--"The high sounding phrase, 'the American way', will be used by interest groups, intent on profit, to cover a multitude of sins against the American and Christian traditions"
--Halford E. Luccock, Yale Divinity School, September 12, 1938.
During the remainder of 2011, voters will likely repeal Kasich's anti-middle class labor law, throw out Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and, in early 2012, send Wisconsin's Governor Scott Walker packing.
Democracy will seem to be making a comeback. Tragically, it will likely be its last gasp prior to rigor mortis.
The rightwing has always faced two inescapable dilemmas -- most people were not wealthy, and the numbers favored Democrats who supported the less wealthy, the middle class, the poor, and minorities, so that as the franchise was expanded, their ability to maintain power became more difficult; and, our democratic institutions were relatively strong, as demonstrated by the ability of a single Judge, John Sirica, to set the wheels in motion that foiled the attempted rightwing coup d'états known as Watergate.
But, they came close. Had Judge Sirica not been taken incensed by the insult to his Court of clearly not being told the truth, AND had Woodward's and Bernstein's determination had not been so dogged, AND had the Washington Post's top brass buckled to intense pressure from the Nixon White House, rightwing hooliganism may have become legal, respectable and entrenched.
Since that major setback (described exactly that way by Barry Goldwater) to the cause, the rightwing has gradually but inexorably gained control of the judicial system so that unconstitutional laws that secured their power would be enforced, and good laws that restrained their power would be declared unconstitutional.
The result: fair election laws like Arizona's overturned, the Founders were discovered to have secretly meant that corporations were people, and discriminatory voter ID laws have been enacted, and allowed to stand. If one ever cares to know why the Republican Party hated John McCain so much, and that there was nothing he could ever have done to assuage their animosity, it was because of the McCain-Feingold Campaign finance law that limited Republicans' ability to buy elections. Even more than Watergate itself, McCain-Feingold was a major setback for rightwing designs.
There is a good chance that President Obama will win the 2012 popular vote by a comfortable margin, but lose the electoral college because Republican legislatures are changing the rules about how electors are chosen. Instead of winner-take-all, the results will be tallied in each Congressional district in key states Democrats usually win, so that the major population centers, in places such as Pennsylvania, will yield few net electoral votes for the President.
When now-Justice Samuel Alito applied to the Reagan Administration for a job, he recounted as a credential his outrage in high school(!) when Baker v Carr (aka, one-person/one-vote) was decided. This is the person who will help determine whether that case is being violated by selection of electors by Congressional district, or even if Baker v Carr were correctly decided. Stare decisis, a respect for precedent means absolutely nothing to them, or haven't you noticed.
The discriminatory voter ID laws, and gerrymandering after the 2010 census with Republicans in control of many states, coupled with unlimited corporate money, will make permanent both the voter ID laws themselves, and the iron-fisted control of state legislatures they will provide.
If anyone believed 2011 was the year of the direct assault on proponents of the middle class, clean air and water, public education, and respect for first responders, and democracy itself, just wait until 2013.
Because what is most remarkable about 2011 is that the rightwing makes no apologies whatsoever for what they are doing. True, they never talked about it in the 2010 elections, but, once they took power, they have exercised that power without apologies for destroying democracy in America.
This is no joke.
It is also not hyperbole, because the safety valves for redress -- the courts and the ability to change course through elections -- will have been effectively closed.
And, once effectively closed, the noose will be tightened. Laws will be passed in the name of "protecting workers" to prohibit unions from making political contributions without the specific consent of the members (corporations will have no such equivalent protection for its shareholders). Unions will be prohibited from having dues taken out of paychecks, and public service unions will be outlawed. More fellow-travelers will be appointed to the courts.
With control of the courts, discriminatory election laws will be upheld, and the franchise will shrink. As FDR said in 1944, when Republicans in Congress wanted to prevent soldiers who were fighting World War II from voting,
"there are those who believe their chances of election are greater if only the total vote is small enough".
But, you say, It cannot happen here? It has happened here already (the South prior to the civil rights and voting rights laws were single party states without any avenue of redress), and that was changed only by external power -- the federal government.
It's happening. Look at Florida, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin today.
And, when the federal government is similarly controlled as it will be for 2012 and beyond, there will be no outside force to undo it.
Those of despotic tendencies can seize power or win power. Once IN power, they rig the system so that they remain. It will be no different here. American national politics will become like the political systems of the South prior to the civil rights and voting rights laws.
Preventing it will require a massive shift of traditional Republican and all independent voters to the Democrats in 2012 for the sole reason of protecting their democracy and what they can get from it -- equal protection of the laws, a safety net, and opportunity.
Unless the Democrats translate the specific issue of Medicare, for example, effectively into broader themes, and people realize that Florida/Ohio/Michigan/Wisconsin today are just the tip of the iceberg as to what our nation will become.... one has reason to be afraid for the future.
This is asking a lot of a party and party leaders who have not even tried to get the American people to realize that the reviled "Obamacare" is the rightwing Heritage Foundation's plan.