OUR NEW CIVIL WAR
Snippets of news you have heard could seem like isolated crazy political things going on in our country, but many are connected to a larger battle over the future of our democracy. Will we continue to be a constitutional democracy or will we become a dictatorship? MAGA Republicans want to change our country into a dictatorship led by Trump. Democrats want us to continue to be a constitutional democracy grounded in the rule of law. This is the new civil war being waged right now in America. It’s going on in your hometown schools and local government where MAGAs are trying, and sometimes succeeding, in getting elected to school boards and local government jobs where they will try to ban books, harass people who are LGBTQ and implement the MAGA playbook.
Here are just three examples of current fights in our country that are part of the larger civil war we are in:
- The Republicans in Wisconsin are threatening to impeach Judge Janet. Remember Judge Janet? She won a special election in Wisconsin by an astounding 11 points. Her win included Republican and independent voters in deeply red districts. This should have told Wisconsin legislators that women in their state (and the men who love them) don’t want women to be forced to give birth against their will. But Republican legislators in Wisconsin didn’t get the message. They are on the verge of impeaching Judge Janet to keep her from tipping the balance in that state, which has been horribly gerrymandered by Republicans to keep control in the their hands. Judge Janet is the key to undoing that viselike control. The MAGAs know that if Judge Janet is on the bench, they will lose their grip on Wisconsin. They are deciding whether they will cheat to try to keep her from undoing their control. If she is impeached it will be for bogus reasons. 1) For saying that Wisconsin is a “rigged” state because it is so highly gerrymandered. (Duh! Everyone knows that’s true.) 2) For saying a it should be a woman’s choice when it comes to what to do with her own body. (That’s her First Amendment right to say so, by-the-way. Voicing that opinion doesn’t predict how she will rule as a judge.) 3) For accepting money from the Democratic Party. None of those things are impeachable offenses. All of those things have been done before by Republicans elected as judges in Wisconsin.
- Senator Tommy Tuberville is refusing to allow 301 military appointments to be approved by congress, which is crippling our military, all while he disses our military as too “woke” (translation=has a lot of Black folk and women in the ranks and the military believes in fair treatment for everyone). Tuberville says our military is unprepared. He claims that evidence of the military being too soft is that poems were read over a loudspeaker in a military airplane. (Huh?) Tuberville’s blockage is ACTUALLY directly impairing the readiness of our military by refusing to vote with everyone else in the Senate so these leaders can take charge in their new roles. The Senate rules require a unanimous vote by all Senators for military appointments to be approved unless there is a person by person Senate vote. To vote one by one on each of these appointments would cause the Senate to grind to a halt, impairing its ability to accomplish anything else. What is behind Tuberville’s intransigence is the MAGAs need to hold onto the Evangelical vote. The way to please the Evangelical voting bloc is to show allegiance to their anti-abortion stance.
- The House of Representatives is planning to impeach Joe Biden. For what, they don’t know. He hasn’t done anything wrong. They keep looking for and hoping to find evidence of corruption. They claim Hunter Biden and Joe Biden are part of a so-called crime family. There is no evidence of that. They point to Hunter Biden breaking the law. Someone seems to have gotten to David Weiss, the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden, to prevent him from allowing Hunter to have a plea deal. Instead, Hunter will be indicted and tried for the crime of failing to say he was addicted to drugs when he bought a firearm. Most people charged with the same crime are not prosecuted unless the firearm they bought is then used in a crime. That was not the case for Hunter. This is unfair. The only reason this is happening is that the MAGAs are trying to create a way to claim moral equivalence between Biden and Trump given the huge avalanche of criminal indictments facing Trump (91 criminal counts in 4 criminal cases not to mention Trump’s civil cases) News Flash: Hunter Biden is not Joe Biden. News Flash: 91 criminal charges for trying to end our democracy and stay in power after losing a fair election is not even closely equivalent to what Hunter Biden did by not admitting he was struggling with addiction when he bought a gun.
AMERICA’S ORIGIN STORY
The battle being waged is about whether our country will be a true multicultural democracy that accepts every American regardless of skin color or gender as a full fledged American with the right to vote, make their own decisions about their own bodies, love whoever they want to love… essentially the right to live free and be treated fairly. This was the origin story of the United States. Our country was going to be different from countries in Europe that were run by unelected kings and dictators who could impose their will as autocrats. We would have a constitutional democracy where everyone would abide by the laws and rules. We would treat our fellow citizens as equals. Rules would be followed by everyone and punishments for failing to do so meted out fairly. We would elect our representatives and they would represent our interests in congress nationally and in state houses.
Of course that origin story leaves out the way women, native Americans, and slaves were treated. But over time, there has been a growing progressive, majority vision that ALL Americans meant ALL Americans without regard for race, religious affiliation, or gender. That idea has grown, in part, because Americans are intermingling and intermarrying, working in business settings and educational settings where they encounter, work and study with people who maybe don’t look like them or pray like them but are good people, great friends, and partners. Skin color predicts nothing about the value of a human being; their ethics, moral core, goodness, humanity or empathy.
Even as that majority viewpoint has gained ground, there are Americans who refuse to accept it- to their thinking, the riches and rewards of living in a democracy should only be permitted for certain people. Guess who? Them! This group wants to going back in history to a time where they were more special. They also believe their culture is being diminished by a new order. They are fearful about an existential loss. Under threat, people can become petty, outraged and self serving.
This is where Donald Trump comes in.
Trump made it OK to be an awful person –racist, self-centered, aggrieved, misogynist, corrupt and angry. Although the sentiment was always there in the background, it was mostly unsaid comments (because these ideas were not supposed to be okay pre-Trump). Trump showed his approval for these unacceptable sentiments. When Trump followers say “He says out loud what we are thinking.” This is what they are talking about. This toxin has now fully infected the Republican Party. It has become the party of NO, the party of hate, and a cult that worships Trump.
