As the 2020 general election process comes completes the voting phase of its protracted course, I have been left like most of my fellow Democrats, wondering about what’s next, and hoping that the course forward will be in the hands of the voters without undue interference.
A column by opinion writer Catherine Rampell in today’s Washington Post argues that the Republican party is doing a sufficient job of interfering with the voting process, allowing Russia and other foreign actors to stand down from their efforts. This got me thinking about how we got here as our great democratic republic rocked through recent decades, and what this election means as we face the future.
History tells us that the Republican party’s anti-democratic position regarding the right to vote isn’t new. It’s been festering in Republican circles since the 1960s (remember Barry Goldwater). Even then, the threat of changing demographics was evident to Republicans. Given their core values and principles, they plainly saw their declining destiny as the nation’s population is becoming more diverse. They hit upon getting their core supporters out to vote, but that tactic stopped working for them when the Democrats started using it.
Unfortunately for Republicans, their voter suppression tactic has gotten entangled with virulent Trumpism — another truly anti-democratic tendency. This unholy convergence of anti-democratic philosophies has to be repudiated by Americans. Polling would lead us to believe that a majority of us want to see change and a return to more participation by all American citizens, but the real story will be told at the ballot box, however, the game may be rigged.
Erosion of democracy
But…if not now, when? Suppose Trump is reelected and holds a majority in the Senate. In that case, we shouldn’t expect a change, but rather more erosion of our democracy, more game-rigging to make it harder for the “others” in our society to participate. We can expect more government actions that will benefit the governing class and their enablers at the expense of the “others.”
This is not what the founders envisioned in the 1780s and 1790s. It is not what those who fought to preserve the union and abolish slavery envisioned in the 1860s. It is not what our older generation took to the streets for in the 1960s. Of course, we are not there yet, but we can be better than this if we continue to work. Does anyone think a second Trump Administration would have any interest in trying?
Let’s be ready to work for an outcome of this vote-counting process that accurately and fully reflect the majority of our citizens’ wishes.