Of course it’s not really that it’s on in restaurants, where it’s just ambiance (if you can use that word for nut jobs lying soundlessly in the background) the bigger problem is that it’s on in the homes, but if this election brought anything into clear relief it’s that the Foxification of the nation is maybe our greatest danger.
It was a wave. It may not have felt like one on Tuesday when we were waiting breathlessly for the flips, as the marquee races were going south, but in time, with analysis it’s clearly a wave.
Nearly 40 seats in the House
Only 1-3 seats lost in the Senate (still counting in AZ and FL and a run off in Mississippi that, yes, will not likely go blue, but remember Alabama?)
350+ state legislature seats
A lot to applaud. That’s a wave, people. And that is a base to build on for 2020.
And yet, it feels like the Senate, and therefor court appointments, are out of Democratic reach because of those smaller rural states that just seem to be under the tribal thrall of the Republican party. In the last 10 years we’ve seen states like NM, CO and VA turn blue. And make no mistake, with great, great candidates GA and TX are now purple! AZ too. On the other hand, in this time period we’ve seen OH and MO slip over to seemingly solid redness, maybe. Ohio did re-elect Sherrod Brown, so maybe they’re not lost and if a Beto was running there, maybe they’d go blue. Florida is just fucked, you can’t know what they’re going to do, they’re crazy. But all those little red states with fewer than a million people and 2 senators seem completely out of reach (Tester in MT notwithstanding). So how the hell does the majority of the country get back the ability to have a say in some of the most vital parts of government including court appointments? Not to mention the precariousness of the still living farcical Electoral College.
Let me first state the problem: 1. Fox News, talk radio and various profoundly dishonest right wing outlets have their propagandistic claws in too large a segment of America. 2. Besides their usual demonization of Democrats, they’ve screamed about the absolute necessity of conservative judges and justices for decades so that even when a fair minded person throws off their programming for a moment and listens to a talented Democratic candidate, all they have to hear is “but the Supreme Court” and they run right back to the red team.
The solution: Democrats, progressives, liberals have got to break the spell on red voters regarding the courts. Of course, we have to have charismatic, smart, personable candidates that can explain their positions cogently about everything. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody ask conservative individuals what exactly conservative courts achieve for them and debunk that there’s anything good for the average worker, farmer, citizen in the anti-worker, anti-consumer, anti-voter judgments coming from the conservative courts. Citizen’s’ United did not help these people. They’re never going to get a full national ban on abortion. Pro business rulings against workers can’t help them. Making it harder to vote? Okay, right now they’re making it harder for brown people to vote, but the precedent can be applied to anybody.
The fact is that conservative propagandists have effectively deified the courts in the minds of their lowliest followers with no actual connection to the real decisions laid down by those courts. Just like how poor conservatives keep voting for elite business interests because of social wedge issues, there is as total a disconnect between what the courts do and how hard these average citizens root for them, and effectively against themselves.
That spell has to be broken. And that is something I don’t hear anybody on the left talking to those people about.