Do You Want The Democratic Party To Be As Ruthless And Brazen As The Republican Party?
"President Obama," Michael Moore told Chris Hayes on Friday, "wants to be the nice guy." Neo-Nazis-- I mean Republicans-- on social media sites now routinely taunt Democrats as "snowflakes." Are they up to leading the resistance against Trump? Ted Lieu, a Congressman from the stretch of southern California coastline from Malibu through Santa Monica, Venice and Manhattan Beach to Rancho Palos Verdes, is also an Air Force colonel. Saturday morning he told us that "It is possible that Donald Trump-- who lost the popular vote-- will have some ideas that benefit my constituents, California and our nation as a whole. On those policies-- such as withdrawing from the TPP-- I will support. What I will fight-- in every way at my disposal as a member of the United States House of Representatives-- are any policies that put our national security, our privacy, our economy or the well-being of Americans at risk. Any attempt to pass a sham infrastructure plan: I will fight. Any plan to gut the VA and privatize care for our Veteran heroes: I will fight. Any plan to create a so-called Muslim registry: I will fight. Any plan to gut the Affordable Care Act or Wall Street regulations: I will fight. Any plan that moves our nation further away from leading the clean energy revolution and undermines the undeniable science of climate change: I will fight. This is a challenging time in our great nation's history; a time that calls for serious leaders with serious policy solutions that make our nation healthier, more sustainable, more just and more prosperous. My hope is that Trump arrives at the White House and governs differently than he has campaigned."
The video above starts with a segment from Rev. William Barber discussing the pernicious Republican coup d'état in North Carolina. Barber, who you should remember as one of the most inspiring speakers at the Democratic National Convention this past summer. Friday he was on Democracy Now talking with Amy Goodman about how the white fascists-- I mean Republicans-- routinely steal elections and subvert Democracy in Nazi dominated-- I mean Republican dominated-- regions, like the Old Confederacy of slave holding states (and Dunces).
[I]f you rule the South, if you can control the South, you control 171 electoral votes, by just controlling the former 13 Confederate states. You control 26 senators in the United States Senate, which means you only need 25 from the other 37 states. You control 31 percent of the United States House of Representatives, which means you only need 20 from the other 37 states. And you control 13 governors and 13 general assemblies, that control state boards of election. So, if you break through that, then you have fundamentally changed politics.As Paul Waldman wrote over the weekend in the Washington Post, in regard to the GOP coup in North Carolina, "[P]erhaps nowhere in the country have Republicans moved more aggressively to solidify power by disenfranchising their opponents as they have in North Carolina... This isn’t just hardball politics. This is a fundamentally anti-democratic approach to government, one that says that when we win, we get to implement our agenda, and when you win, you don’t.”
I believe all of the pushback we’re seeing-- the voter suppression, the redistricting-- is because the extremists see the possibility of a third Reconstruction. They know that if we register 30 percent of the African-American voters, unregistered voters, in the South, and if we add to that whites and progressive whites and Latinos, you will have changed the South. And if you ever change that map and you ever gave deep down organizing that gets people to stop voting against their own interests, [have] grown-up conversations about race and economics, and people begin to see themselves as allies, blacks and whites, and no longer fear one another, then you have a third Reconstruction. I think we’re in the birth pangs of it. North Carolina is one of the places that points to it. Virginia is one of the places that points to it. The closing gaps that we’re seeing-- when you look at Trump, he didn’t win the South by the gaps that Ronald Reagan did. And if we have deep down organizing in the South, we can have-- we can push this third Reconstruction to full adulthood.
...I actually think a lot of what we’re seeing a last stand. I think when President Obama was elected, for instance, and you had this fusion coalition-- remember, he won in Virginia, won in North Carolina early on, Florida-- I think that scared extremists, which is why you had the 15 who got together and said, “We’re going to block him from doing anything.” You know, Jeff Sessions was in that group, who is now being proposed for the attorney general.
I think that the fact that Ryan and McConnell-- we talk a lot about the racism of Trump, but look at the racism of McConnell and Ryan, because, for me, racism is not the KKK or David Dukes or calling somebody the N-word. It’s policy. It’s systemic racism. So, for instance, Ryan and McConnell and Boehner have held up fixing the Voting Rights Act for over a thousand days, almost over 1,200 days, since June 25th, 2013, when the Supreme Court passed this ill-fated decision in Shelby. Strom Thurmond only filibustered the Civil Rights Act of ’57 for a day, 24 hours. These people have held up fixing Voting Rights Act Section 4, so that Section 5 can be implemented in states like North Carolina, for over 1,200 days. They’re afraid. They are afraid of this possibility of us organizing all of America.
