We are living through one of the most dangerous moments in American history. We may very well be at an inflection point. A new progressive majority is taking form before our very eyes. This is a threat to both the conservatives in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The former will still be able to compromise. The latter are doing all they can to stop the changes that are coming. They are part of a majority that is slowly becoming a minority. California looks now like the rest of the nation will in a few decades. This scares whites, in particular Christian whites and evangelicals.
We are to the point that these two groups feel persecuted because a secular society is taking shape. This is where the idea that Christianity is under attack and people of faith are under attack is coming from. This year the New York Times ran this piece, which reflects the sense of persecution:
Evangelicals did not support Mr. Trump in spite of who he is. They supported him because of who he is, and because of who they are. He is their protector, the bully who is on their side, the one who offered safety amid their fears that their country as they know it, and their place in it, is changing, and changing quickly. White straight married couples with children who go to church regularly are no longer the American mainstream. An entire way of life, one in which their values were dominant, could be headed for extinction. And Mr. Trump offered to restore them to power, as though they have not been in power all along.
“You are always only one generation away from losing Christianity,” said Micah Schouten, who was born and raised in Sioux Center, recalling something a former pastor used to say. “If you don’t teach it to your children it ends. It stops right there.”
Ultimately Mr. Trump recognized something, said Lisa Burg, a longtime resident of nearby Orange City. It is a reason she thinks people will still support him in November.
The Christian Right is but one corner of this world. Then there are white Supremacists, as well as libertarians and business interest. There is a certain degree of ideological cross over. After all, white supremacists are also seeing their world rapidly disappear. Ergo. They are trying to build a bulwark against the changes that are coming. These point to a far more progressive and inclusive society. It also points to a far less religious one.
So we are now in the election season. Because of the pandemic, many Americans are already voting. As of this writing over fourteen million. We are also watching voter suppression because certain people voting is dangerous for this conservative white majority. You don’t relieve me? People are standing in line for hours in order to vote. Coincidentally this is affecting Blacks and Latinos the most. It is as if certain groups have to jump through huge loops to exercise a basic right in a Democracy. Coincidentally while people in mostly white neighborhoods in the same states have an easy time with voting. Think about this. You can stand in line all day. Or you can willingly give up your right to vote. If you have to work or are disabled, or elderly voting becomes a challenge. This is precisely how it works.
This is no accident. Republicans are a minority party that continues to lose more of the majority. So they know they are on their way to becoming irrelevant. They can see this stark future in places like California where the Republicans are the third-largest party. Yes, they are behind the decline to state voters. Outside of California, these are known as independent voters. In California, the Independent Party is a far-right outfit that has qualified for the ballot. This collapse is not unprecedented in American history. During the 19th century, parties came and went. In my view, the only reason the GOP remains viable, outside California, are arcane rules that prevent third parties from qualifying for the ballot. There is also a fact that the GOP remains strong in rural states and some southern states. These are either mostly white and more conservative or have the remains of the Jim Crow traditions. See voter suppression.
There are changes coming to this political order. For example, Texas is becoming a purple state, reflected in state politics. If people vote in droves, and we have the vast participation of first-time voters, we may see the state go for Biden. Perhaps a US Senator, John Cornyn, will lose as well. Arizona was another solidly red state where we may see it go blue, for the first time since Bill Clinton was president. This has expanded the political map. Which is also broadening the road to 270 electoral votes for Joe Biden, but most importantly, will change local and state politics.
This matters, because as usual California is leading the way. It just takes some time. There is a reason why this saying exists. As goes California, so goes the nation. It is starting to look like the claim from Conservatives that this is a center-right country is about to hit a wall, hard. The last four years have not helped the conservative cause. The Donald Trump administration and the inability of the GOP to stand up to him revealed a very dark side to conservative politics, and people are about to reject it.
However, Republicans have gotten what they want. The courts have been filled with conservative judges, many Federalist Society members. after Mitch McConnell refused to confirm Obama nominees. The highest-profile case was the Merrick Garland nomination to the Supreme Court. In effect, this is the most politicized judiciary since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. So as they claim Democrats want to pack the courts, they have been busy doing this at all levels of the judiciary, and particularly with state-level supreme courts. They have seeded the courts with conservative judges, ready to stop progress made in state legislatures and congress. This is the case in Arizona for example. According to Politico:
In the aftermath, even some Democrats say the impact on the court’s rulings has been limited. But the expansion — an early priority for Ducey’s office — helped to cement a lasting legacy: Ducey holds the record for the most judicial appointments in Arizona history, having moved quickly since he took office in 2015 to fill seats at all levels of the judicial system. (His five conservative male Supreme Court appointments notwithstanding, Ducey has a record of appointing women and members of other political parties to lower courts.)
And in the long term, some observers have another worry: As demographic trends shift Arizona from a red state to purple, potentially even toward Democratic control, that won’t be reflected in its highest court. Thanks to the Republican-led expansion, the conservative makeup of Arizona’s Supreme Court likely will stay in place for more than a decade.
It is likely that when the votes are counted, Democrats will sweep both Congress and the White House. I am not the only one to think that Amy Coney Barrett is a consolation prize. They know that Democrats will pass legislation that will increase equality and opportunity for the vast majority of Americans. These are laws like the Affordable Care Act, which conservatives despise because they increase economic dignity. The last bastion of the absurd is a conservative court that will keep the tyranny of the minority going.
Judge Barrett is not going to answer any question on her belief system in any significant way. We all suspect what her views are, which is why she was nominated. They want to kill the ACA using the courts because they have not been able to in Congress. Her words that she cannot speak to the case until it comes to her are nice. The goal of Republicans is to kill the legislation because it offers a little independence for workers. They can leave an employer and still maintain health insurance. There is no issue getting insurance if you have pre-existing conditions. They don’t care, because this allows workers a little independence. It also removes some of the threat of medical bankruptcy. We are a long way from workers not having to face it in the United States. But the ACA was a step in the right direction. This gives people more agency over their lives, at the cost of fewer profits for insurance companies.
Republicans opposed the ACA from the get-go, and even though many of the Republican base loves the ACA, they hate Obamacare, which is the same thing. They are about to get the rug pulled from under them, yet they still don’t get why. So are the rest of us.
American health care has proven to be all but responsive in the midst of a global pandemic. Partly because of the arcane rules surrounding insurance, and who pays for what. Now we will have people with pre-existing conditions due to COVID, who may face medical bankruptcy because they lost their private insurance due to the pandemic. The cruelty is astounding.
Cruelty is the point of the exercise.