Food for thought
As we navigate our way through another week and with the Derek Chauvin trial now behind us, I thought it might be an idea today to do a broader post on my general thinking as things stand. Looking at my Twitter feed, things have certainly slowed down at the moment. It's almost as if we are waiting for the next crisis to ignite debate. There is actually quite a bit to talk about, but day by day it becomes less newsworthy. More people get shot, new voter suppression bills make their way through state legislatures and various Republicans place their racist values on full display. All this stuff is becoming the norm now, so it's almost not considered news.
Slowly, the nation is being sedated by what to the outside world looks to be a set of major societal problems. The media focus has been on the Derek Chauvin trial and other news has been relatively incidental. It was no surprise to me to find Tucker Carlson suggesting that Derek Chauvin was innocent. It's an important part of his 'blacks are a danger to whites' strategy, that helps feed the base some red meat. The further right you go, the more ludicrous the statements. From jury tampering to jurors being in fear for their lives, to Chauvin now being a 'political prisoner'. The nut jobs are out in force. The right, now appears to be pinning their hopes on an appeal based on the statement by Maxine Waters. I know we laugh at these people, but many uneducated white voters soak it up like a sponge.
Meanwhile, the GOP continues to be hard at work coordinating its voter suppression strategy for 2022. In Ohio, proposed legislation makes the new election laws in Georgia look positively fair. According to a draft obtained by More Perfect Union, state lawmakers are preparing a raft of measures to decimate early and mail in voting, directly targeted at minority communities, the poor and young voters. Voters will need TWO forms of ID to vote early or by mail, with each method having slightly different requirements. Without a driver's license, it will be very difficult to prove ID. The plan is to ban drop boxes altogether, so it would make it almost impossible to vote by absentee ballot. The real kicker is the introduction of a 'poll tax' by removing pre-paid postage on mail in ballots. Effectively, a voter will have to pay to vote by mail. Proposals also reduce early voting, with no voting on the last Monday before the election, a day that has traditionally been the most busy day for voting. Whilst these measures are currently only part of the draft legislation, it gives you a clear indication of the direction of travel Republican controlled states are taking.
For months now, I have been talking about the relevance of Trump and the electoral viability of the Republican Party. I have compared Trump to a washed up rock star that is a legend in his own lunchtime, but still I see mainstream media falling over themselves to report on his pointless false mutterings and attempts to remain relevant. Which part of 'He's done' don't people understand? He will only become a danger, if he is given back his Twitter account. Whilst I have not dismissed that as a possibility as we move closer to 2024, as of now he's not a threat. Without him having access to that bullhorn, the Republicans are swimming against the tide.
I read a very interesting article on AlterNet by Alex Henderson about the vanishing Republican base, which is in perfect alignment with my thinking for a while. I would highly recommend taking a moment to click on the link above, it's an excellent read. I wanted to pull out this small segment for your consideration;
"...TargetSmart, Rubin notes, has "compiled information on more than 98% of those who cast ballots last year." The firm reports that "non-college educated Whites dropped from 53.8% of the electorate in 2016 to 49.2% in 2020" and that "nationally, total turnout increased by 12% relative to 2016, turnout among (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) voters surged by 43%, and Latino turnout increased by almost a third of all votes cast." Rubin notes that although former President Donald Trump performed better among Latinos in 2020 than he did in 2016, he "still lost 65% of these voters."
Another interesting stat relates to the shrinking number of White evangelical voters. Trump was quite popular among far-right White evangelicals. However, the number of U.S. residents who regularly attend a church, synagogue or other type of religious institution has fallen below 50%. Gallup polls show that in 2020, this was the first time in over 80 years that the number fallen that low. Taken in the round, the Republican base is shrinking beyond the point that there is a way back. The position they find themselves in right now, is that they cannot afford to alienate the most rabid MAGA supporters, because they have now become baked into their electoral numbers. Republican strategists are wide awake to the inevitability of demographic change. With churches losing young attendees faster that Trump can empty a supporter's bank account, the writing is on the wall. The only way they can win elections, is to disenfranchise those that vote against them and that's exactly what's going on in Republican States up and down the country. Gerrymandering and voter roll purges are now an every day reality that the Dems are forced to respond to. The GOP knows how labor and time intensive it is to re-register people, especially if they can introduce more obstacles into the process.
In order to keep non college educated white men onside, the GOP has no alternative but to fuel racism and create chaos to instil fear. It's an age old tactic that has served them well over the years and it has now become their refuge in a bid to maintain electoral relevance. It is this strategy that is feeding the 'white replacement' conspiracy theory. They have to make the case that Democrats want open borders to add new supporters to electoral rolls. It's a message that resonates well and the GOP messaging machine is great at 'fear'.
Without removing the filibuster, the Dems really have nowhere to go on electoral reform and the GOP know that. You can be sure that no Republican will support any bill in the Senate that will overturn their attempts to disenfranchise Dem voters. They are very aware that federal election law would be a disaster for them moving forward. It is simply not going to happen, because turkeys will never vote for Thanksgiving. The only way around this, is the biggest mobilisation of minority voters in US history and it needs to start NOW. The Dems need to prepare for the reality that unless they get every black and minority voter registered to vote and then get them to vote in person, the GOP wins. It really is as simple as that. It is a huge mountain to climb and that's before you even consider the fact that Republicans know the new laws will create huge voter lines, meaning time off work will become essential to vote. The only other option is for Joe Manchin to have a road to Damascus moment and become a real Democrat, but to date I haven't seen any flying pigs!
The future electoral success of the Democrats is wholly dependent on minority voters, so it had better make sure it represents their views in its policy decision making. The days of taking the black vote for granted is long gone.