America is divided but hopeful after the midterm elections

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There is now enough reported information available for one to realize that contrary to many predictions, the Republican Party did not gain iron-clad control of the U.S. Congress. At best, Republicans have a slim majority in the House of Representatives, while the Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate. Because of that, many Americans now breathe a sigh of relief. 

Nevertheless, in the midst of the elections, the writer made the following prediction. “The country is likely to descend into being one of staunch minority white rule as soon as the next national election cycle. It will be firmly dis-united, with the fight for states’ rights becoming full-blown in many areas. The country will be stymied with anti-democratic policies in large pockets of its territory or under the thumb of an authoritarian leader who promotes such policies over them all.”

The prediction was made based upon the fact that the country is so seriously divided, largely because of its age-old manifestation of racism. That racism is now further stoked by the rising reality that white people will soon become a permanent and declining minority. Many white people are in panic mode and are willing to sell their souls to the political devil.

On the one hand, the fact that far right-wing Republicans were defeated in many areas increased the hope of some that democracy will prevail, that fascism has been turned aside. If that does happen, there is certainly reason to rejoice, but not an unfettered reason to do so. 

On the other hand, the reality is that roughly half of the Senate and more than half of the House is under the control of people who supported the fascist ideas and efforts of Donald Trump and his cohorts. Roughly half of the state legislatures and governor’s mansions are occupied by the same confederates who are determined to take this country back to “the good ole days.” In short, the country is still divided. Compounding the problem is the fact that racism causes many of them to be as determined as were their ideological ancestors who initiated the Civil War and destroyed Reconstruction more than a century and a half ago.

The midterm elections have relaxed the immediacy of the right-wing, confederate takeover, but in many ways, things are much the same. Matters such as the laws on the books aimed at preventing the teaching of accurate racial history, the racial gerrymandering of states and districts, voter suppression, and the giving of authority to overturn elections to legislatures and/or secretaries of state all give life to and the opportunity for the destruction of democracy. Any and all of those things can be upheld by the current ultra conservative Supreme Court ushered in by Trump and Mitch McConnell. Furthermore, with Congress grid-locked as it is, there will be no federal legislation to supersede those laws. They will remain in effect in conservative-dominated states. That is a part of what we reference when we talk about staunch minority white rule. 

The other possibility for the emergence of staunch minority white rule is that right-wing Republican-dominated legislatures will go against the vote of the people and select their own choice as president or that Republican-dominated legislative delegations in the House of Representatives will vote to certify their nominee as the electoral college winner. This would certainly mean white minority rule. The possibility of that happening is not out of the realm of possibilities with Donald Trump entering the race for president. He is popular enough among the right-wingers and he has unabashedly expressed his authoritarian desires. If he is not tried, convicted, and prevented from holding office, the door remains open for him to become such a dictator.

In addition to the bad laws remaining in effect in many states, the Republican-led House of Representatives will begin investigating/harassing executive officials and perhaps even cutting their budgets in order to cripple their functioning. Meanwhile, far right-wing activists are likely to continue propagandizing, organizing, and supporting not just Republican officials, but racist militia groups around the country. To put it mildly, despite last week’s elections, people who say that they want to preserve and advance democracy have to remain vigilant, organized, and active.

One ace in the hole that can come out of the elections is the ability of the Senate to confirm executive and judicial nominees of the president. That can provide some protections. It should be done without hesitation at every level. Another ace is the ability to make changes in the Senate filibuster rule, so that if and when any progressive legislation comes before it, the majority can pass it into law without fear of the filibuster. While there is not likely to be any new legislation passed by the House, progressive Democrats should make the most of what may already be in the hopper.

The country is still divided and can easily be pushed into being a staunch minority white rule state. Yet, there is hope if we do not let our guards down too quickly and completely AND if we do more to continue the full education of citizens, who are fully informed, politically, economically, and culturally. Both of these are necessary because opponents of true democracy are fully alive and well, believing that “the South’s gon’ rise agin,” and are determined to make it happen. The Civil War and Reconstruction were early patterns and the January 6, 2021 insurrection was a contemporary dress rehearsal for a new conservative confederate takeover.

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America is divided but hopeful after the midterm elections

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
November 21, 2022