Yeah, there’s a whole lot of shit that needs to get done, but right now Democrats should be freaking the fuck out over voting rights. They should be losing their fucking minds and screaming nonstop on every outlet they can find. Get your gravest, most serious senators, like Leahy or Bennett or Shaheen, and have them shitting themselves at Jake Tapper’s scowl or George Stephanopoulos’s hair. Because if we don’t have a freak out now, then any freak out later will be useless.
Others have played this out, projecting what will likely happen if Congress doesn’t pass some version of a bill that secures voting rights. The bullshit voter suppression laws in bullshit places like Texas and Georgia, combined with extreme gerrymandering in every state where Republicans can do it (yeah, Democrats can do it, too, but it won’t be enough to counter the GOP), will allow the GOP to at least take the House, if not the Senate, too, in 2022. Then, filled with Trumptastic belligerence and fascistic glee, they would refuse to certify any presidential election that doesn’t go their way, and, voila, we very quickly become Jesusstan or Christsylvania or Trumped Trumps of Trumperica.
And that all sounds shitty enough. But here’s the thing: once this path starts, there is almost nothing that can be done to stop it once the democracy dominos have begun to teeter over because if Republicans win the House, that’s it. The laws simply won’t be changed and the total Republican hold on the federal government, with a minority of voters, will be in play. In fact, by that point, a Republican Party that is based on believing elections are only legitimate if they win will go further to dismantle voting protections because it has to make its belief into unimpeachable reality. Of course, this will happen even more at the state and local level, too, because if you’re gonna fuck constitutional rights, you might as well fuck ’em into the ground.
Why freak the fuck out now? Well, we should have been freaking the fuck out for a long while now, but we’re seeing a general escalation of anti-voting rights rhetoric and actions, from the racist and completely fucking idiotic assertion that Democrats want to let refugees and asylum seekers into the country so they can be made instant citizens and vote Democratic (which implies that Republicans have nothing to offer immigrants, which, well, if the white hood fits…) to the fact that over 75% of the GOP believe that President Biden was not legitimately elected. The fake allegations of voter fraud and the deeply-held belief that Democrats are not really legit, true-blue Americans are held as gospel with the idiot hordes of the right and, even though most elected Republicans know this is utter twaddle, they are going to use it to solidify power through the exclusion of anyone who might challenge that power.
Even more directly alarming is the fact that Trump’s goddamned lawyer, John Eastman, had laid out a six-part plan for how then-Vice President Mike Pence could shitcan some Electoral College votes and allow the House to vote Trump back into the presidency. You can look at that and say, “Well, that’s ridiculous. Too many Republicans in Congress would have protested,” and I’d respond, “Where the fuck have you been living for the last 40 years?” and then some of you would say, “I’m only 20, old man” and I’d say, “Fuck you. Then get me the good Molly” before explaining how this has all been part of a GOP project to disenfranchise Americans since Reagan shat the White House bed. And, as Eastman wrote, fuck permission. Let those who don’t like installing King Trump’s lumpy ass into the presidential throne try their luck in court. Fortunately, multiple people advised Pence to not go down that destructive path, even though Pence was trying to have someone he trusted give him the high sign to do it. The crisis was averted because Pence decided to listen to the angel lovingly caressing his right ear, not the devil savagely humping his left one. That’s it. That’s how close it all came to coming apart.
You want to hear that in scary scholar-speak? Trump “pursued a political and legal strategy aimed not just at sowing doubt but at subverting the outcome of the presidential election. This strategy, which has no precedent at any point in American history, had many parts, but the best evidence now available showed that this was less about saving face and more about reversing election outcomes,” writes Richard L. Hasen, Co-Director of Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the UC-Irvine School of Law. That “no precedent” part is the giant “Freak the fuck out already!” sign.
That’s not only how fucked things were or are. On top of that, now we know that Trump’s campaign knew that allegations about hacked or fucked-with voting machines were hot garbage being sold out of the back Sidney Powell’s limo, but they did almost nothing to stop her from embarrassing herself, Rudy Giuliani, and humanity in general because it kept the rubes all het up. On top of that, just last week, Trump sent a letter to Georgia’s Secretary of State asking him and Governor Brian Kemp to overturn the election results there in hopes of overturning the whole thing now, nearly a year later. These aren’t red flags. They’re motherfucking bright lights, bells, and sirens with packs of howler monkeys on top screaming into the void to fucking do something.
I can’t help, think, though: How much shit don’t we know? That’s the part that keeps me the fuck up. God, can you imagine the phone calls where Stephen Miller screeched his demands at Arizona officials? Or Pennsylvania? I want to know how close we came to the coup before the coup attempt on January 6.
So, yeah, we’ve gotta get the stupid debt ceiling raised. We gotta pass the Build Back Better Act. And the infrastructure thing. We gotta do all that shit. But none of it will mean a goddamn thing if voting rights are left out in the rain like a rag doll forgotten by a distracted child. That’s why the freak out has to happen. Anything else passed now would easily be undone by a Republican majority that will fucking laugh as they tear the filibuster out of the Senate rules on their first day back in charge. These fuckers don’t care. They don’t give a shit if it all burns down.
And Democrats can either be the firefighters or they can just be the gawkers on the sidewalk, wondering why no one tried to put out the inferno while holding the hose behind their backs.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on September 22, 2021 on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.
Image Credit: The Hill