Four more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs or four more Samuel Alitos
My wife doesn’t usually try to scare me on purpose. She knows I’m already prone to dreams in which Trump wins and we all end up with Vladimir Putin faces — like in that one Twilight Zone.
So when she sent me this piece that’s going around by Tobias Stone, I knew we had reached the point in this election when we all grab our ears and flop like fish until we exorcise the thought of any Republican — let alone Birther Trump — winning the presidency.
Here’s the scariest part of Stone’s piece, in case you missed it:
As the events that led to the First World War unfolded, there were a few brilliant minds who started to warn that something big was wrong, that the web of treaties across Europe could lead to a war, but they were dismissed as hysterical, mad, or fools, as is always the way, and as people who worry about Putin, Brexit, and Trump are dismissed now.
Then after the War to end all Wars, we went and had another one. Again, for a historian it was quite predictable. Lead people to feel they have lost control of their country and destiny, people look for scapegoats, a charismatic leader captures the popular mood, and singles out that scapegoat. He talks in rhetoric that has no detail, and drums up anger and hatred. Soon the masses start to move as one, without any logic driving their actions, and the whole becomes unstoppable.
What triggers this great undoing?
Brexit, perhaps, Stone argues.
“Brexit — a group of angry people winning a fight — easily inspires other groups of angry people to start a similar fight, empowered with the idea that they may win.”
This really has been Trump’s plan all along, to trigger unbearable unrest and attract more white votes than Romney who attracted more white votes than any Republican in 24 years. And after a four day free TV commercial broadcast from an alternate universe where Scott Baio is still a star, he’s slightly ahead in the polls.
So is it possible here?
Well, it was definitely possible in the GOP primary, where the demographics were even older and white than the population that gave us Brexit.
Is it possible in the general election?
Only if Trump can avoid the “demographic trap” of attracting more white voters without losing great swathes college-educated Republicans and minorities. If he can’t do that, he can’t win enough of the states Obama won in 2012.
Trump putting together a bigger coalition than Romney seems impossible most of time. He actively alienates any group that isn’t “white males and their obedient wives,” gave the most repulsive convention speech ever and regularly does indefensible things, like aligning with Putin.
But when you think about where we are, how much sexism there is our society and how good Trump is at drawing attention to himself with his hypnotic salesman PUA BS, you feel scared. At least I do. Especially when the polls and Michael Moore and the Dilbert guy are screaming, “This is possible!”
My greatest fear isn’t just that Trump is aligned with Putin. My greatest fear is he wants to be our Putin with a weave.
And even if his victory isn’t the end of our democracy, you can easily envision the misery that immigrants, Muslims and the 20 million Americans who will almost immediately lose their health insurance will endure.
By electing Trump, we’d be volunteering to give millions of our most vulnerable fellow citizens their pre-existing conditions back.
Rob Delaney is a comic who is half of the team that created Catastrophe, a sitcom that’s so raw, revealing and hilarious you’d think it was from the creators of the 2016 election.
Rob spent 2012 defenestrating Mitt Romney on Twitter. This year he’s busy writing the next season of Catastrophe, which actually pays, so he’s busy this time around. But after endorsing Bernie Sanders in primary, he has written a post explaining why he’s voting for Hillary Clinton.
His thinking mostly comes down to his theory that “we’re all born rotting.”
He writes, “My thinking certainly visits all the other issues along the way (or a few of them anyway; I don’t have to have an opinion on everything as I’m not running and never will run for president) but number one among all the issues for me is health care.”
So as much as he loves Sanders’ plan for single payer, he’s repulsed by Trump’s recycling of conservative tripe that has left millions of Americans in medical debt.
And he also wants to remind you that “the next president could nominate up to four Supreme Court Justices.”
I put it like this: Four more Ruth Bader Ginsburgs or four more Samuel Alitos.
Trump has outsourced his choices to the far right Heritage Foundation so we know for sure that who ever he appoints will overturn Roe v. Wade. This won’t just end the right to control our bodies and make our reproductive choices, it removes poor people’s right to operate with the sort of freedom that most of us take for granted. And in red states this is already true. We need to be working to reverse this, as Hillary Clinton and Democrats have vowed to do, not make it worse. The same is true of the two greatest crises of our time: wealth inequality and climate change.
Like Rob and Bernie Sanders, I think the best hope for at least not reversing the progress on these issues is electing Hillary Clinton, who is running on the most progressive Democratic platform ever.
Thinking this all out actually calms me down because it feels like we’re talking about a normal election — not a great undoing triggered by a bigoted opportunist who has empowered hordes of antisemites and promises to destabilize the world by abandoning the institutions that have brought us the greatest stability and prosperity even known.
Now I’m freaking myself out again, which is probably good.
Given what I believe is at stake, we all need to do the best we can given the obligations and limitations we all face.
What’s the best we can? Go as far on this list as you can.
- Register and vote.
- Encourage others to register and vote.
- Start a “news” channel, a Super PAC or a “social welfare” non-profit.
We don’t have to fall into old patterns. A nation that elected Barack Obama twice is better than this. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.