By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
So, the midterm elections are fast approaching and, with every passing day, you are probably receiving an email and/or letter suggesting that the world will end if the Republicans take the Senate on November 4. If, like me, you are sick and tired of receiving such communications, you might be tending towards turning off and ignoring everything in connection with the elections.
I am not going to tell you how bad things will get if the Republicans capture the Senate. My guess is that you already know that. You may be denying it. You may say that things cannot get much worse. They actually can.
Let me reassure you. I am not going to try to scare you into voting. I actually do not think that such an approach works. It becomes the equivalent of yelling that the sky is falling. The bottom line is that there is a rabid right-wing, represented by today’s Republican Party, that wants to reverse the victories of the 20th century. You know that already. You know that they have been playing the race card since Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in 1968, and have gone into overdrive since the election of Obama in 2008.
So, I am going to take a different approach. We should ignore the polls for right now. One thing that is clear in midterm elections is that turnout is generally down, which means that the advantage tends to go towards whoever is angrier. That is most frequently the party that is out of power. The second thing that is clear is that the margin of victory for any one will be close. In that sense, every vote really does count. The third thing that must be factored in, and relates to the polls, is that with the greater use of cell phones as exclusive phones for individuals, it has become more and more difficult for pollsters to get completely accurate reads of the public.
What does this mean? Simply put, there is nothing inevitable about Republican victories, despite gerrymandering of election districts and voter suppression campaigns. Everything, and I mean everything will depend on turnout. Increasing the progressive electorate and ensuring that they get to the polls on November 4 will make a remarkable difference.
In order for this to work, it is not enough to scare people as to the ramifications of Republican victories, e.g., impeachment; cuts; war with Iran. If people get scarred enough they may just go into their cocoons and hope that everything comes out in the wash. No, we actually have to be inspired. Therefore, in addition to making sure that the Caligula wing of the political elite does not win total control, we have to be actively supporting candidates who are standing on the side of the regular person. We need to be standing with those who support voting rights; who support tolerance for religion and orientation; who are for racial and gender equality; and those against the USA engaging in one war after another.
The great labor leader Mother Jones coined the phrase: “Don’t Mourn, Organize.” I will borrow from her and suggest: “Don’t panic; vote!” This is not a time to let anyone turn us around.
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer. Follow him on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.