No, you may not get an abortion – your government will force you to give birth. No, you may not learn the truth about our country’s shameful past with slavery. No, it will not be easy to vote if you are Black or Brown and you live in a red state in an area where we know you are not likely to vote for us Republicans. No, you may not have the States Attorney you elected if Ron De Santis doesn’t like him or her.
MAGA Republicans have boxed themselves in at this point. Their energized base is shrinking in size while the multicultural demographic grows larger and will soon be the dominant demographic in America. In a primary, Republicans will choose extremists, but in a general election those extremists will repel Democrats and Independents. Because failure is not an option, the GOP has decided to cheat. Cheating includes lying about whether they lost the election (The Big Lie), mis and dis information spread using social media, conservative radio, Fox, Breitbart, and other platforms. The battlefield of this civil war is social media, cable news, congress, school boards, churches, local government, libraries and much more. This is not just sad, it is also corrupt. But this is the hill the MAGAs will die on. The reason they will eventually die off is because the next generation of voters doesn’t think like this. Their worldview fears are more about climate change disasters, lack of control over their reproductive choices, student loan debt, and gun violence. They are less religious, unconcerned about the color of someone’s skin, annoyed by the assault on books and wokeness, and uncommitted a past culture. The MAGAs stand for almost everything Next Gen rejects.
THE BATTLEFIELD OF VOTING RIGHTS
To stay in power, Republicans in red states (Republican controlled state legislature) are changing the rules to make it hard for people living in districts known to vote for Democrats to exercise their right to vote. Where they succeed in getting extreme MAGA Republicans into positions of authority and control in government, those people work to dismantle democracy.
Given this situation you might be surprised to learn that the fight for expanded voting rights is winning out in some important states that will make the difference in 2024.
This year, more states improved access to voting than limited it, Axios’ Eugene Scott writes from new Voting Rights Lab data.
- 29 states + D.C. have enacted 70 laws expanding voting rights this year.
- 16 states enacted 29 laws to restrict voting.
Why it matters: Republicans are trying to undo some pandemic-era measures that improved access to voting. But voting rights advocates have struck back with some big wins ahead of the 2024 election.
Zoom in: Several of the most significant changes are in swing states.
- Michigan, where Democrats control state government, passed the nation’s biggest package of bills to increase access to voting. New laws ensure that student IDs are acceptable identification at the polls, expand early voting and improve tracking procedures for mail-in ballots.
- Nevada, where Democrats control the legislature but the governor is a Republican, improved voting access for Indigenous people and felons — and approved harsher penalties for tampering with voting equipment. (Politico)
Another surprise win for democracy took place when the Supreme Court justices voted 5 to 4 to uphold the Voting Rights Act in a case arising out of a fight in Alabama over racial gerrymandering (Milligan). The Court ruled that the Alabama state house had to redraw their maps to give Black residents one more district commensurate with their growing population. The Alabama state legislature drew a new map but they disobeyed the Supreme Court by failing to give Black voters an additional district. A three judge panel in the super conservative 11th District has now ruled that Alabama blew it and that a special master will be appointed to carry out the orders of the Supreme Court since the state house wasn’t up to the job.
WHY THE COURTS ARE UPHOLDING DEMOCRACY
Some people are surprised by the pro-democracy decisions coming from our courts. I am not. Even those judges appointed by Trump are not members of the Trump cult (with the possible exception of Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida overseeing the documents case). The Federalist Society is not a group of judges who want to end democracy and the rule of law. They call it the Federalist Society for a reason. These judges are generally pro-constitutional democracy and they believe in a rules based society. This includes most of the justices on the Supreme Court with the notable exception of Thomas and Alito who appear to have ultra rich conservative friends like Harlan Crow as puppet masters.
Our courts are generally upholding democracy and the rule of law with their decisions. For example, Judge Steve Jones properly denied Mark Meadows’ request to remove his case from Georgia state court to federal court. That was an expectable decision based on the law. Mark Meadows was not acting within the scope of his federal duties when he tried to intervene to help Trump corruptly urge Georgia state officials to “find him” the votes he needed to win after losing the election in that state. Meadows was acting (corruptly) as part of Trump’s political campaign when he intervened in Georgia. He broke state law. For that reason this case needs to be resolved in state court. And that also tells us that Trump will be tried in Georgia state court whether or not he tries first to remove to federal court. The reasoning will be the same for him as it is for Meadows. Trump will still try to remove his case to federal court because he wants to waste as much time as possible, hoping to get elected before a trial takes place. Getting elected president is his best defense- I have been elected president so I have to run the country and I can’t be in jail.
However, as more evidence of the civil war we are in, we also just learned that the Special Purpose Grand Jury in Fulton County had a Trump cult member hold out. There was one person in that Special Grand Jury who did not vote to approve even one of the indictments of anybody. Over and over this grand juror held out when everyone else who heard the testimony and reviewed the evidence voted to recommend indictments of an even larger group of people than Fani Willis’ grand jury actually indicted. There were 21 additional people recommended for indictment that did not ultimately get indicted- at least not yet. That list included Senator Lindsey Graham, and former Senators Kelly Loefler and David Perdue. Some of these folks may have accepted a plea deal and could show up to testify against Trump and others in the Georgia trials. But prosecutors are also now on notice that there may well be hold outs when these cases go to trial. This is most likely to happen in the documents case in MAGA infested Florida. The Trump cult has a grip on many people in America. They are soldiers in the war on democracy.