Let’s not get it twisted. There are various names and party labels on the ballot, and there are all sorts of random things at the city and county level, and California’s proposition system is a KICK ME sign on the butt of democracy, but skip all that. Every state and Congressional election this year boils down to one simple question:
Are you okay with this?
Miss me with talk about tax policy, or education funding, or the Supreme Court, or whatever the foibles and predilections of the individual candidates. Because they are all buried under one question: is this okay? Are you good with America in 2018? With the foreign meddling, with the baldfaced corruption, with nurturing of white supremacists, with the complete disinterest in reason and logic, with the utter indifference to truth and reality? Is a nation on fire an acceptable price for a 21% corporate tax rate or a Supreme Court majority for whatever it is you wanted?
Because if it’s not, you have one and only one course of action open to you: you have to vote for every Democrat in every race.
You don’t have to like it. No one is asking you to approve of everything they stand for, everything they might want to do, and that’s fine – nothing serious could move for two years anyway. You don’t have to worry that Congress is suddenly going to nationalize Comcast and outlaw Baptists. It’s fine. This isn’t about granular issue positions any more. Those have to wait for later. This is about only one side being willing and able to stop the bleeding.
Because the GOP had plenty of chances to head this thing off, and couldn’t. Wouldn’t. Didn’t. For better or worse, this is what it means to be a Republican in 2018: I believe all of this is OK. Because nothing has happened to stop it. If the GOP was going to stand up to Trump, they’ve had two years to do so. And it didn’t happen, except for a gesture toward healthcare by a dying man who isn’t there anymore. Flake, Collins, all the sorrowful “moderates” – they’re there for him when it counts. Every single time.
The fact of the matter is, we functionally have a two-party system. You can vote for a third party if you want, but don’t kid yourself that you’re not actually throwing away your vote. The Green party isn’t going to save you, and there is no magical third way moderate who is going to lead us out of this. Your choices are yes, this is OK, or no it isn’t. And right now, today, in 2018, “no it isn’t” is labeled Democrat. Full stop.
Maybe if the sixty-something percent who say “no it isn’t” in polls could all get behind one party, we could do a deal. We’ll hash it out in the party, and when the rubber hits the road we’ll hold our noses and support what we decided to do rather than going all different directions and tolerating crazy – or worse, endorsing it – for the sake of getting our own way. And we’ll leave the nuts and the crazies and the assholes on the outside and wait for them to die, and contain in the meantime, because holding together a society is more important than burning it down for a bare advantage.
That used to be called democracy. If you still want it to be, you know what lever you have to pull. And keep pulling it, every race and every ballot, every election until the infection burns out.