David Leonhardt of The New York Times reviews how we got here and then offers encouragement:
Decades ago, a businessman built a fortune thanks in large measure to financial fraud. His corrupt gains helped him become famous. He then launched a political career by repeatedly telling a racist lie, about the first black president secretly being an African.
This lie created an audience in right-wing media that made possible a presidential campaign. During that campaign, the candidate eagerly accepted — indeed, publicly sought — the illegal assistance of a foreign enemy. When national security officials raised alarm with Congress, before Election Day, leaders of the candidate’s party refused to act.
The foreign assistance appears to have been crucial to the candidate’s narrow victory. He won with only 46.1 percent of the popular vote, less than 16 losing candidates over the years had, including Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Williams Jennings Bryan and the little-remembered Horatio Seymour.
Having won, the new president filled a Supreme Court seat that his party had stolen with an unprecedented power grab. This weekend, the president finished filling a second seat, through a brutal, partisan process. During it, the president, himself an admitted sexual molester, mocked victims of abuse.
Together, the two new justices have cemented an extremist Republican majority on the Supreme Court. It has already begun acting as a kind of super-legislature, throwing out laws on voting rights, worker rights, consumer rights and political influence buying. Now, the court is poised to do much more to benefit the wealthy and powerful at the expense of most Americans — and the planet.
This is not how democracy is supposed to work…
… The past two weeks, on top of everything that came before, have created a sense of frustration and injustice that I have never seen before from people on the left and in the center. The question now is, What are you going to do with that anger?
Here is my suggestion: Get involved. Do it now. Be smart about how. And help turn the crisis of the Trump presidency into a new day for American democracy.
The only good solution to this mess involves fighting for democratic principles. In concrete terms, this means turning your attention away from the Supreme Court, for now, and toward the midterm elections. The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh is over. The midterms are not, and, one way or the other, they will change Washington. Either President Trump will be emboldened — to fire Robert Mueller, take away health insurance and so on — or he will be constrained. There is no election outcome that preserves the status quo.
Remember, Trump has never enjoyed majority support in this country. But many of the Americans who oppose both him and today’s Republican Party don’t vote. In the last midterms, in 2014, only 16 percent — 16 percent!— of citizens between the ages of 18 and 29 voted…
The easiest way to encourage turnout is with your own family and friends. You should come up with a specific plan about when and where you will vote — which, research has shown, increases voting — and announce that plan to your friends and relatives, presumably over social media. Then ask them to do the same. “Social pressure,” says Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote, “is mighty persuasive.”
If you’re still energized, don’t stop there. You can also have an effect outside of your social circles. Look at what happened in Virginia’s state elections last year: Turnout surged 17 percent, compared with four years earlier, and a grass-roots effort was crucial to the surge. In the campaign’s last four days, activists knocked on 1.4 million doors across Virginia. Often, they did so working in groups of friends.
Of course, Virginia was one of the few states holding elections last year. This year, the whole country is doing so, which creates an enormous need for volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls. Groups like Indivisible and Swing Left have helpful, localized advice online.
I understand that many people feel awkward about getting involved in politics. But if you’re one of those people feeling righteous anger today, I think you need to get involved.
Imagine how you will feel if the midterms turn into a … victory for Donald Trump. That outcome, I’m sorry to say, remains entirely possible.
But not if we get involved. There are more of us than them. The world is watching and waiting. November 6th is only 29 days away.