There are no overarching policy preferences or issues in the upcoming midterms. There is only one huge existential question.
Speaking from Australia, I am of the opinion that every MAGA Republican candidate should be made to visit the American cemetery on Omaha Beach, as I have done, and walk among the graves of the kids who gave their lives to protect the world from the very policies the GOP is espousing. America once believed in saving the world for all that was good, and was a beacon for all nations who aspired to a just and compassionate society. Where has that light gone?
Early voted. Straight Democratic. Thanks for another key insight, Robert.
There are some dark thoughts that I have carried with me in recent years. They center around who we really are in America. How moral are we? How ethical are we? Do we genuinely believe in equity and empathy? Are we still a society, or have we become to self-absorbed to care? Have we devolved into valuing power over freedom? Would we advance our position in society at the expense of our brothers and sisters?
I fear I know the answers to these questions........and I feel helpless to do anything about it.
If we can get through this, Democrats will need a bold, progressive agenda in 2024, a platform of the left. Democrats have been corporate for far too long.
My wife and I are both 71. We went out canvassing to get out the Democratic vote today in our district, which is very much in play. We were using a voting list that was selected for homes where people don't regularly vote, so our experience may have been skewed. This list of households was emotionally challenging for us, because some of these folks are tuned out. One young person of voting age answered the door and said, "I don't care," and turned us away. A blue collar guy with a big work truck wanted to engage us in conversation but wanted to tell us his thoughts as someone who is "fiscally conservative and socially libertarian, which means, I'm for people doing what they want, but I don't want to pay anything for it." I knew better than to continue that conversation too long, because we wanted to reach those who may be still be deciding their vote. As we finished our conversation with him, a jogger ran by and thanked us for what we were doing. We may have gained a vote from one person who didn't know about our candidates down ballot and was interested in hearing our summary of their positions and taking our literature. At our age, we can't walk these neighborhoods for long. We may be able to eke out a few more votes, and I know that many of us who believe in democracy feel desperate to avoid the possibility of losing a house or senate majority by a few votes. That is a remote possibility, which is why we are out canvassing. But I am also taking a longer view.
If MAGA Republicans flip one or both houses of congress and install their loyalists in national, state and local positions, it will be a mess, but the world won't end. We Democrats are in this position because of much of what Prof. Reich has written about, which is the corruption and inequality in our system.
For the rest of our lives we will live in a world impacted by climate change and the challenge to govern ourselves in the face of that. I've read credible estimates of climate change impacts and believe Vaclav Smil's assessment that we are already committed to 2.3°C global warming. I've read a nightmarish vision of the hardships people will have to endure even at 2°C warming in last weekend's New York Times, but neither of these scenarios predicts human extinction.
In the United States, if that's what it remains, we may need to form new political parties and businesses of shared ownership that learn from the breakdown of what we had earlier. The masses of people would not be happy in an America First one-party system, and that system will rot from its incompetence and corruption. Masses of people have the power and are capable of forming ideas based on goodwill and common sense and will have big problems to solve, but that's how we evolve as a species, through sufferings and the lessons we are able to learn and remember.
So my attitude is one of doing what we can in the time remaining to us, helping mentor younger political activists, and perhaps I'll host local conversations so we can all better understand and learn about the many factors at play in our current upheaval to become more skilled in addressing it.
Professor Reich, you voice unequivocally, the worries of every American who has been paying attention and who knows the true value of Democracy. “It is whether our democracy can endure.” And whether half the country cares enough to Vote for the survival of Democracy, our Democracy.
I share your anxiety. I am sick to my stomach with worry. Of course, I will vote for Democrats as will all my friends and most of my family.
The Republicans are liars. They have purposely undermined our democracy. The most craven and sickest among them are their leaders.
We need all democrats and all people who have a conscience to vote.
I wish you were wrong, but am afraid you are right. The problem stemming almost entirely from the right side of the political spectrum is basically that they built a very wealthy, lucrative, top-down (trickle-down) political system that is teetering on the brink of collapse and they know the only way they can hold it together is a dictator. Just like Putin, a Russian Imperialist, wants to hold the Soviet Empire together. That hope is gone for Russia, but Putin is draining their natural and human resources to get it back. The right think that is a good thing, that Putin is a strong leader, yet they don't seem to realize that winning that battle would mean the end of, well, just about everything. You can't hold a top-heavy building upright if the foundation is weak. Democracy, distributed, people controlled governance, is our foundation. Flickers of it still exist, like the Kansas abortion vote that surprised nearly everyone. That could blaze brighter if given the chance. Young voters (and a few of us old codgers) will support action on climate change, a move to clean energy, LGBTQ rights, a woman's right to choose, housing for the poor, universal pre-K through college education, and universal health care if given the opportunity to say so at the ballet box. Instead Republicans have made it all about "government is the problem" and only "we can fix it", depending on the support of the top heavy wealth class (the 0.01 percent) to make that happen.