And I think that that’s the same thing you see here. This Legislature now has been told twice, by the highest courts, “You are racist. You have engaged in racist voter suppression and racist gerrymandering.” They know they cannot win without this. For instance, what they did when they redistricted, they put 49 percent of black voters into 19 out of 50 Senate districts, and they put 51 percent of black voters into 27 out of 120 House seats. They did that to isolate, stack and pack the black vote, not just to disallow or keep black people from being elected, but to keep black and white people from forming fusion coalitions to elect progressive candidates. That’s what the game was. And all of that is falling apart now, every bit of it. And they see it falling apart in their face. And we have to understand what is at stake here.
And none of it, lastly, would have been possible if we had Section 5 preclearance. If Section 5 preclearance was in place-- and the people in the Congress understand this-- none of these laws that have been passed in the South would have been able to have been passed. And without them-- and I think the story, Amy and others, that we have not talked about is, people talk about this election. Ari Berman says we’ve had almost 900 less voting sites in the black community in this election than we had in 2012. It could have impacted more than a million African-American voters. And we did not have one discussion in our national debates, candidates for president, about voting rights and racism as it relates to voting rights. That was a tremendous error during this campaign.
It's not just North Carolina, of course, or even just the South. Maine stumbled into electing a fascist, Paul LePage, in 2010 (with 38.1% of the vote) and reelecting that same fascist in 2014 with 48.2% of the vote. His approval rating this month is 38% across his state but Friday he announced he plans to nullify the minimum wage law approved by referendum last month. The referendum passed with 834,264 votes (55.5%), fair more votes than LePage ever got from Mainers or anyone else. (His 2010 vote total was just 218,065 and his 2014 vote total was 294,533. LePage combined vote total for his two gubernatorial campaigns is 321,666 less than the votes in favor of a modest, gradual increase in the minimum wage. He ordered his department of labor to not enforce the changes and has every intention of trying to overturn the will of the voters in the legislature. Republicans control the state Senate, 20-15 but Democrats, who are extremely tepid to act against the colossally unpopular LePage control the state House, 78-69 (with 4 independents). The House has consistently refused to make any serious impeachment moves against LePage after a series of unconstitutuional acts. The Bangor Daily News described the bullshit Democratic efforts as "having no teeth or sustained meaning." That about sums it up.
Normally when a U.S. Senator leaves office during their term, the governor of the state appoints a successor to either finish the term or on an interim basis until a special election can be called and organized. On the other hand, when a House member leaves office during their term, there is no appointment, just a special election-- except in Montana. Trump announced that he's appointing Montana's sole congressman, Republican Ryan Zinke, to head the Department of the Interior. Montana's newly-reelected Democratic Governor Steve Bullock can appoint an interim replacement-- just like they do for senators-- and then has between 85 and 100 days to hold a special election. There's some contention about whether or not this law allowing for an appointed congressman is even constitutional-- the state's Democratic Secretary of State, Linda McCulloch, says it isn't-- and Bullock has indicated he will not be appointing anyone. Imagine if the governor was a Republican. Do you think there would be the slightest hesitation?
In a piece last week, George Lakoff pointed out how many Democrats, progressives and members of the news media are inadvertently helping Trump on a daily basis-- spreading his vile message.
Think about it: every time Trump issues a mean tweet or utters a shocking statement, millions of people begin to obsess over his words. Reporters make it the top headline. Cable TV panels talk about it for hours. Horrified Democrats and progressives share the stories online, making sure to repeat the nastiest statements in order to refute them. While this response is understandable, it works in favor of Trump.
When you repeat Trump, you help Trump. You do this by spreading his message wide and far.
Nobody knows this better than Trump. Trump, as a media master, knows how to frame a debate. When he picks a fight, he does so deliberately. He tweets or says outrageous things, knowing they will be repeated millions and millions of times. When the news media and Democrats repeat Trump’s frames, they are strengthening those frames by ensuring that tens of millions of Americans hear them repeated over and over again.
...When you repeat Trump, you help Trump.