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A look back at my work with the LGBTQ community. I first became active in the gay rights movement in 1980 when I launched my LGBTQ jo...

Saturday, July 24, 2021

How Dems May Surprise in 2022


Few pundits are giving the Democrats any chance of holding the House of Representatives or clinging to the narrowest of leads in the Senate as a result of the 2022 midterms. There are significant reasons for the long odds.

One, history is not on the Democrats’ side. The party that controls the White House almost always loses seats in the midterms regardless of how the president is polling. It makes no sense, but that’s just the way it happens. Secondly, with most states controlled by Republican legislatures, gerrymandering congressional districts will give the GOP a significant boost. They know this, and they act like they are playing with house money.

Furthermore, with COVID-19 still attacking our bodies and the economy in whiplash mode depending on how the pandemic plays out between now and next November, the uncertainty will clearly be blamed on Democrats and the Biden administration. Again, it makes no sense but that’s how it goes.

And with McConnell-led Republican obstructionism in full swing and two Democratic senators who are loath to change the filibuster rules, Biden’s agenda will have hit a brick wall, so the GOP will point out the failures of this administration to accomplish anything.

Then there is the decrease in turnout by voters of the party who controls the White House.

Despite these daunting headwinds, the Democrats still have a chance of not only holding the House but gaining seats in the Senate. There is one thing that’s going to help them in this unlikely quest that no amount of fundraising or good fortune from the economy could ever do: their Republican opponents.

The Republican Party is tethered to Donald Trump and Trumpism and the Big Lie about the November 2020 election that led to a violent and deadly insurrection on January 6 in an attempt to overturn the election results.

To be sure, gerrymandering could be a potent obstacle to success, but the Republican Party has not added new voters to their flock. In fact, many have taken flight from the GOP principally because of the Big Lie that continues to be perpetrated by Trump and his acolytes and the horrors of January 6. Control of the House will be determined by suburban voters in swing districts, and they are not too thrilled with the Republican Party writ large. Voter suppression laws passed by Republicans are not helping their image either.

The more Trump dangles his interest in running again for president in 2024, the more it will help Democrats across the board. Not only is a majority of people around the country disgusted by Trump’s clear incitement of the riots at the Capitol and his failure to do anything to quell the violence as he joyfully watched the events unfold on TV, they are sickened by a Republican Party whereby a vast majority of Congressmen opposed the certification of a free and fair election.

Moreover, McConnell and the Republicans in the Senate blocked a bipartisan commission to look into the run-up of January 6, what transpired, who may have coordinated the attacks and how such an episode could be prevented in the future. They obviously don’t want the truth to come out because all roads will likely lead to Trump, at least that’s what they fear. Trump is still the top dog of the GOP until such time he is indicted as a result of the multiple investigations still underway.

In the meantime, Democrats will benefit from the fact Republican candidates will be primaried by Trump-light crazies who will do anything to receive his endorsement. The MAGA base will turn out for these clowns and send them to the general election.

Keep in mind, at no time did Trump ever break 49 percent approval during his term in office. After January 6, it plummeted to 29 percent. Republicans just don’t get it. Trump is only popular among his shrinking base and nowhere else—not independents, not suburban Republican voters and certainly not Democrats. Thus, placating Trump to head to a general election with Trump-like candidates is a perilous venture.

In Deep South Georgia, two Democratic candidates for Senate prevailed in a runoff mainly because of exceptionally high voter turnout among Democrats and independents largely seen as a rejection of  Trumpism and the former president’s antics following his defeat. Key swing districts around the country could follow that model.

Yes, Joe Biden can succeed in getting an infrastructurebill passed. The economy can rebound. COVID can finally get under control. Democrats can and should tout any successes that manage to come their way. But it will take more.

“If Democrats want to prevail in 2022, good government won’t be enough,” Arkansas Times columnist Gene Lyons penned in the Chicago Sun-Times. “They need to turn the midterm elections into a referendum on the Trump cult and GOP sycophancy toward his alarming assault on democracy.”

They also need to make Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Green, Jim Jordan, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and many others as well as Trump himself the faces of the Republican Party during the campaign.

They should run ads depicting McCarthy’s and Lindsey Graham’s initial outrage over January 6 and then display them reversing course and verbally dropping to their knees at Mar-a-Lago.

