Richardt Stormsgaard: After Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“McConnell is On the Wrong Side of History — And He knows It” is the title of a recent Politico article by John Harris who sees waves of younger voters changing U.S. politics; “The national electorate is younger, more diverse, and less traditional in cultural attitudes, and more enthusiastic about a robust role for government. The Republican Party for most of this century draws overwhelmingly from people who are older, whiter, and socially conservative.” He also points out that with the exception of the 2004 election the Democratic presidential candidate has won the plurality of votes during all presidential elections since 1992.
Younger Americans as a group are notoriously apathetic, and many of them cast protest votes without regard for their potentially disastrous consequences. Approximately 3 million votes from younger voters in both 2000 and 2016 were decisive factors in the Republican presidential wins that directly has led to four, soon to be five, conservative/right-wing judges on the Supreme Court. Today in the Senate typically 50 Democratic senators represent 30 to 40 million more voters than 50 Republican senators. Projections indicate that by 2040, 30% of Americans living in smaller, whiter, older states will pick 70% of the senators so senatorial Republican power will increase in coming decades.
The U.S. election system devised more than 200 years ago presents major challenges to the one person one vote ideal of modern democracy, but the Constitution does have the inherent flexibility to alleviate this imbalance if everybody had easy access to voting. Unfortunately conservative politicians from our the beginning of the republic have used voter suppression to impede U.S. democracy, and the move toward a more perfect union as the preamble to our Constitution commands. Conservative Republicans have recently weakened the Voting Rights Act so individual states again have wide latitude in deciding when, where, how, and which citizens can vote. In Wisconsin today 46% of Republican voters control 64% of the seats in Congress and the state legislature. This is typical for around a dozen or so Republican led states in which Republicans are hugely overrepresented in the legislatures considering the actual votes they receive during elections.
Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008 enjoyed a senate majority only in the first two years of their eight year terms when conservatives bounced back during the following mid-term elections. With another Trump judge to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg we will now have a conservative court becoming outright right-wing. Several are originalist judges deeply hostile to social and legal reforms of the modern era and who believe current law should bend back toward values appropriate more than two hundred years ago when blacks and women had no legal rights. A Republican electoral win in 2020 will lead to escalating attacks on civil rights, voting rights, social security and medicare, healthcare, the social safety net, environmental legislation, and even our rule of law.
As public clamor for decisive response to global warming grows, research institutes, corporations, and countries around the world are fast developing alternative strategies to alleviate the existential threat to our planet but the behemoth of a right-wing U.S. government deny even the existence of this problem, and actively undermine and obstruct these efforts here and worldwide.
Since 2000 the Republican platform has advocated for all-out private health insurance, and after RBG’s passing the new Supreme Court is almost certain to eliminate the Affordable Care Act that has protected 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions, and provided affordable health-care to another 20 million lower income Americans. Huge numbers of Americans will again need to forgo expensive private health insurance and hope to avoid major sickness or accidents. The $2 trillion Trump tax scam in late 2017 vastly benefited the wealthiest Americans, and top Republicans bragged it would be financed by further cuts to medicare, social security, and to social programs.
The current conservative Supreme Court has already weakened some of the basic legal protections underlying abortion rights preparing for the final assault, and it is only a matter of time before more millions of American mothers will be trapped in a lifetime of inescapable poverty. Meanwhile, basic sex education in public schools has been subverted in much of the country, and Republicans have steadfastly fought against Plan B, the so-called morning-after pill, a last line of defense against unwanted pregnancies. Republicans for years have savaged Planned Parenthood, the Violence Against Women Act, and Title IX legislation that is intended to protect women against abusive men.
Richardt Stormsgaard lives in Nevada City.
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