At the New York Times, David Leonhardt raises the unthinkable:
What if the Republicans Win Everything Again?
He does so for the fairly apparent purpose of motivating the troops, to remind them that despite all the noise they hear in their echo chambers, despite everything Rachel Maddow says nightly about how the Marshal of the Supreme Court will be arresting Darth Cheeto any moment now, despite the certainty that the majority of Americans are against them, it’s still possible that the Republicans could win.
Voters who lean Republican — including whites across the South — could set aside their disappointment with Trump and vote for Republican congressional candidates. Voters who lean left — including Latinos and younger adults — could turn out in low numbers, as they usually do in midterm elections. The Republicans’ continuing efforts to suppress turnout could also swing a few close elections.
If it happens, it won’t because the Democrats aren’t the better team, but because the Republicans are the evil team.
No matter what, Democrats will probably win the popular vote in the House elections, for the first time since 2012. Trump, after all, remains unpopular. But the combination of gerrymandering and the concentration of Democratic voters in major cities means that a popular-vote win won’t automatically translate into a House majority.
Both sides are doing their best to game the American psyche, to outrage and motivate their base to show up at the polls. It’s not as if Americans seem capable of making that choice for their own sake, so they need a push, a scare. What could be scarier than Trump emboldened by a midterm vindication?
The game being played, however, masks another game. Much as Trump and his Republican party enablers may be hated for being vulgar, amoral, ignorant and deceitful, the Democratic tent has grown tiny, minuscule, and no longer wants a vast swathe of America to enter, unless they’re prepared to sacrifice their lives, their families for the cause.
According to the report, 25 percent of Americans are traditional or devoted conservatives, and their views are far outside the American mainstream. Some 8 percent of Americans are progressive activists, and their views are even less typical.
The 8% of progressive Americans make a lot of noise, and the Democratic party not only listens, but has chosen to bear their standard. If this election was a choice between moderate conservativism and socially-engineered, fully-regulated democracy for the benefit of the marginalized, there wouldn’t be a chance in hell that the 8% of progressive activists would get their way. But that’s not the choice. The choice is Trump and his minions versus anybody who isn’t Trump.
The midterm elections are being promoted as a battle between validating the worst and most ignorant of right extremism and the forces of goodness, whose primary virtue is that they’re not Trump. It’s a cool trick if it works. If this election was framed as a referendum between traditional American values and the reinvention of America as the land of racism and sexism, there would be a very different perspective than if it’s framed as a vindication of Darth Cheeto.
The “exhausted majority” finds itself in an untenable position. While few moderately intelligent people can tolerate Trump, the alternative is to allow the 8% to sneak in an agenda that is contrary to their views and could never be sold, and would never be bought, on its own. There is no mainstream support for identity politics, the Victimocracy, that social justice would try to ram down our throats.
Even though we’re true believers in equality, there’s nothing equal about a government that serves the interests of a tiny minority at the expense of the majority. Is our Constitution the manifestation of racism and sexism, to be trashed for the sake of the woke? So they say.
This could never be a twinkle in the eye of the most passionate activist but for Trump. This election sets up the juxtaposition of the worst against the unacceptable, and compels us to pick one. Will we be attending hate speech re-education classes or listening to hate speech in the State of the Union? Either way, we lose.