The anti-MAGA majority can stop GOP House madness
The anti-MAGA majority came through in Georgia to give Raphael Warnock a victory in the Senate race in the midterms. The win boosted Democratic control of the Senate. That anti-MAGA majority will be needed now that the extreme rightwing Republicans have seized control of the House of Representatives. | Brynn Anderson/AP

It is important to congratulate the tens of thousands of grassroots activists who helped mobilize the vote and participated in the midterm elections. All the voter mobilization, door-to-door canvassing, leafleting, phone banking, texting, rallying, and poll observing paid off in a great, though not complete, victory.

Consider what obstacles the pro-democracy movement faced. There was history where the president’s party suffers losses in the first midterms after the presidential election and there was Biden’s high disapproval ratings.

High inflation from monopoly corporate price gouging and lingering economic difficulties from the pandemic also hampered the forces of progress. The constant drumbeat of an inevitable “red wave,” amplified by “election experts” and the mass media who ignored evidence to the contrary, also did not help matters. They did not want to publicize the massive registration of new voters and the early voter turnouts they knew were working against the Republicans.

The GOP fooled the same pundits by flooding the zone with fake partisan polls showing Republicans leading or closely contesting in battleground races. The strategy worked. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) needlessly redirected funds from competitive battles Democrats might have won.

Voters weren’t fooled

But voters. alarmed over the assault on democracy, weren’t fooled. They bucked tradition, and the “red wave” never materialized. Democrats expanded their U.S. Senate majority by one and limited losses in the House. Tom Bonier said this was the best performance by a president’s party in midterm elections in history, which says a lot.

Here are some additional observations: An anti-MAGA, pro-democracy majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans exists in the country. The anti-MAGA majority has asserted itself in the last three elections, 2018, 2020, and 2022, and a fourth in 2016 if you count Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote.

Pro-democracy voters rejected MAGA extremism, scare tactics about out-of-control crime, migrants invading an open border, and QAnon conspiracies about fentanyl-laced candy.

Voters defeated election-denier candidates in battleground states in defense of constitutional democracy, the rule of law, and the peaceful transfer of power, which I believe is the fundamental dividing line in our politics today.

In reality, two elections took place: one in the battleground states where pro-democracy organization, money, mobilization, and movement building resulted in setbacks for MAGA, and another election in red and blue states, which were largely uncontested.

Voter mobilization in battleground states included $90 million invested in grassroots turnout by the DNC and $150 million by three major Reproductive Justice organizations. Campaigns targeted students, and youth turnout was the second-highest on record.

Grassroots voter mobilization and alliance building resulted in victories in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Wisconsin, representing the model for future success.

With an enlarged U.S. Senate majority, Democrats can approve Biden’s judicial and cabinet nominees and chair committees without GOP/MAGA interference.

Democrats won four “trifectas” and governorships in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, blocking future efforts to steal the presidency in critical battleground states. In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers is the only line of defense against a MAGA state legislature. Voters prevented the GOP from gaining a super, veto-proof majority.

Abortion rights and defending democracy emerged as the biggest issue for Democratic, independent, and some Republican voters. In fact, the election changed the day the SCOTUS repealed Roe vs. Wade. After the decision, the turnout of women voters, particularly young women and women of color, impacted every special election, the Kansas abortion referendum, and the general election.

Voters scored six pro-abortion rights victories, including in Kansas. Support for the pro-abortion rights amendment to the Michigan state constitution powered victories up and down the ballot.

Passed referendums

Voters passed referendums for worker’s rights in Illinois, expanded Medicaid in South Dakota, legalized marijuana in five states, repealed slavery in criminal punishment in four states, and expanded voting rights in several states.

But the narrow five-vote GOP majority in the House of Representatives (by a combined 6,670 votes!) guarantees political stalemate, instability, and political crisis for two years. The GOP caucus includes 18 members who won in districts carried by Biden, and they will be under enormous political pressure.

Had it not been for extreme gerrymandering in Texas, Ohio (using illegal maps), Florida, and the debacle in New York, Democrats would have won the House. Republicans may have reached the limits of extreme gerrymandering of congressional districts.

Trump-MAGA fascism dominates the GOP House Majority. Republicans differ on strategy, as we witnessed with their inability to unite behind Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. The Freedom Caucus faction that blocked McCarthy are ardent fascists, January 6 insurrectionists, seditionists, and QAnon conspiracists who straight-jacketed McCarthy with compromises that will become clear soon enough.

