The disgraceful nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court reinforced a notion I have come to understand about America for some time now. Beneath the exterior presented to Americans via the news, America is not a country with two political parties. It is not a country governed by democratic norms either.
Without an all out war to preserve the ideals laid out by the Founding Fathers, America as a concept will disappear in the not too distant future. Why? Because it is being hijacked by a radical cabal of ethno-nationalists whose sole aim is to solidify their position of power as the country goes through a drastic demographic change.
For many years now, Republicans have understood exactly what is at stake as the country turns browner, younger and more liberal. They see an inexorable march towards tolerance, diversity, and a more just economic system. Young people have been sold out by their parent’s generation and are fed up with rising health care costs, spiraling house prices, ludicrously priced higher education, and a disintegrating environment. They are desperate for change, and it is only a matter of time before the old guard dies out and they will be left in charge. The younger generations are also not buying what the Republicans are selling. They no longer believe that tax cuts for the ultra wealthy will “trickle down” and do not buy into the concept that America is synonymous with a white, Christian patriarchy. The uprising is coming, and it is taking many forms. The women’s movement that Trump’s election sparked was the first real indicator of the coming revolution, and the Republicans see this very, very clearly.
To combat the shifting demographics and disgust with their toxic brand of politics, Republicans and are busy rigging the political system to entrench their wealth and ensure their offspring continue to rule the country unchallenged. This is not being done quietly either, and the left does not appear to fully comprehend the game being played. The GOP is engaged in a deadly battle for the future of the country, and they will go to any lengths to win. They have backed a sexual predator to become president of the United States. They have backed a pedophile for the US Senate. And now they have rammed through another potential rapist to the Supreme Court. If that does not tell you how serious they are about winning, then nothing will.
Republicans were not interested in whether Donald Trump, Roy Moore, or Brett Kavanaugh were guilty — they were interested in whether they could help defeat Democrats. The history of this is clear, and if the left does not learn from it, they will continue to lose despite having the majority of the country behind them.
As the GOP lined up behind Donald Trump after their disastrous primaries in 2016, I began to understand exactly what has happening to the country. It took some time for the landscape to clearly emerge, but as the reality of Trump settled in, it became clear what the GOP really was. The party had finally come to terms with itself –that it was not really a political party in any meaningful sense of the word. They saw that the public understood how cowardly they were and how easily a con man could beat them. And rather than lose with dignity and denounce a charlatan who would represent the gravest threat to American democracy in history, they got behind him instead and condoned the racism, petty vindictiveness and hate. The GOP as a bonafide political party had been dying for years, but Trumpism finally killed it and let the real organization emerge. This bare boned organization is about maintaining white, male, control of the country, and nothing else. It no longer apologizes for its misogyny, its racism, or its naked greed. The GOP wants power, and it will lay waste to anything in its path.
Mitch McConnell perhaps best exemplifies this new Republican Party. He is a creature of the swamp — an amorphous reptile highly adept at manipulating the political system to work in his interests. To McConnell, Trump is simply a means to an end. He accepts Trump because he understands power, and knows he is their last shot at sewing up the coup they have been organizing for decades. As long as Trump delivers the goods, McConnell is more than happy to play along.
Rigging the Supreme Court for the next generation is a major victory for this new Republican Party, and they will not stop there. As Charles Blow notes in the New York Times, it is important to view what is happening as a war that is happening on all fronts.
“We have to learn to see everything around us, all that is happening on the political front, through that lens,” he writes. “This is what the extreme measures on illegal immigration and even the efforts to dramatically slash legal immigration are all about.”
“This is also what the demonizing of the visa lottery program is all about,” Blow continues. “As the Pew Research Center pointed out in August: “In fiscal 2017, which ended Sept. 30, the largest number of visas went to citizens of African countries” while applicants from European countries and from Asia received fewer visas than before.”
“The effort to demonize the lottery program is an effort to preserve America’s white majority, against the statistical eventuality, for as long as possible.”
This is one small example of the ongoing assault on American democracy, but it is a symbolic one. The Trump administration is unashamed of its racism and unafraid of appealing to racists. There are no dogwhistles anymore, because Republicans have finally understood they don’t have to bother being nice to brown people or women. They can elect rapists to the Supreme Court and mock their victims knowing full well their supporters will line up behind them.
It is paramount that the Democrats understand what is happening here, and learn to fight with the same unashamed ferocity that their opponents fight with. They do not have to stoop to the same disgusting tactics, but they must play to win and they must use everything in their arsenal to wreck the conservative agenda for decades to come. How do they do this? By riling up their base to be as motivated as possible about taking back power.
As my colleague Justin Rosario wrote yesterday, this could mean pledging to nominate two more Supreme Court Justices if Democrats take back power in 2020:
The Constitution does not set a size for the Court and it’s up to We the People, not “What Best Suits Republican Greed and Corruption.” Mitch McConnell and the Senate GOP broke America. We can either fix it over their howls of protest (which, frankly, should be a bonus at this point) or be cowed by their bullshit and let their coup succeed.
The bottom line here is that anyone serious about implementing a progressive agenda has to now be serious about expanding the Supreme Court
This also means promising to impeaching Trump and Kavanaugh should they take back the House in November, and opening up as many investigations into Trump’s criminal behavior as humanly possible. The Democrats can also promise Americans Medicare for all, free college, and a radically pro-environmental agenda going forward. There can be no more piecemeal politics designed to appeal to “both side”, and no more cautious rhetoric about what they believe in. The Democrats must shoot for the stars, because if they do not, they have no chance of reaching the moon.
Trump and the GOP win because their voters believe they will take action. And they are not wrong about this. Liberals don’t believe Democrats will take action, and that needs to change before the country is gone for good.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.