President Donald Trump has shown the world just how precarious our democracy really is, and it’s unclear that we have the ability, let alone the willingness or fortitude, to fix it.
By David Todd McCarty | Monday, December 2, 2019
It started with Civil Rights and the Southern Strategy by the Republican Party to recruit southern whites who were unhappy with the Democratic Party’s move to support the Civil Rights Act. It continued with the Republican strategy to use abortion to motivate white Evangelical Christians to oppose the Democrats’ desire to promote New Deal policies. This was followed by both Reagan and Bush reversing The Fairness Doctrine, which allowed news stations to say whatever they wanted, leading to the advent of Fox News and the 24-hour news cycle. This caused even greater fracturing of the media landscape just in time for the Internet to blow it up entirely. Republicans gave us McConnell. Democrats were able to pull off eight years of Obama and he tried to work with Republicans and got nowhere. The Supreme Court gave us Citizen’s United, which gave us the Koch Brothers, unlimited dark money, the Tea Party and Paul Ryan. Twitter gave us Trump. Ryan gave us Trump’s egregious tax cut. Trump gave us Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. The Supreme Court now appears on the verge of becoming a conservative, activist court and will likely side with Republicans in a partisan split on important issues such as a women’s right to choose, the separation of powers, executive immunity to prosecution and the end of environmentalism as we know it.
We didn’t start this process yesterday of course. We didn’t just arrive here three years ago with Trump. We didn’t lose democracy because Hillary lost. Obama knew about climate change.
But some centrist Democrats believe we can fix this in a single election. That if we choose the right candidate, or literally any candidate they think can beat Trump, that we can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. That’s never going to happen.
We can’t go backward in order to go forward. We can’t return to the good old days of relatively sane politicians who mildly disagreed on ideological principles. We have long tumbled across the tipping point of democracy in America, where half the country doesn’t believe the news, and one party seems perfectly happy to lie to the American people in order to stay in power and support their precious donors.
It is so hard to run a political campaign, and requires so much political influence and fundraising, that once you get into office, you have no intention of leaving. What we end up with are politicians who are corrupted by the system, whatever the good intentions they might have had.
Gerrymandering. Voter suppression. Court packing. These have all been designed to ensure that a white, conservative minority can maintain control over the rest of the country, despite not having the votes to do so legitimately.
Here in New Jersey, the system is so corrupt that even though we are one of most densely populated states in the nation, three or four men have all the political control, and at least one of them, doesn’t even hold elected office.
It’s scary to think that we’re all on a runaway train with no conductor and no brakes, but that seems to be the story. We’re in a pretty dire situation and we need people of conscience to step forward and say, no more.
We need transparency and common sense laws. We need equality and the right to vote for a government of our choosing. We need restrictions on corporate greed and disastrous pollution.
We need leaders with vision, fortitude, compassion and strength. We need politicians who are willing to serve the people.
Can we find that anymore? Does it exist? Did it ever?