And don't EVER let Trump and the Republicans off the hook regarding Jan. 6.

For Democrats approaching the midterms, this is golden, and they can thank the Trump Republican Party for this opportunity. Dems can do this and surprise the experts if they manage to muster the courage and play some hardball. That, too, would be a surprise.



Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Why We Must Not Forget January 6

 

We mark the 6-month anniversary in one of the most fateful days and arguably the most disgraceful day in U.S. history. It was a chilly, breezy and sunny day in Washington D.C. when the outgoing president Donald Trump who had been defeated just two months ago in a free and secure election, had assembled a large gathering of thousands at the Ellipse near the White House. 

He used his then Twitter account to summon his supporters on this day aided by his sycophantic megaphones at Fox News and other pseudo-journalistic outlets as well as social media for this rally that is centered on “the big lie,” which states absence of any evidence that the election had been stolen from Trump primarily because of fraudulent votes. He promised the event would be “wild,” an unusual description for merely a speech and rally.

That dangerous and disgusting lie had been disproven and debunked by some 60 courts around the county including the Supreme Court as well as state election officials who tallied the votes over again and certified the election as clean.

Were these Democratic activist judges as Republicans often describe jurists when things don’t go their way? No. Most of them were Republican appointees thanks to the shenanigans of Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and many, if not most, were Trump appointees.

Nonetheless, the lie continued and is alive today with at least half of the people who identify as Republican believing such bubkas.

At his rambling, fact-averse, grievance-laden speech, Trump, a mentally unstable man who cannot accept defeat much less failure, marveled at the expanse of the crowd that included not just his supporters but violent far right white nationalist groups and self-appointed militias.

While he never explicitly ordered the crowd to breach the Capitol where the election’s votes were being certified by both houses of Congress and presided by Vice President Mike Pence, his droning soliloquy amped up the already highly-charged masses to a dangerous froth. The match had already been lit; his speech simply added the fuel.

“Because you'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong. We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated, lawfully slated…We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” What else could he mean?

We are all familiar with the carnage that ensued. Five deaths, hundreds of undermanned police injured, millions of dollars in damage to our sacred seat of democracy. The very same people who revere the police and who use the “blue lives matter” mantra constantly to counter legitimate protest for social justice especially in policing, had no problems shoving Trump flagpoles in the faces of police officers and using other weapons including chemical spray on those who were attempting to guard our house. That’s right, OUR house.

The rampage continued for hours with the chants “Hang Mike Pence”  and “Where are you Nancy?” were clearly audible in the numerous video clips that surfaced.

The riots, the insurrection was a violent attempt to prevent the certification of the ballot as laid out in our Constitution. This was not a protest of the election results. These thugs in which Federal authorities have already charged 500 and counting on various offenses, sought to forcibly stop Congress from doing its duty. In other words, it was a violent effort to overturn the election.

Democrats rushed to impeach Trump for a second time and presented a compelling case in the Senate. All Democrats agreed to convict the lame duck president; seven Republicans who paid a steep political price later did the same. By a vote of 57 to 43, a substantial margin by any measure, these Senators agreed Trump was culpable. Only the Constitution requiring 67 votes to convict thwarted that outcome.

December 7, September 11 and now January 6—Days of Infamy all—must be remembered as blights on our history and the American people. Republicans are feverishly attempting to minimize the effect of January 6 from denying the severity to minimizing its significance calling the insurrectionists tourists.  

They succeeded in stopping the formation of a bipartisan commission to look into the full scope of what happened, how it happened, why Trump did nothing to quell it after it started, how such a travesty could be prevented in the future.

They don’t want any of that. They don’t want the truth to come out, which would surely highlight their cult leader Donald Trump’s role.

The Department of Justice should be looking into Trump’s role as they would probe deeply had there been a foreign terrorist attack on our country. They’re not as far as I know.

This cowardly disgrace must be remembered no matter how many people wind up in prison. Democrats need to not allow the Republicans to sweep it under the rug. This was an attack on our soil by Americans, not foreign actors.

All the more reason we should never forget. The further the ship sails away from the dock, the smaller the lights appear on the shore.


Trump referred to this horrific event as a "love fest" by "tremendous people. Check this out: