Schwab: Midterms were a stress test for the 2020 election

The election provided evidence of the power of GOP suppression tactics, and that it can be overcome.

By Sid Schwab

After Washington state went to mail-in ballots, I mourned going to my car, changing clothes and voting again, just as Trump said. Those poll-ladies were suckers for my Groucho glasses. I forget how I signed in, and under whose names, but it must have been easy. Donald Trump doesn’t lie.

Probably, I saw illegal immigrants voting, too. Lou Dobbs says millions did this time, and had a “huge impact;” so I must have seen a few back then. Had I known, I’d have signed them up for Social Security.

I was cavorting around Italy on Election Day, but news travels fast. Maybe it was delicious Italian coffee buzzing my brain, but Trump’s behavior after the election has seemed even more detached from reality than before. I laughed when Mitch McConnell warned against abandoning bipartisanship, though. Far as I could tell, he was serious. Spending hours in enormous churches containing the best of human artistry, much of it depicting the Final Judgement, one could almost believe such outrageous hypocrisy won’t go unpunished.

Which ought also to apply to Trump, who’d melt like the Wicked Witch were he ever to set foot inside an honest church, and whose two-a-day rallies leading up to the election impossibly topped his customary level of deranged, desperate lying. Democrats want open borders, will kill Medicare, won’t protect preexisting conditions: that sort of ungrounded madness. One of his ads was so dishonest and racist, even Fox “news” wouldn’t run it. But Trumpists loved his lies like I loved gelato.

About half the candidates to whom I gave money won. Looks like it’ll take another cycle or two, and more recognition of the damage being done by the party of Trump, for Texas to turn blue; it’ll get there, maybe even before it’s too late. Republican governors who remade their states into showcases of Republican economics, driving them into the sort of debt and failed governance that Trump is creating, lost.

As sanity searches for a way back into American politics, I chose to return home, rather than seek asylum. Included in their broad representation of our nation’s diversity were eight scientists elected by Democrats, which holds hope for addressing climate change. Republicans elected three people currently under indictment and one dead pimp. Like refugees in the caravan, sanity has a ways to go, and could drop out before arriving.

Speaking of which, we haven’t heard much about the existential threat posed by that caravan lately, have we? Trump’s hate- and fear-mongering suckered his base, per usual. Now he’s lying about Finns and rakes, again showcasing his cluelessness about how things work.

Republicans have long realized that, given the widespread unpopularity and oft-demonstrated unworkability of their ideas, the ultimate threat to their power is a fair electoral system. They can attack education and expertise, lie without remorse, threaten the very idea of an adversarial, inquisitive press; but if all citizens have the same opportunity to vote, they know they can’t sustain such a top-heavy, self-serving agenda. The midterms provided evidence both of the power of their suppression tactics, and evidence that it can be overcome. Many states flipped to Democratic legislatures. Undoing the sort of gerrymandering that gave North Carolina 10 of 13 U.S. representatives despite getting only half the votes becomes possible, even as their lame-duck legislators get quacking to prevent it.

Forced by the courts to redraw Republican-created districts, Pennsylvania voted about equally for D’s and R’s, resulting in equal numbers of winners. (North Carolina was similarly ordered, but ignored it!) Young people voted in record numbers, still appallingly low. When they see the forest for the burning trees, everything changes.

Over 300 million tickets were purchased in the recent national mega-lottery. Winners were known within minutes, including where tickets were sold. By contrast, vote totals and outcomes remained unknown in some localities after a week. Rolls purged of legal voters, long lines, mysteriously broken or absent machines, especially in minority districts; elections in the U.S. are, to use Trump’s perennially misused phrase, a disgrace. That it’s deliberate becomes obvious. This, the literal stealing of elections by Republicans, not fake news about Democrats in disguise and illegals voting, is America’s true shame. (Esquire: tinyurl.com/2stealvotes)

It won’t change under Republicans, and everyone who believes in democracy should care. Sadly, that doesn’t include Trump and his lie-preferring excusers, who, no doubt, also loved his third-grade-level insult of Adam Schiff.

Dang, I miss gelato.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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