I am worried.
Despite some good news about how Trump continues to have relatively lackluster approval ratings despite a modest climb in recent days, and the Republican Party has low approval ratings (55% unfavorable to 35% favorable), and many GOP women are planning to vote for Democrats, and more voters are registering, and how little the GOP has to run on, namely: tax cuts for the wealthy, trade wars that make goods more expensive for the average American, and Trump and Republican Party’s divisiveness and allegiance with white supremacists (I could go on, but I won’t bother because I bet you already know this). Despite all of this, it is looking like the tight Senate races in key states are trending Republican right now. Which is scary.
Arizona: Sinema (D) v McSally (R) 46/48
Nevada: Rosen (D) v Heller (R) 45/47
Tennessee: Bredesen (D) v Blackburn (R) 42/48
Texas: O’Rourke (D) v Cruz (R) 43.8/ 50
North Dakota: Heitkamp (D) v Cramer (R) 42/48
Why is this happening?
Republicans are throwing overwhelming amounts of money at these races with the blessing of Donald Trump who wants the highest possible numbers of Republicans in the Senate just in case the House impeaches him. If Mueller’s report comes up with compelling evidence that Trump allied himself knowingly with a foreign enemy to win the presidency, (this is still uncertain although it is pretty obvious that Trump obstructed justice), Trump may face articles of impeachment in the House, but the Senate has to come up with a hefty 2/3 vote to expel and that is not going to be in the cards.
Not only could Republicans gain in the Senate, but they could retain control of the House unless Americans get out to vote on November 6th, 2018. That is a truly frightening prospect.
Do Americans really understand what is at stake in this election? I know some people do, probably people who are reading this blog post, but others I talk with don’t even know what day is Election Day or whether they are a registered voter! Average Americans are just living their lives. They are more complacent than concerned.
I hear about Hispanic American citizens who are not planning to vote even though their relatives could be deported if Trump’s draconian immigration laws are implemented. They say, “Oh no, that won’t happen.” I talk with Lyft drivers and shopkeepers who have no idea why they should bother to vote or think that both Democrats and Republicans are BOTH equally to blame for the way our government does not work well for them. Some people think Democrats and Republicans cater to big business interests equally and damn both parties.
I talk with people who do not realize what the Republican Party has up its sleeve after the midterms. Listen up! They are planning to get rid of so-called entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Affordable Care. Who will benefit from that? Not the average American who falls on hard times. Not the average American who needs affordable health care. People seem to have no clue that this is coming. Republicans are lying in their ads and in their campaign speeches. They claim pre-existing conditions will be covered in their health care model despite the fact that there is a lawsuit that, if they win, will allow a demolition of that protection provided as one of the key safeguards of the Affordable Care Act.
Let’s be clear. Major dismantling IS what is coming if the Republicans retain Congressional power. McConnell is already talking about this move to get rid of the social safety net after the midterms. He is signaling to wealthy Republicans that they should keep funding these expensive races because it will pay off for them.
The Republican plan from the beginning was to pass tax cuts that added wealth to the coffers of the already rich and the corporate interests. They accomplished that goal. Doing that resulted in a deficit that has gone through the roof. That was Act One.
In Act Two, the Republicans suddenly realize that, “Lordy Lordy the deficit is so big, we just got to do something about it. Let’s see what should we do? Well lookee here, these entitlements are expensive. Why don’t we get rid of them!” That was the plan all along, of course. And if they keep the power in Congress, they can make Act Two happen right on schedule.
The Republicans want an Ayn Rand world. They believe in a dog eat dog world in which only the so-called fittest survive. Who are the fittest? They are! It is eat or be eaten in this mean world as they see it. If you are worthy of being wealthy, it is because you worked hard. You deserve all the breaks. If you are a white male you especially deserve them. If you are poor, it is because you are not worthy in some fundamental way. Maybe you are black or a woman or Hispanic, whatever the reason, you are a lesser being. You deserve nothing. You should be ashamed of yourself, in fact. The Republicans are eager to remove of all safety nets because they claim the unworthy are taking advantage of them. They brand them “entitlements” and without a doubt they are going to try to destroy those safety nets if they are victorious this midterm.
When I talk with people who are in the 98% and ask them how they are thinking about Trump and how their communities are thinking about Trump these days, what I hear is that many of them resent it that things from China cost more and that their health care costs too much, but they do not fully understand where to place the blame for that. They think Trump should do a better job. But they often blame both parties equally. The blame for this should be on the Republicans. They broke it. People need to understand that. I am concerned that many are just not paying attention.
We need to get out important information about how most of the Democratic House candidates (many women and many first-time candidates) are not using any PAC money or corporate funds for their campaigns so that they will not owe anything to special interests. Instead they are relying on Act Blue and other small dollar donations. They can do that because they will fight for the little guy. If you understand their platforms, you realize that what they stand for is a fight against the Ayn Rand vision of the world, that dog eat dog world without a safety net. Their policies are going to help the 98% have a way forward, get affordable education, affordable skills retraining, support when they retire, help if they get cancer or have a loved one who gets ALS. Democrats envision a compassionate, caring world where we help each other and people get the chance to improve their lot in life. That is not the Republican vision.
Republicans HAVE to rely on the big donors and PACs because their policies help those big money interests. Who do you think is funding those Republican races across the board? It is the same group that got the benefit of the tax break for the rich. The Koch Brothers. Sheldon Adelson. And many others. They are using the money they got from Trump and the Republican tax cut to protect their interests by getting more Republicans elected. If they retain control of Congress our country will slip ever closer to becoming an oligarchy like Russia. We need to push back hard by electing Democrats in this election. This is a tipping point election.
Here is my ask, my call to action.
If you are reading this and you agree with what is in store if we do not take back the House, be a change agent in the next few days before the election. If you have the chance to talk with people in shops, at church or Temple, in a taxi or Lyft or Uber, or co-workers, relatives, people at an event or a party, anyone you encounter in the next few days before the election, please take it on yourself to open up a political conversation. Help people understand. Tell them what is at stake.
People trust their neighbors, friends and co-workers and people they encounter face to face more than the main stream media these days. Get into a political conversation with everyone you can in the next few days for the sake of all of us who care about this country as a sustainable democracy.
I do this, and I urge you to do it too. I start by opening up the conversation saying something like- “How are you thinking about the election coming up/or/ Trump and the Republicans these days? Are you planning to vote?” I ask about whether they have followed what is going on with the tax bill and how they feel about it. I ask what they think about their health care. How do they feel about how expensive things are getting because of the trade war. I explain very clearly and simply to people what will happen to our country if the Republicans retain control of both House and Senate. I help them understand what Democrats stand for. I ask them if they want a country like the one Republicans are creating. If they don’t, I ask them to talk with their family and friends and explain why they need to vote for Democrats this election up and down the ballot.
This election our country’s future, your future, your children and grandchildren’s future- all of it hangs in the balance.