Democrats’ Failure to Embrace the Progressive Grassroots Could Spell Their Doom

The Trump/MAGA 2022 blitzkrieg cited by President Joe Biden and so many others is for sure a multipronged attack with a clear goal — to obliterate democracy itself.

It’s now been two years since Steve Bannon vowed to “take over elections” and overthrow the “Deep State” — a government run by elected officials and civil servants dedicated to serving the public.

The oft-indicted Bannon instead has summoned a fascistic base that’s “hit the ground running,” demanding an iron fisted bureaucracy run by party loyalists bowing to Donald Trump’s every command. This reality is apparent in Bannon’s “precinct strategy,” in which he is pushing right-wing activists into positions of power at election boards and poll worker outposts throughout the U.S., where they can directly impact who can vote and how those votes are counted.

The dictatorial plan encompasses more attacks on our core institutions than even the president might imagine.

And there’s only one way to beat it: grassroots organizing from the progressive left.

Let’s count the ways the right wing is attacking democracy:

  • On January 6, 2021, the Trump/Bannon minions made clear that their “Stop the Steal” mob loves violence and sees outright murder as a legitimate way to trash an electoral outcome they can’t handle. “Just understand this: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said on his “War Room” podcastThe night before. “It’s going to be moving. It’s going to be quick.” Also: “We’re converging on a point of attack,” he saidIn a separate January 5 rant. “It’s coming to a head tomorrow.”
  • Gerrymandered MAGA state legislatures are now trashing the most directly democratic feature of American governance, the popular referendum, making it clear the public will means nothing to their “Christian” view of how we all must live.
  • Florida voters voted twice to allow those convicted of felonies to vote. However, the vote was overturned by 20 arrests made in August by his new “Office of Election Crimes and Security,” Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that he will stop eligible citizens (virtually all Black) from casting their ballots even after the elections. state assured them they could voteAccording to the mandate of the public referenda.
  • Ohio Republicans have destroyed two state-wide referenda mandating that un-gerrymandered district be created. They also defied the state supreme Court, which ordered that the legislature produce fair maps that were in line with the demands of the voters for the 2020 midterm elections. With blatant contempt for the law and the will of the people, they’ve instead imposed maps on this fall’s election that are likely to unfairly sway a number of congressional seats while preserving a fascist supermajority in the state legislature. Similar things are happening in North Carolina and other states like Arizona, Florida, Alabama Texas, Texas, Arizona, Texas and Texas.
  • Multiple red states can also be identified defying referenda on abortion, voting rights, and other core democracy issues, clearly signaling that the people’s mandates mean nothing to them.
  • GOP gerrymandering became a law in the 2010 elections. The Koch Brothers bought them and Obama Democrats ignored them. They failed to fight back. Thus far-right legislatures have metastasized throughout states that used to belong to the Confederacy, the “heartland,” Arizona, and elsewhere. These red legislatures are now spreading antidemocracy laws aimed at enshrining dictatorial state based regimes.
  • According to the Brennan CenterNumerous of these legislatures have passed scores of restrictions that deny the right of vote and make it impossible to count those votes, especially if they were cast by young citizens of colour.
  • Those dictates include Georgia’s ban on giving food and waterPeople waiting in line to vote; widespread attacks on youth and color’s ability to get ballots; to have access drop boxes; to vote by mail; and many other simple mechanisms that make democracy function.
  • As Election Day draws near, legions ostensibly pro-Trump and Bannon acolytes fill local election board posts to intimidate voters and deny ballots to those who may not be interested. According to the Brennan Center election workers have been facing a variety of challenges. death threats, “doxing” (publicization of their home addresses aimed to fuel harassment), outright violence and forced removals from their positions as part of an overall right-wing campaign to fulfill Bannon’s call to “take over elections.”
  • By severely restricting poll access, eliminating early voting, erasing voting stations and overall making it far harder for working people to vote, the MAGA autocrats impose de facto poll taxes on those who cannot afford to spend whole days waiting to cast a ballot… often only to face a Bannonite bully waiting to pitch it in a waste basket.
  • MAGA bullies are weaponized the death threat — in person, by phone, in writing — to terrorize election officials, school board members, teachers, FBI agents, district attorneys (and their families), destroying vital nodes of election protection.
  • By guaranteeing endless voting station foul-ups and needless delays, Bannonite poll workers now have the dangerous ability to impose impossibly long waits on citizens vulnerable to discrimination and disenfranchisement, especially as armed militias threaten them as they wait in long lines… where they will also be denied food and water.
  • In the presently-pending Moore v. Harper case, the rightist U.S. Supreme Court could well seek to use the bogus “Independent Legislature Theory” to let gerrymandered MAGA/Trump democracy-hating state legislatures seize control of the Electoral College and usurp the public’s right to choose the next president.
  • Moore For 2024, Trump’s strategy of flooding Congress by fake state electors selected by gerrymandered lawmakers to make Trump, DeSantis or someone like them dictator for the rest of their lives, regardless who the voting public chooses, would be enshrined.
  • The 2022 and 2024 elections will also be swarmed with fake “recounts” like those in Arizona in the 2020 election, challenging any pro-democracy outcomes MAGA forces dislike.

