Seven years ago I wrote a post discussing that Republicans are clinging to a dwindling demographic: the base is older, whiter, maler and more Christian than America at large. And getting smaller. And that this was not a winning strategy in the long run.
It’s possible I was optimistic.
I was right about the dwindling I think. It’s true that, contrary to many optimistic predictions, white supremacy (and male supremacy) is not going to die with the baby boomers. The young marchers in Charlottesville and on college campuses show that. Still, even with new blood coming in (and oldsters shifting the balance in some states), I suspect in the 21st century Republicans will become an increasing minority. However as 2016 showed, the electoral college makes it possible for a minority to elect a president. For the second time in this century.
And I didn’t take seriously the degree to which they were willing to cheat. To disenfranchise non-white, and non-Republican voters. And thanks to Repubs successfully blocking Obama from getting a Supreme Court judge in place, Trump got Gorsuch and the Supreme Court is signing off on vote suppression efforts. Not to mention other bad calls (and others). You don’t have to build a majority if you rig the game. Case in point, the courts have told Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, to stop enforcing his “proof of citizenship” requirement for voting. Kobach’s response: ignore the law.
It will probably get worse: Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retiring, which guarantees a very conservative replacement. Anti-gays are already hoping to reverse Obergefell and undo gay marriages (until then, they’re calling on state and local officials to break the law).
And the game in the media often seems rigged too. Conservative news outlets such as Fox and now the Sinclair TV chain are hard right; “liberal” outlets tend to be centrist. And frequently seem to take the conservative side. So we have a WaPo editorial shocked that the Red Hen restaurant kicked Sarah Huckabee Sanders out: what if conservatives harassed abortion-rights advocates and doctors like that? As noted at the link, the right has been harassing abortion doctors and supports for years, not to mention killing them. We’re expected to be civil, where as Republican hardball is accepted as a given. We’re supposed to let them slap us around because that’s the designated role of both sides (Michelle Goldberg adds some thoughts). And because we’re supposedly alienating Republican moderates who are actually committed activists.
It’s a version of the same skewed logic by which child separation is supposedly Democrats’ fault for defying Trump (admittedly Andrew Sullivan is hardly a liberal).
I was going to end on a grim, PO’d note, but I’ll try to take strength from a Rep. John Lewis quote. He has, after all, endured a lot more fighting for freedom than I have: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
It is unfortunate that the struggle may be to regain the rights and freedom that people already fought for and won, multiple times. But so be it.