Like anyone who ever took physics, I always thought that the Pauli Exclusion Principle was absolute, that two objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time. But during Professor Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee’s 11 white male GOP Senators were all able to occupy exactly the same space – hiding behind the skirt of a sex crimes prosecutor as she grilled Prof. Blasey Ford.
They hired her to ask all of the questions that would have normally been asked by GOP senators because having 11 white conservative males grill a female sexual assault victim would have looked pretty bad. It was bad enough, with Prof. Blasey Ford calmly recounting her story of sexual assault at the hands of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, followed by Kavanaugh himself being anything but calm in his vein-bulging condemnation of what he called “a political hit job.”
But none of this may matter when it comes to putting a conservative ideologue with a mysterious financial history on the Supreme Court, even after being accused of sexual assault by three different women. A new PBS poll finds 53 percent of Republicans think Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the Supreme Court even if all the charges against him are true. And it appears the GOP is hell-bent on listening to their raging white base and will vote to put a morally compromised pro-Trump judge on the nation’s highest court, despite a Kavanaugh performance at Thursday’s hearing that was condescending, confrontational, and not credible, sometimes all within the same sentence.
Crunch the numbers, and it’s amazing to see how a small minority of the American population is having its way:
- 34 percent of the U.S. population is white male
- 22 percent is made up of white male GOP supporters
- They make up 100 percent of Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee
- They make up 100 percent of Republican Senate leadership
- They make up 84 percent of the Senate’s GOP majority.
How did one-fifth of the American population end up with that much power?
Much is historical, from the days when white males ran 100 percent of everything. Much is gerrymandering and voter suppression. And a lot of it is who votes and who doesn’t. That’s important, especially now.
In Illinois, you can register to vote in person all the way up to election day, November 6. But in Missouri, the deadline to register to vote in the November 6 midterm elections is October 10. And any hope for stopping the Trump regime’s dismantling of American democracy will be largely built on new voters, especially younger voters and voters of color.
While those two groups are the keys to any hopes Democrats have of putting the brakes on Trump and company’s authoritarianism, the proof is in the turnout, and that proof isn’t too good. Take young people age 18 to 34. In the last midterms, 2014, their turnout was 21 percent. It rose to 50 percent in 2016, but if they return to form in these midterms, the game may be over, since no one wins anything when four-fifths of a demographic you’re depending on stays home.
In the 2016 election, 94 percent of African-American voters went for Hillary Clinton. But slightly less than 60 percent of registered black voters went to the polls. That was a significant drop from the 2012 election, and it was coupled with a 65 percent turnout for whites, most of whom, of course, voted for Trump.
But buried in that is a startling trend: 4.6 million more voters cast ballots in 2016 than in 2012. But of those, more than 80 percent, 3.7 million voters, were over age 65. And guess who the vast majority voted for?
The old, conservative, white GOP now in power was put there by old, conservative, white voters. Voters age 65 and above voted for Trump, and an astonishing 71 percent of them went to the polls. The composition of the Republican Senate on display during the Thursday hearings with Kavanaugh and Professor Blasey Ford clearly represents the people who turned out in the largest numbers – older, white, culturally conservative voters, angry that “their” country is being overrun with non-whites, feminists, gays, and the liberal/progressive young.
In some cases, despite voter photo ID and other attempts at voter suppression, African-American voters have outperformed other groups. In Alabama’s U.S. Senate election, Democrat Doug Jones only defeated Republican (and accused pedophile) Roy Moore because blacks, who make up 26 percent of the state’s population, were 29 percent of voters and provided a tsunami of votes for Jones. In other cases, voter registration drives among African Americans have met with indifferent success. After the Ferguson uprising following Michael Brown’s death, a concentrated and heavily publicized voter registration drive resulted only in 128 new voters, and the pro-police white mayor of Ferguson, which has a 70 percent black population, was re-elected.
A similar but nationwide drive to register young people, spearheaded by anti-Trump billionaire Tom Steyer and the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, is hoping to get at least a half-million new voters under age 25 to the polls November 6. If it succeeds, it would go against all the previous math for young voters. People that age have never voted in anywhere near the percentages of their parents and grandparents.
That kind of electoral math is the reason why, as America becomes younger and less white, most of its elected officials, especially in the Senate, remain white and older. They’re a pretty good representation of the people who voted for them. It’s the kind of math the GOP needs to elect or re-elect pro-Trumpers like Senate candidate Josh Hawley and U.S. Representative Ann Wagner in Missouri and U.S. Representative Mike Bost in Illinois.
Changing the face of Congress and resisting Trump isn’t rocket science. It’s simple arithmetic. Register. Vote. Have more votes than the bad guys. Period.
Charles Jaco is a journalist, author, and activist. Follow him on Twitter at @charlesjaco1.