In case you might wonder what dummies I refer to, I confess to being the dummy here. Concerned with comfort zone things like pre-history, anthropology, and paleontology, last night I was reminded by Bruce Hahne that, with 34 vote suppression bills already law in 19 states, we are no longer there. In a Peninsula chapter of Indivisibles webinar he gave a rushed presentation of his slide show (why rushed? because the warm and fuzzies occupied entirely too much time. He ought to have had the whole hour. ) For full details, and they are important, see the slide show here.
U.S. elections are not what I naively liked to imagine: people vote, a winning candidate is identified and voila! he’s elected. No. Bruce Hahne’s presentation made it clear that the U.S. election process is a CHAIN consisting of 5 steps. They are:
1. wining the vote; 2 wining the count; 3. winning certification; winning the electoral college; 5. winning in congress; then comes 6. assuming power (the period between certification in Congress and taking office). That chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Voting is only the first step. The ultimate threat to “assuming power” is of course a military coup, or Supreme Court judicial “bloodless coup” between November 2024, and Jan. 20, 2025.
If January 6 was just a rehearsal as many journalists believe it was, last time insurgents went for certification, link #5 (see orange), with the deaths and suicides of some 7 capitol police to show for it. But Bruce Hahne gives us the ultimate gift: what to do about it now going forward. That’s where I hope to advance the remedies he proposed. The first consists in non-remedies, either because it’s already too late (attacking federal anti gerrymandering laws for example) or too far ahead. Expanding the Supreme Court, (1. on the list) for example because its goals will be a long time coming, with little bearing for 2022 – 24.
For election subversion, which must be where our attention focuses now, the list continues: 2. legislative remedies, 3. electoral remedies (for 2022) 4. grassroots and relational remedies, and 5. on-going litigation. (a subject all to itself which he lacks time to cover).
2. Expanding to legislative defensive remedies, GOP laws that enable election subversion must be blocked (see multiple efforts by FairFight.com). Under offensive remedies he sites such laws actually in play now that protect the entire election process such as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, and, with no legislation pending yet, Electoral College Act overhaul.
3. At the federal level, electoral remedies include strong efforts to hold both Houses in 2022, and insuring that Democratic governorships in swing states be maintained at the state level. Special emphasis must be placed on defending pro-Democracy Republicans in critical primaries. You can find which candidates are running to ease voting on NPR’s website. People can get involved in the Republican primary to support such candidates, either by phone banking, texting, and/or postcarding. Info at GOTV. Key states are GA, AZ, & MI.
4. Grassroots and other relational remedies include promoting strong awareness when speaking with others that U.S. “Democracy” is at risk. (I use quote marks here for obvious reasons). People can build on pro-democracy relationships and coalitions with many organizations, not only left and progressive groups. If we are to defend democracy, people must build alliances of convenience with GOP pro-democracy groups and individuals. Liz Cheney is one example he sites.
Individuals, working on defending democracy, had best start from the standpoint that a better world is possible, and accept that this struggle will last for the very long haul with many set backs along the way. The next step is to become involved with a partisan political organization such as Indivisible, FieldTeam6.org, FairFight.com, etc. or a can-do Democratic club. Take a look at articles listed on the bonhoffer.tv/democracy website and share your fave with friends and neighbors. Cheer folks on who make pro-democracy statements, even if personally you can’t stand them. Get hip with best practices for civil resistance by reading Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth and watching the On Tyranny series videos by Yale professor Tim Snyder. Watch the Jan 30 webinar Resist: The Relentless Attack on American Democracy and How We Fight Back with speaker David Pepper, former Democratic party chair for the state of Ohio. For important e-mail notifications sign up at demVolCtr.org/subscribe.
Hahne’s slides conclude with an ominous “coup-o-meter” showing that we are already in the next-to-the-worst orange zone, something called “attempted coup,” (and that the worst, the red zone, represents a not-yet U.S. coup – others like JFK’s assassination, 9-11 being some of the earlier ones). It succeeds a rather impressive chain last culminating with the Jan. 6 2021 coup.
