thing, but not until they've tried all the alternatives first.
(Ignore the remake of the film from the 80's- it completely misses the point of the original).
Sure we can call our Representatives and insist they vote in ways to protect our Democracy. We can match in the street in our little towns. We can talk to our neighbors. But in reality so what. It takes years to vote the slime out! We just can’t fire them and send them packing. Trump was years in the making. The Republican Party has been organizing and orchestrating for this very situation for years. The Democrats were asleep. Even our Representatives, or else they are secretly in on it to.
What’s a lowly citizen to do?
My favorite movie on our political state is Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9. But in examining how we got here, this is how:
Opinion: Democrats’ biggest problem isn’t in Congress. It’s in your state capitol.
If you pay a lot of attention to politics, just about every day you’ll see news of some outrageous thing that a Republican like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said or did. But David Pepper, the former chair of the Ohio Democratic Party, wants you to be aware of something more frightening.
“For every Marjorie Taylor Greene, there are hundreds of statehouse members” just like her, Pepper told me. “They’re on the inside, drawing the lines and setting the rules.”
Pepper has written a book titled “Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call From Behind the Lines,” which persuasively argues that the site of the most pernicious corruption and assaults on democracy is not where congressional Republicans roam. It’s in the statehouses, which Pepper calls “the most corrosive danger America faces.”
All the battles we observe at the national level — over abortion, tax policy, the environment, health care and the fate of American democracy itself — are playing out in state capitols. Some years ago — while Democrats were essentially sleeping — Republicans figured out that it would be relatively easy to take over at the state level, then use that power to make it almost impossible for Democrats to win, locking in their control and creating a playground for special interests.
What makes it possible is the fact that so little attention is paid to state government.
Do you know who your state representative is? How about your state senator? There’s a good chance you don’t, even if you’re a political junkie. That’s because politics has been so nationalized, and there are so many sources of information on Washington, even as local journalism has steadily withered away.
The fewer reporters there are in state capitols, the easier it is for corruption to flourish. And that’s particularly true in places such as Pepper’s home state of Ohio, where through aggressive gerrymandering, voter purges and other voter suppression measures, Republicans have successfully engineered a system that completely insulates them from accountability.
The result is state legislatures populated by officeholders who are largely anonymous to the voting public, but who are surrounded by swarms of lobbyists. “No one knows who they are,” Pepper says, but “insiders in the capitols know exactly who they are.”
We have a kind of national myth that the federal government is where all the self-dealing and corruption happens, while states are the seat of wisdom and virtue. In fact, it’s often just the opposite.
States Republicans control — both heavily conservative ones and more closely divided ones such as Ohio or Wisconsin — are where the GOP is most aggressively working to create what is essentially “competitive authoritarianism." Under it, formal systems of democracy continue to exist, but there’s no real electoral competition.
Democrats haven’t truly mobilized against this assault on their ability to participate in their own governance, and we see it every election. “Democrats tend to get more excited about that one dynamic candidate” rather than thinking systemically, Pepper told me.
In recent years, huge amounts of liberal money flowed into virtually unwinnable races, not because of strategic thinking by Democratic donors but because a compelling Democrat ran against a reviled Republican.
So in South Carolina in 2020, Jaime Harrison raised a staggering $130 million to lose to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) by 10 points. In Kentucky, Amy McGrath raised $94 million and lost to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) by almost 20 points. That money could have turned the tide on dozens of statehouse races, where far smaller amounts are spent.
Pepper saw it in 2010 when he ran for state auditor. As the election approached, he watched money pouring in to his opponent’s coffers from strange places, like employees from out-of-state corporate interests. Why would they care about an auditor’s race in Ohio?
Well, the auditor sits on the board that draws state legislative lines, which means a role in whether Republicans could gerrymander the state beyond democratic accountability. Which would be very good for corporate interests.
Paying more attention to states also would highlight the problems of the corrupt, unaccountable system that exists in so many places — creating an opening to make a case for change to voters. “It’s inevitable that there’s a decline in public outcomes under the current system,” Pepper told me.
Schools do worse, services decay, problems don’t get solved — and that, Pepper argues, offers Democrats an opportunity. He points to Gov. Laura Kelly of Kansas, a Democrat who got elected in 2018 in a deeply Republican state by attacking GOP mismanagement.
Pepper has 30 pieces of advice for Democrats to address their problems at the state level — from passing federal voting legislation, to boosting local journalism, to directing more contributions to key local races. None is a silver bullet, and all will be made more difficult by Republicans’ success in purging accountability from the state political system.
But the most important message is that Democrats can’t make state politics an afterthought. “There’s almost a sense of resignation that statehouses are just going to be this way and we can’t do anything about it,” Pepper told me. “That resignation is when you lose.”
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post, 10/27/21
Reich's voice is timely & should be listened to by all of us. Always intelligent & responsible.
I am continually finding parallels between the Trumpists and "militias" and Hitler's rise to complete power in the late 1920's and especially after he talked his way into the Chancellorship in 1933. It makes me wonder when the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other armed far-right Trumpist lunatics will start wearing brown shirts.
It should be clear from my remarks on the subject of Denmark/Norway that I have not seen the Danish series Badehotellet and I probably won't. I cannot claim knowledge of every single aspect of Danish/Norwegian culture and I do not believe I made that claim below. But there was one thing about Danish culture, one expression that the Danes used constantly (and still use as far as I know) that drove/drives me crazy and that suggests that there is something intensely negative in the way Danes have set up their social lives, In response to learning about a misfortune affecting someone else or some other part of society or some other part of the world, the frequent Danish response (refrain) that I heard over and over again was: "Jeg er mig selv nok" (I have enough to be concerned about/involved with/engaged in with myself.) I'm pretty sure that the guests at Badehotellet and at Hotel d'Angleterre in downtown Copenhagen have said that very thing more than once in their lives. This smug, self-complete response to the problems/worries/crises of others always disturbed me---and still disturbs me. What it seems to suggest is that, well, I mind my own business and that's enough for me. It does not bode well for the people of the world as our crises are becoming global and we will all be impacted. Currently, the wealthiest in any society (even in Denmark) manage to buy their way out of a pinch and force what should be their burdens onto other people. I wonder whether this will always be so--it has been during my lifetime. If, on the other hand, the pandemic and the global environmental crises force us to give up "Jeg er mig selv nok," we may discover a better world---for all of us.
You do realize that if Trump did win the election as he claims he can’t run again: term limits. So how’s he going to squirm out of that one?
If you stand in front of an oncoming train and yell stop, what might you consider the likely result to be?
Your thoughts on the fillerbuster. I believe we need to get rid of the filibuster now to protect our elections from all of the elections security bills passed at the state level. It seems most people are afraid if we lose the midterm elections the republicans will have their way. It seems that these “voting protection/suppression” bills already put us in greater danger of losing the midterm elections to the republicans, if we don’t pass nation legislation aimed at making voting rights fair across the board now, they’ve already increased their chances of taking the midterm elections anyway.