F&L 2020: It’s Not Over

It’s not over yet, people.

No, not the Presidential race, though to be sure we’re still working through some of the process. Instead, let us consider the Senate: presently deadlocked at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats, with a probable two seats up for runoff elections in Georgia.

Republicans don’t seem to have quite realized yet that the Democrats are probably going to win both seats.

Stop for a moment and consider: Georgia is a reliably Republican state. Election results indicate that Trump’s support there hasn’t declined since 2016; instead, more Democrats voted. And why was that possible?

Mail-in voting.

Which, of course, will also be used for the Senate run-off election.

And which party has a massive ballot distribution and collection machine already staffed and ready to go? Let me give you a hint: It’s not the Republicans.

This past election cycle, the D.N.C. outraised the Republicans by staggering amounts, and they demonstrated their willingness to spend tens of millions on marginal races. Even now there exists a massive campaign war chest. It’s not even conceivable that they will avoid spending massive sums on get-out-the-vote programs, ballot distribution, advertising, and of course vote harvesting. Which, while in a normal year would be illegal, this year is not.

I want to repeat that point: It’s not illegal. You can argue unfair or even contrary to the principle of the body of law, but if instead you judge by the text of the statutes, these practices are perfectly lawful. The alternative is mass disenfranchisement due to pandemic, and that’s entirely unacceptable.

Democrats should not celebrate this. True, it means that their party will have a technical advantage going into the next administration. However, it also means that this is due to tactical errors on the part of their opposition, and not because of any sort of popular mandate. Any social changes undertaken against the collective will of the populace will accomplish nothing aside from a massive backlash in the upcoming midterm elections — which, by and large, won’t be vote-by-mail.

Republicans should take this as a call to arms, but they won’t; complacency will prevent any sort of systemic change — refusal to accept change is the core tenet of conservatism — and the runoff election will be over and done with before they even think of reacting to the obvious evidence of the Presidential election. In large part, their party will still be in denial.

But a few injustices can be righted by the time the Democrats inevitably lose the midterms. We can hope that Puerto Rico will finally be granted statehood, a privilege long overdue considering the generations of sacrifices made by their young men in our nation’s wars. Perhaps we can achieve normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba, our military withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and a diplomatic curb on Russian and Chinese militarism. It’s even possible that the upcoming commercial real estate crash might be averted, and the process of reforming our nation’s medical system can be begun.

I doubt it; the Democrats will probably be too busy playing politics to make policy. But it’s possible. We can hope.


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