Ironically, the January 6 insurrectionists failed in an outside coup attempt two years ago but captured the House from within last night. The January 6 insurrection lives.

Fractiousness, chaos, vicious infighting and struggle for power between factions, instability, hostility to government, and constitutional limitations are features of fascism and the GOP House caucus.

The GOP is doubling down on the agenda voters rejected: abortion bans, voter suppression, cutting taxes for the rich, attacking LGBTQ rights, gutting Social Security and Medicare, reversing steps to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, and rolling back legislation passed like the Inflation Reduction Act. They will obstruct and undermine the Biden administration and try to block Justice Department investigations into their criminality. They will attempt to impeach Biden and cabinet officials after conducting show trial investigations.

The GOP will try to defund critical government programs by refusing to raise the debt limit setting the stage for an economic and political crisis.

The fascism, QAnon craziness, white Christian nationalism, and continuing assault on democracy by the GOP, the global alliance with authoritarian fascist governments and movements, like Putin and Orban, are daily reminders of the ongoing threat they pose to democracy.

The GOP extreme-right-controlled SCOTUS will continue dismantling democratic rights from the bench. The repeal of Roe vs. Wade was the Supreme Court actually taking away a constitutionally guaranteed right. Historically the court has protected and extended rights to groups not previously protected.

Denying the right to privacy puts other rights at risk. And if, as expected, the SCOTUS rules in favor of the Independent Legislative Doctrine in the Moore vs. Harper case, what Trump and his fellow seditionists did in 2020 to steal the election will be legal.

Two Americas exist

Despite an anti-MAGA majority, two political Americas exist. In nearly half the states, the GOP is creating “laboratories of autocracy,” cementing permanent regime party rule and imposing extreme right-wing agendas using a combination of voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering, restriction or elimination of citizen-initiated ballot measures, taking over state courts, and invoking the “independent legislative doctrine” now before the SCOTUS.

The MAGA, white power, and theocratic movement have a mass base. It is flush with right-wing and fascist billionaire dark money backed by the vast right-wing propaganda media ecosystem. Because most Americans do not support them, MAGA turns increasingly to dismantling constitutional democracy, political violence, and threats against election workers, elected officials, teachers, and librarians.

This hateful atmosphere encourages neo-Nazi attacks on the electric power grids and mass shootings in schools, synagogues, African-American and Latino churches and communities, and LGBTQ clubs.

Mass disinformation from foreign actors polluting the public space and information bubbles results in mass brainwashing and political polarization.

The other political America is states and cities where democratic forces in alliance with the Democratic Party have the upper hand, including blue states and many battleground states. This governing coalition is defending and expanding democratic rights, including abortion and women’s rights, LGBTQ, racial equality, voting, and worker rights, taxing the rich, addressing the climate crisis, and transitioning to a green economy.

We live in an era of a life-and-death struggle between democracy and fascism, authoritarianism, and autocracy. Pro-democratic, pro-equality forces, beginning with labor, civil rights, and reproductive justice movements, must now redouble efforts to defend democracy and defeat entrenched MAGA power wherever it exists, including places like Florida and Texas.

The battle to defend and expand constitutional democracy requires constant vigilance and engagement, mobilizing and uniting the pro-democracy majority, including in red states and red areas of blue states, to oust MAGA from power. It’s a daily battle in every political, electoral, ideas, and information arena.

We see what happens when voters sit on the sidelines and Democrats and mass democratic movements ignore them. Low voter turnout in 2010 led to the GOP takeover of many state legislatures and the imposition of extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression laws. We are still paying a heavy price. But 2020 and 2022 show what happens when voters are engaged and mobilized.

Bigger victories require building movements and alliances across multi-racial communities and making inroads into states and communities MAGA dominates, including white working-class communities, with fear and appeals to racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.

Both mobilizing Democratic base voters and making inroads among white workers and others swayed by the MAGA movement are necessary to unite a decisive multi-racial majority. No part of the working class can be abandoned or taken for granted.

It means year-round organizing, contesting every state and community, urban and rural, every office, and building broad alliances. It means significant investment in youth voter turnout, historically high in the last three elections. Youth vote Democrat by two-thirds, making the GOP a dead party walking.

Saving democracy and tackling humanity’s enormous problems and crises will be impossible without breaking the right-wing obstruction and power in critical states, government, and judiciary. The struggle continues.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He served as national chair of the CPUSA from 2014 to 2019. He is active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently lives in Chicago where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, and dabbler in guitar and occasional singer in a community chorus.

Comments

comments