In 2022, without a Democratic miracle, the GOP will almost certainly recapture the House, resulting in Rep. Kevin McCarthy becoming Speaker of the House. Of the 11 GOP candidates running for Secretary of State in swing states, only 2 believe Trump lost the election. The GOP, with Trump pulling the levers, is purging the House and state legislators of anyone who won’t walk in goose-step behind Trump. Bill Maher calls this a “slow moving coup.” And sadly, it looks like he may be right. What is going on? And what can we do about it? Read on!
In our Sept. 25 post, Terrifying Washington Post Op-Ed: First, Trump Resurrection, then Insurrection Unless We Get Serious Now!” Retake used a Washington Post op-ed to spell out what is going on throughout the country with Trump endorsements solidifying the election prospects of GOP Trump-hand-picked secretaries of state, governors, and state legislators. Bill Maher walks you through pretty much exactly what was laid out in the post we published, and while the video is clear, straightforward, and easy to follow, there are precious few laughs to be found.
There are a litany of scenarios that could undermine the coup attempt, including Trump being convicted of a felony that would prevent him from running for office, unless he finds a way to convince his shock troops that the trial was as rigged as the 2020 election and a Trump appointed judge reverses the conviction.
If you are hoping the Democrats will miraculously retain their already slim eight-vote margin, check out “Seats in Congress Gained/Lost by the President’s Party in Mid-Term Elections,” and you will see that since 1938, only two sitting presidents have seen their party avoid major losses in the mid terms:
- George Bush in 2002 — the GOP gained 2 seats;
- Trump in 2018, when the GOP also picked up two House seats.
Otherwise, the losses have ranged from significant to massive. Even the immensely popular FDR lost 81 seats in 1938 and 41 seats in 1942. Most recently, in 2010,Obama saw the Dems lose 63 seats, and in 2014, the Dems lost another 13. Given this history, it would be foolhardy to expect the Dems to hold the House. And it is the House that must certify the Electoral delegates sent from each state. If you don’t recall the pins and needles we all felt in 2020 as we awaited that process to conclude, imagine how it might play out in 2024, after listening to Bill Maher.
Bottom line, we are in a serious pickle and one that could leave us mired in a toxic brine for a decade or more. But if the Dems can miraculously control their messaging and unify to pass a real Bring Back Better bill, with high paying jobs, real infrastructure plans for rural America, and importantly, a free quality child care system, there may be a path to avoid disaster and begin to solidify a political base predicated on meeting the needs of working families.
Our September 25 post, Terrifying Washington Post Op-Ed: First, Trump Resurrection, then Insurrection Unless We Get Serious Now, was heavily based on an OP-ED from the Washington Post: “Opinion: Our constitutional crisis is already here: Democracy Dies in Darkness” by Robert Kagan. I’ve received lots of emails about Kagan’s OP-Ed and our article based on it, most recently from one of our supporters and occasional contributors, Adam Wasserman, who brought my attention to a piece by Ezra Klein, amplifying on Kagan’s Op-Ed, “David Shor Is Telling Democrats What They Don’t Want to Hear”. Klein’s piece begins:
Here’s the truly frightening thought for frustrated Democrats: This might be the high-water mark of power they’ll have for the next decade.
Democrats are on the precipice of an era without any hope of a governing majority. The coming year, while they still control the House, the Senate and the White House, is their last, best chance to alter course. To pass a package of democracy reforms that makes voting fairer and easier. To offer statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C [thus favorably altering the composition of the Senate]. To overhaul how the party talks and acts and thinks to win back the working-class voters — white and nonwhite — who have left them behind the electoral eight ball. If they fail, they will not get another chance. Not anytime soon.From The New York Times: ‘David Shor Is Telling Democrats What They Don’t Want to Hear” by Ezra Klein..
Klein points out that the next two years are critical to the future of the Democratic Party, to surviving the midterms and the 2024 presidential elections. The essence of Klein’s argument is that the Dem’s messaging is too often shaped by the priorities and policies generated by well-educated, white, urban political wonks who do not understand less educated, largely rural voters who are more concerned with putting food on the table than addressing social and racial justice. He asserts that if the Dems want to retain control of the House and Senate in 2022, and the White House in 2024, they need to focus their messaging on those economic justice issues that matter to Trump voters who have long and justly felt abandoned by the Democratic Party. Klein points out that Trump Dems are not limited to poor white males, but now include an increasing proportion of Latino and Black voters who have also been taken for granted by the Democratic Party.
Th good news is that 2021-22 legislative sessions offer abundant opportunities to deliver legislation that would make a difference to low-income white Latino and African American families. Two policies seem particularly responsive to low-income families and polling data shows strong support for both:
- Enabling Medicaid to negotiate drug prices, an immensely popular policy opposed by GOP and Corp. Dems;
- Developing free, high-quality child care. This may not seem the high impact policy that will resonate with poor working families until you realize that many families pay more for childcare than their rent or mortgage.
On average the US government spends $500 each year per child for early childhood education or childcare. While other high-wealth countries below spend an average of $14,000 per child and several spend 2-3 times the average. Indeed, see the NY Times graph below
Shocking data. Our bipartisan neglect of the needs of our children and working families is shameless and a uniquely U.S. phenomenon. Imagine you are a low-income working family with two toddlers whose care costs are north of $1,200 a month and your family income is $2,500 a month. Imagine how much your life changes if that childcare cost disappears. Imagine how effective Dem messaging will be when pointing out that every GOP legislator opposed that policy, while Biden and the Dems fought hard for it and got it done. Imagine if the Dems also increase the minimum wage resulting in this family’s income, rising from $2,500/mo. to $3,200/mo. That is the kind of messaging and action that can expose the true values, priorities, and allegiance of the GOP and position the Dems as the party of the working family
To address the needs of older families and seniors, a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices would address that population’s vulnerability to skyrocketing, life-saving medications. Policies send a loud and clear message that Democrats care about working people, the poor, and seniors.
These three policies will have an immediate impact on the daily lives of voters who currently are vulnerable to Trump messaging. And passing this legislation and developing messaging about the GOP’s unified opposition to Build Back Better (BBB) is something that Democrats can win on.
But Dems are doing a terrible job of unifying behind BBB and promoting that agenda. I had to look it up to verify that it was real. This is what I found at the White House website:
The Build Back Better Agenda is an ambitious plan to create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families – all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share.White House website
Every Democrat in the country should be talking about this policy. But in trying to secure the support of two corporate Dems in the Senate, Dem leadership is talking about removing the prescription drug plank and vastly scaling back plans to tax the rich, resulting in a smaller price tag and narrowed scope of the legislation. That may get a bill passed, but it will not provide a compelling platform to run on in 2022 and 2024.
In 2016, Trump campaigned on packing the courts, scaling back government, cutting taxes, and building a wall to address the hordes of non-existent rapists and murderers coming to America. While the wall was never completed, he delivered on everything else.
In 2020, Biden ran on restoring dignity and grace to the White House, rebuilding alliances with historic allies, and putting millions back to work with a bold infrastructure plan. He needs to deliver on this last promise, as it is the only one that addresses the needs of working America. Your campaign message can’t be “I would have done more, but McConnell wouldn’t let me,” not when Dems control the House, Senate, and White House. In that context, Dems must deliver on promises, not offer excuses.
in solidarity and hope,