I'll bet money that almost every one of you reading this either have already voted, or will be voting by Tuesday, unless circumstances prevent you from doing so. That's great, well done. But that's not enough. You're here because you're engaged, your concerned, and for the most part, you believe your vote can matter. Many of you probably also live in states or urban areas where a majority tend to vote with a similar political leaning. Some of you may live in places where so many regularly vote Democratic, you vote mainly to satisfy yourself that you've done your part, but you know that your individual vote is already in the strong majority.
But then there's the rest of your fellow citizens. Many of them are discouraged. Many of them are overworked, exhausted, stressed, and trying to keep it together. Many of them don't have a conviction that their vote matters or will change anything. They need your help.
You may be in a place where you know that your one-more-vote among millions who already agree with you and will sweep your state isn't really going to change our country for the better in a measurable way. If you truly want to make your influence actually count, your fellow citizens need you. You're needed to encourage others to vote, especially in other states where tight races mean the difference between someone competent and empathetic ascending to office, or someone beholden to the dark extremes of our society who is all too eager to magnify the anger, malice and lies. The voters there matter even more, because where they are, massive shifts come down to as few as 5 votes per precinct (as was the case in certain states in 2020).
So if you are glad you will vote or have voted, good, be glad. But if you want to make sure you make a difference and can tell others you gave your best, go sign up and encourage those downtrodden fellow citizens of yours in battleground states to go and vote, and get five others to vote with us who otherwise might lose heart and give up. Go search up phone banks and texting campaigns (which you can do from home, privately, through the organizations that have it set up and waiting for you to join), and just give an hour or two to this effort. Tell someone they matter, and encourage them to make sure to vote. Then you can be sure you've made a difference when it really mattered.
Enough! I respect Dr. Reich and I know he is both voicing many of our concerns AND doing what he can to mobilize the Democratic vote. But enough of this hand wringing. So a few lawbreakers get voted in? We will litigate them and sue them. Some idiot won't do her job and certify an election? She will be sued, impeached, litigated. Some of them get away with it? The tide of public opinion will turn against them when it becomes even more obvious what they are doing. What Democrats need to do is play hard ball now to limit the scope of the problem, then play the long game to get ready for the next election, then work hard (even if we are the minority party in Congress) over the next election cycle to block the worst that the criminally insane seditionists and the cynically ambitious traitors try to do. That's it. Ms. Pelosi can freeze up the House and Mr. Schumer can freeze up the Senate. Mr. Biden can block anything that gets through. And then let's hire more comedians to illustrate how crazy, misguided, un-ethical and traitorous they are, and how ridiculous their "policy" ideas are. Let's get Franken back in the Senate as comedian in charge... I wish we could get Will Rogers back too....
The first big lie: "It could never happen here."
President Biden spoke urgently to the nation last night about this very matter, that American democracy teeters on the brink. We must raise the alarm, and share these deep concerns. In the wise words of Yogi Berra, it ain't over 'til it's over. Each of us can work to make sure it ain't over.
Of course democracy is in danger in the USA. Money has and does rule politics in our country for decades. Both parties have been corrupted by big money influence. I held to the hope that the Democrats might " man up" and really tackle this issue and yet they remain silent. There is little hope for democracy as long as money and lies are allowed to rule unchecked. Strict campain finance laws and term limits might give us some hope. Little chance of getting that accomplished as long as there are riches to be garnered through politics.
I voted absentee sometime ago, and of course it was straight Democratic.
The concerns you raise for today are real, and you have contrasted them with concerns in the past. Now, you mention McCarthyism and the main concerns of the 50s as beginning things that worried you, at a time when you must have been in grade school. Well, maybe you had alert teachers who guided you; you’ve already mentioned one teacher. When I was in grade school (born in 1945), I certainly was unaware of the real issues. I know you’ve devoted your life to looking at our government and being concerned about how just it has been to everyday people. You know we still don’t have a decent federal minimum wage, or a Violence against Women Act ratification, and so on.
I’m glad you’re calling people out to campaign for true democracy. Thank you.
Already voted and proud of it! I can only hope we get the massive turnout we need to keep the rising tide of fascism at bay in America.
What are we voting for?
Republicans ( insurrection ) propagating falsehoods about the electoral process.
Democrats ( Preserve Democracy ) Respect voters' freedom to exercise their lawful rights to register and vote, free from interference, obstruction, or intimidation.