I’ll be brief this week. We have 23 days until the election and, at this point, that is really all that matters. Let’s look at the context we’re in, as a reminder, then we can get back to the work of turning out the vote.
Trump and the Republicans have nothing to run on and it shows.They had hoped to run on their tax bill, but the majority of Americans figured out quickly that it was a give-away to the rich and there wasn’t much of anything in it for them. Their only other accomplishment has been stacking the courts with ultra-conservative judges – ones whose opinions most Americans will reject once they wake up to them. Although Republicans claimed after installing Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court that his nomination fight had helped them, it turns out to be more wishful thinking on their part.
With nothing to run on, the Republicans are turning to lies and cheating in a desperate attempt to retain power. They’re lying about healthcare, claiming to want to protect those with pre-existing conditions and to want to preserve Medicare. Neither is remotely true: they’re just lying. They’re shouting that their opponents are dangerously, lawlessly radical. That’s not remotely true: they’re frantic and lying. In the wake of Kavanaugh, they’re painting white men as the truly oppressed: one of the most cherished right-wing lies, because it allows them to wallow in their supposed victimhood.
Everything they say is actually projection: it’s the opposite of what’s true, blaming their opponents for what they themselves are doing. The truth is that they’ve been actively dismantling the health care system and will completely gut it if they retain power. The truth is that they used their tax scam to whack revenues so that they have an excuse to gut Medicare and Medicaid – and they will. The truth is that are dismantling the rule of law at every level and packing the courts with tainted judges like Kavanaugh so that there will be no recourse. And the truth is certainly what Christine Blasey Ford recalled, while Kavanaugh plainly lied.
The cheating is happening as they work to suppress the vote. They are purging voters from their records using every trick they can think up. This week that including dropping people for having minor punctuation errors in their registration or for having PO boxes instead of street addresses. Rest assured, there will be more attempts between now and the election.
Unfortunately, the press continues to fall for the GOP tricks. They do this by allowing lies to be told uncorrected, as USA Today did when they published an “Op-Ed” by Trump full of lies about Democrats and healthcare. They do this when they run headlines that repeat false Republican talking points. And they do this when they demand “civility” from the left while treating rampant, violent authoritarianism from the right as normal. An example this week was the repetition of the Republican talking point that the Kavanaugh protestors were a “mob”. This had two aspects. Ominously, the Republicans are demonizing Democrats and claiming that we can’t be trusted with power because we’re lawless. This narrative could be used to claim that we shouldn’t be given power, even if we win. If that sounds crazy, I’d ask you to name even one time when Trump and the Republicans have respected a norm of civil society.
The other aspect is that this new lie is almost certainly intended to misdirect: the actual “mob” is the one that Trump is wholly owned by. The Russian Mob. You can rest assured that he would rather you have a different association with the word and Republicans are trying to help him cement one. Don’t let them. All you need to do is to push back: we know who the real mob is. It’s the mob that Trump, Cohen, Manafort and the rest are in hock to.
All the while, Trump is ignoring the murder of a Saudi dissident and planning to restart family separations at the border. If he’s given Republican majorities in the House and Senate, he’ll continue his destruction of the country – already well-underway – and we may never get it back.
So, please, work today and everyday until the election on flipping red districts and states blue. There is still some time to postcard. Your help is needed text-banking, phone-banking and canvassing. Be sure to set aside the Last Weekend and sign up to help. Only by making this a true Blue Wave can we be sure to make this work. Let’s save the country, starting right now.
– Tom Benthin
A reminder: a key resource for tracking all the abnormal events from the past week of the Trump presidency is Amy Siskind’s Weekly List: theweeklylist.org .
Before the disaster of the 2016 election we could follow the events that affected our lives by checking the news or seeing occasional posts on Facebook. Since then, with Trump’s erratic, aggressive and autocratic behavior and the Republicans’ unceasing attacks on our government and their efforts to transfer ever more money from working Americans to the rich, it has become much more difficult – and more important – to find our way through the weekly onslaught of news. To get ourselves grounded in the facts and to prepare for the week of action ahead, we provide this weekly summary of critical events to help us cut through the distractions and stay focused and informed as we fight to preserve our democracy.