The reality is that these desperate MAGA attempts at killing democracy are a backlash to demographic trends that could spell doom for Republicans down the line if the mechanisms that make up the U.S. democracy are kept intact.

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — which gave a sudden rush of power to gerrymandered legislatures — has mobilized the nation’s voting majority in ways that have already overwhelmed right-wing constituencies in Kansas and numerous once-conservative congressional districts.

Females make up more than half of the U.S. electoral electorate. The voting public is also born after 1981. Our multiracial LGBTQ-friendly Millennial/Zoomer constituent is so attached and supportive of democracy that it voted more than 3-2 to oust Trump in 2020. Pew Research among others has shown that the numbers in 2022/2024 are comparable. projected to be even more progressive.

The rise of the Millennial/Zoomers is accompanied by a drastic drop in right-wing Evangelism and a “Christian” faith rooted in racial bigotry, sexual puritanism and Orwellian malaise.

Bannon and his MAGA minions know that hate-based movements are doomed due to the country’s growing diversity, tolerance and progressive voting population.

Trump’s 2020 losing margin was in fact the third largest for any incumbent in U.S. history (behind only Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter). The January 6 hearings, the flood of crony indictments, even Ukraine’s stunning resistance, all portend a deeply human revulsion against the kinds of dictatorial regimes made all too real by the likes of Trump and Putin.

But the lead-up to 2022 also makes clear that corporate Democratic “business as usual” will not be sufficient to stop an armed, multilayered, anti-democratic coup.

What’s the answer?

On January 5, 2021 — the day before the Capital coup attempt — progressive democracy scored one of U.S. history’s most improbable electoral victories.

Guided by the Atlanta NAACP’s Ray McClendon and the computerized strategizing of Andrea Miller’s Center for Common Ground, grassroots campaigners in Georgia — mostly operating outside the Democratic Party — elected to the U.S. Senate the Black preacher Raphael Warnock and a young Jewish filmmaker named Jon Ossof.

The Democrats’ vital 50-50 Upper House tie was made possible by the earth-shattering double runoff wins.

The corporate party would not have been able to run its media-based campaigns without the massive grassroots upheaval led by Miller and McClendon. All accounts indicate that decisive turnouts in Democratic strongholds for youth and color made a difference.

Steve Bannon knows all this. As evidenced by his “War Room” podcasts, he has been consistently demanding door-to-door “relational campaigning,” for establishing party storefronts in key right-wing strongholds, for a “boots-on-the-ground” takeover of the electoral apparatusThis includes poll workers, election board officers, secretaries and state officials.

The corporate Democrats’ ongoing attacks against young progressive candidates have underscored their aversion to necessary change, even in the face of overt fascism. Millions of dollars are still spent on endless TV advertising that does little to influence electoral outcomes.

Despite a wave of angry activism among Millennial/Zoomers demanding the party move left, there’s little evidence its corporate gerontocracy is ready to embrace the generational wave that must happen if the Bannonites are to be defeated.

The Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. WadeThis has sparked anger from trans people and women in America.

If the Bannonite takeover is not neutralized, millions of prochoice voters could be stopped from marching to the polls.

And the victories in those two Georgia Senate races aren’t likely to repeat unless the Democrats embrace the grassroots campaigning that opens the only sure route to saving our democracy.