For me, the main take-aways are that alliances must be forged across the aisle with pro-Democracy Republicans (Liz Cheney is one example) and that insuring a Democracy plurality in both Houses in 2022 and 24 is absolutely essential.
Senator Schumer has said the Senate will bring a vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act with a target date of MLK’s birthday, November 17. Between now and then, supportive calls must be made, if at all possible every day; if not, every other day, or at least once a week by everyone in this country concerned about real elections, opposed to gerrymandered sham. All Senators can be reached at 1-833-345-2551. The White House can be reached at 202 456-1111 Tuesdays through Thursdays, 8 AM to Noon. Presumably that’s on DC time. Because our highly progressive Senator Feinstein seems to have missed many recent votes, I include her e-mail:https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me/
Originally I had planned to devote this newsletter issue to summarizing the dire warnings of the many* articles appearing now (see “Three Retired Generals: The Military Must Prepare Now for a 2024 Insurrection”) mapping threats to democracy, in particular a military coup, one that might occur at that point in the chain, between the elections of November 2024, and Jan. 20, 2025 when the winning candidate takes office. This last period is the one most vulnerable to a military coup, one of many possible, which might result from political divisions within the Pentagon. But emphasizing what we can do about our fragile “democracy” right now seems even more to the point.
*Resources in democracy’s defense https://sites.google.com/site/bonhoffertv/democracy
(A barrage this week, but the occasion calls for this and much, much more.)
ELIMINATE the filibuster so John Lewis Voting Rights ACT can pass.
SEND a message to your Senators demanding they stop voter suppression bills in their tracks by passing the Freedom to Vote Act.
ADD your name to demand Congress expel the members who helped plan the January 6 insurrection.
TELL AG Merrick Garland at the DOJ to investigate and prosecute #45 for any crimes he committed related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
HOLD #45 responsible for Jan. 6.
TELL Wall Street to quit funding insurrectionists.
SIGN to support the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation.
STOP the 350 voter suppression bills introduced across 47 different states.
READ which corporations are funding Jan. 6 seditionists, and make sure to boycott as many as you can, and when you do be sure to tell them why.
READ and consider donating to the neveragain PAC.
Super Rose: Texas team applauded for giving What Big Pharma refuses: an unpatented, open-source COVID vaccine (Cobervax) to share with the world without personal profit.
Smaller roses: U.S., Russia, China, UK, and France issue rare joint statement ‘No winners in a nuclear war.
In presidential polls, Brazil’s Lula leads judge who locked him up.
In Venezuela, social program meets goal of delivering 3 million homes. (Tell more then half a million homeless persons that the U.S. doesn‘t need socialism.)
Petition to strip war criminal Tony Blair of knighthood passes the 250,000 mark.
Thousands rally in Baghdad to mark 2020 killing of General Soleimani by the U.S.
Winnemucca Indian colony defends against bulldozing of their homes (shades of Palestine?)
France bans plastic packaging for most fruit and vegetables.
Leaders at Transportation and the FAA raise concerns about 5-G C-band’s interference with air travel safety.
U.S. telecom operators agree to 5 G delay (two weeks?) in U-turn decision.
In victory for Democracy and blow to #45-ism, FDIC chair resigns.
U.S. close to ending buried nuke waste cleanup in Idaho.
Republicans hastily come out in favor of modest election reform after Manchin opens door to filibuster changes.
Occupy Biden event calls for Biden to act now on climate change.
Bernie’s new year’s resolution for all progressives: fight like hell in 2022.
Campaign aims to bar all Jan. 6 insurrectionists (tourists!) including #45—from future public office.
Biden administration unveils first-ever anti-corruption plan .
Jayapal leads 50+ Democrats in urging Biden to end #45-era assault on Medicare.
Boston Globe endorses Pressley’s bill to transform broken clemency process and combat mass incarceration (the new slavery?)
Boston-based Winn Companies—which manages approximately $14 billion worth of largely affordable and military housing in 550 developments across 22 states—learns to try mediation to prevent evictions. (What a concept!)
|Legislative, judicial, and executive frogs|