America may no longer exist as a functioning democracy within two years. Donald Trump will make sure of that if both houses of Congress remain in GOP control Wednesday morning.
The Republican’s Three R’s – the rich, the religious, and the racist – have never cared for polyglot democracy anyway. The rich want to dodge taxes, stick the middle-class with the bill, and accumulate wealth. The (white evangelical) religious want to outlaw abortion, proclaim the doctrine of the Caucasian Christ, and function as an American Taliban enforcing Christian Sharia. The racist want to re-create the United States as a white ethno-state, terrorize non-Christian non-white communities, and make it difficult, if not impossible, for minorities to vote.
Trump revealed to Vanity Fair magazine in 1990 that he kept a book of Hitler’s speeches at his bedside for inspiration. That same magazine reported last week that Trump told his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, that his Nuremberg-style rallies are almost exclusively white because, in Trump’s words, “blacks are too stupid to vote for me.” I’m guessing he didn’t use the word “blacks.”
Trump has already incited domestic terrorism and mass murder, corrupted the nation’s highest court, spilled U.S. secrets to the Russians in the Oval Office, sent armed troops to the border in a political stunt, obstructed justice by trying to torpedo the Mueller investigation, enriched himself at taxpayer’s expense, spewed racist rhetoric aimed at causing violence, and undermined U.S. alliances that have prevented World War III for 70 years.
This gives aid and comfort to America’s enemies. And America’s enemies don’t just live in Moscow and Beijing. Trump’s supporters are the enemies of everything this country stands for. They know all about Trump’s racism, sexism, and violent sociopathic authoritarianism, and support him not in spite of it, but because of it.
Their loyalty is not to the principles of the United States of America, but to the Confederate States of America – white supremacy, the rule of the rich, and a country where minorities and white race traitors are kept in line through violence and intimidation.
This is what we face when we vote Tuesday. But be clear-eyed about one overriding fact: this election is just one battle in a war for the soul of this country that will last years, perhaps decades. Even after Trump vanishes, his white nationalist supporters will still be around. Hundreds of other political candidates are waiting in the wings, all of them believing the same things Trump does. Tuesday is not one-and-done. We have to be committed to defeating them in every election, in every forum, in every venue, for the foreseeable future.
If Democrats win the House, count on Trump to lash out at “fraud.” Also count on the GOP to use the lame duck session of Congress between election day and inauguration day to jam through more tax cuts for the wealthy that will eventually lead to cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Trump would probably pardon Paul Manafort, fire Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and attempt to dump Sessions’ deputy, Rod Rosenstein, all as a prelude to firing Robert Mueller and ending the investigation into Trump’s collusion with the Russians, obstruction of justice, and, possibly, treason.
That would lead to a Constitutional crisis that would end up before a Supreme Court anchored by two Trump right-wing appointees. They would undoubtedly rule in Trump’s favor. If millions of Americans take to the streets to protest, as seems likely, Trump could declare a national emergency and suspend civil liberties, “temporarily,” of course, to restore order.
But that’s nothing compared to what will happen if the GOP still controls Congress Wednesday morning. If Trump has already been allowed to aid and abet domestic terrorism, fill the White House with white nationalists, threaten to re-write the 14th Amendment, send troops to the border, and wreck U.S. foreign policy, a GOP majority after election day would green-light something even worse.
Billions would be spent on a useless border wall, Obamacare would be repealed, the Mueller probe would end, and Trump would be unchained and unchecked in his war against most of America, the America that doesn’t support him. The 1976 National Emergencies Act says Congress can limit the power of a president to declare a national emergency and suspend civil liberties. Another GOP Congress under Trump would merely nod and say “Go ahead.” A scenario like that would be far-fetched under any president except the current raging white nationalist.
The fight is already on. In some states with early voting, the number of ballots so far is greater than all the votes in the 2014 midterms. Among voters under age 30, early voting turnout is up 131 percent in Arizona, 217 percent in Florida, and over 400 percent in both Texas and Georgia.
But early voting numbers don’t equal results. In the Senate, 2018 was always going to be a rough cycle for Democrats, Trump or not. Most Senate seats up this year are defended by Democrats, and several incumbent Democrats, from Missouri’s Claire McCaskill to North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, might go down in defeat.
In the House, chances look better for Democrats. But Dems need to take 23 House seats from the GOP to have a majority, and as several Republican strategists have noted, a one-seat majority is as good as a 30-seat majority.
None of this implies that the Democratic Party is the savior of the nation. There is a lot to dislike about Democrats, from a D.C. leadership willing to compromise with Trump, to local party establishments spending too much time trying to convert Trumpistas and not enough time cultivating their progressive and minority base.
But, as presidential historian Michael Beschloss has said, this is a “national emergency.” Stopping Trump means voting his party out, simply because their remaining in power will mean the end of America.
Charles Jaco is a journalist, author, and activist. Follow him on Twitter at @charlesjaco1.