A Blue Wave Is The Only Answer
A punch to the gut.
That feeling comes close, but still doesn’t capture the monumental loss that was felt by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. It was as if all the air in Democratic America was sucked out and for a moment that felt like forever, we couldn’t draw breath. There’s no shying away from the monumental tragedy of RBG’s passing. She was a woman who could’ve retired twenty years ago and still been able to claim she’d lived a full, meaningful life. She was a woman who was under enormous pressure to simply stay alive after battling cancer not just once but a few times. She unquestionably changed the world for the better by age forty. The next forty were just icing on the cake.
And her passing is a convergence of messiness. In a perfect world she could’ve retired twenty years ago. In a perfect world, she wouldn’t of felt the need to hang on as long as she did. In a perfect world, her last few months with her family would have been spared any talk of what might happen after she is gone. Her last statement, dictated to her daughter, is heartbreaking, and it’s just the latest casualty in a system that is broken.
One that sadly does not allow you or me to take our time to grieve. It doesn’t allow us to pause, to mourn, to celebrate, to take a break, to take leave, to be silent, or to shy away. There’s too much work to be done, and if this year has shown us anything it’s this: elections have consequences.
To all Democrats, it’s an easy trap to fall into apathy, but that’s not what RBG would have wanted. She was a fighter until the very end and we will be too. Hope is not lost and all the fears you have about what a 6–3 conservative Supreme Court could mean for the country are valid but are also not guaranteed. It’s not over. The fight is never over.
I’m asking you to breathe and then make a plan for what you are going to do to step up and make sure Democratic America lives to fight another day. Let’s look to the future, but first, there are two realities that we, as Democrats, must accept.
- There will be a vote on a new Supreme Court nominee in the Senate.
- This election will inevitably end up before the Supreme Court.
These are things that are almost certain, and out of our control. There is no use agonizing over them. There will be a vote and the election results will be challenged. That being said, there are many tools at the Democrat’s disposal that can be utilized to make it as painful as politically possible for the Republicans to nominate their preferred justice to the court.
1) We must pin every Republican Senator to the wall on their hypocrisy from 2016.
Virtually every Republican Senator is on record in 2016 saying basically that voting on a Supreme Court nominee in an election year goes against eighty years of norms and because of principle they can’t do it. All of them said that in one form or another, claiming virtuously that the American people deserve a chance to weigh in. All of us knew back in 2016 what a pack of spineless liars they were but now we have the proof. Every single Republican Senator must be put on blast for their blatant partisan hypocrisy across the country.
This is particularly important though for those dozen or so Senators in close races. If you live in or know someone who lives in the following states: Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Montana, Iowa, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Alaska, South Carolina, Texas, or Kansas call your Senators every day from now until election night. We must make it as clear as possible that these Senators will lose their seats if they vote for a Supreme Court nominee before Inauguration Day next year.
Now, you may hear the stupid argument from Republicans saying that this time is different. That the 2016 rule only applied because the Senate was held by a different party than the presidency. It’s a load of crap. Their only aim is to move the goalposts so Republicans don’t look like the load of flaming hypocrites that we all know they are. None of them made that distinction in 2016, and even so, plenty of them were asked since about a similar scenario coming up during Trump’s presidency and plenty of them said they still wouldn’t nominate. There is even a video of Lindsey Graham of him attesting that should a similar situation arise during Trump’s presidency, we are free to use his words against him. It would be a shame if that video was projected on loop in front of The Capitol building.
Anyway, the point of all this is twofold. We want to put enough pressure on vulnerable Republicans to get them to delay the vote until ideally a new president is sworn in or at the very least until after the election. Secondly, this election presents Democrat’s best chance in years of taking back the Senate. If Democrats can take it back and elect Joe Biden, they will be in a very strong position once Joe Biden is sworn in to bring about much-needed reforms to the Supreme Court. The Senate makeup right now is 47-53 in favor of Republicans. Just imagine if we won all dozen or so of the vulnerable Senate seats up for grabs. It could be 59–41 in favor of Democrats.
Imagine that. The sky would be the limit.
2) There must be a Blue Tsunami on election day.
Election results must be unimpeachable on November 3rd. They must be so convincing that even a potential 6–3 conservative court would find it hard to argue against. Democrats must sweep the ballot box, winning not only the presidency but races up and down the ballot. We need such a profound rejection of Trumpism that Republicans and Trump will think twice about pulling any chicanery to contest the results.
Democrats, the way to do this is to vote early and in person if at all possible. If you are getting a mail-in ballot, fill it out as soon as you get it, and then drop it off at a polling site or in a ballot box. Only mail it in if you’re sure you can’t drop it off. As many Democratic ballots as possible must be counted by election day. On election night, we need to be the ones putting Republicans on the back foot, not the other way around. We need them to think twice about contesting an election that will be so clearly in favor of Democrats, and should they contest it, we need the Supreme Court to think twice about going against the clear will of the people.
Because the fact is, the way to fight this, the way to preserve the legacy of not only Ruth Bader Ginsburg but John Lewis and Elijah Cummings and Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders and all the icons you admire is to win in November. If Democrats enter 2021 with control of the Senate, House, and Presidency, anything’s possible.
If we win, Democrats could move swiftly to pack the court with two to four new Supreme Court Justices. Not only would this bring the Court back into balance, imagine having not one swing vote, but two or three or four. Packing the courts would significantly dilute the power of anyone Justice, thus making a sudden death or retirement less of an apocalyptic scenario.
Additionally, if we win, we could admit D.C. and Puerto Rico into the union, adding hundreds of thousands of Democratic voters as well as virtually guaranteeing an extra four Democratic Senators in the Senate.
If we win, we could not only stabilize the Affordable Care Act, but expand it significantly so that even more people can get cheap effective coverage. We could move swiftly on the environment so that the orange skies of San Francisco don’t become commonplace around the globe. We bolster our unions and increase the federal minimum wage. We could finally legalize marijuana at the federal level. We could finally deliver the right to vote to millions of disenfranchised prisoners and formerly incarcerated folk across the country.
We could finally reform our system of policing in this country, enacting sweeping changes that could bring robust accountability to police departments across the country. We could finally reform our immigration system, providing an efficient pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
We could finally start to live up to the version of America we’ve always claimed to be.
All of this is possible, but it requires action.
Look, I get it. This year has been overwhelming. I feel like my soul has been slowly sucked out of my body and all that’s left is this apathetic husk of a person. Feelings of despair come regularly. These feelings are common and understandable. What we can’t let happen though is resign ourselves to doing nothing. Our country needs us. We need to get up, brush ourselves off, and get to work. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t as active as I should’ve been in 2016 and even up until now, but what I’ve learned is that there’s no better time than now to get to work.
So let’s do it together.