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No Hope? Know Kansas, Know Hope

Regular readers of this blog know that I am usually gloomy on the near- and long-term outlook for America and the world. The march of nouveau fascism often seems unstoppable. The Very Stable Genius’s buffoonish and chaotic tendencies aside, these people are extraordinarily well-organized in their multi-level assault on American democracy, and international trends also seem to be at their back, with their adulation of Victor Orbán, the Maximum Magyar who is now spewing openly Nazi rhetoric against race-mixing, as Exhibit A.

But any student of history, and especially of the dizzying reversals so characteristic of the past couple of generations, should understand that there is nothing less assured than a sure thing these days. In his instantly infamous opinion in Dobbs v. All American Women, Justice Samuel L. “Angry White Man Sam” Alito sneered that if all those women cared so much about their precious rights, they could turn out and vote. As a partisan hack of the MAGA-tized Republican Party, like all five of his colleagues on the fascist Supreme Court junta, he clearly thought that they had almost half of those broads so bamboozled they no longer knew up from down, and had tied down the majority so effectively that they would never act until it was too late.

Then came Kansas. However “conservative” people in that state are, they were revolted by the naked cruelty and misogyny of the “pro-life” side since the junta struck down Roe v. Wade. It was as simple as that; well almost—it took a lot of hard work by the pro-choice side, too. And so, all of the fascists’ dirty tricks failed them—“hiding” the referendum in an August primary, wording it so that a “yes” vote was a vote against abortion rights (they must have picked that one up from another international fascist hero, the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet), even misleading robo-texts. The landslide result buried them.

Now, it’s quite true that this was one unique, isolated vote on the abortion issue, as opposed to a regular election where people have all kinds of other concerns on their minds. But there have been other strange straws in the wind during what is supposed to be a “red wave” year, like the extraordinary Democratic turnout in the Georgia primary, which the MAGAs tried to spin as meaning that their voter suppression laws were always harmless after all. Not so; but together, these two red-state surprises and the 2020 election results do show that as far as America has been dragged down the slope toward right-wing racist “Christianist” autocracy, enough democratic structures remain in place that an aroused majority can still get its way. And this should worry the MAGAs, because the slight Republican advantage in “generic” polling about the upcoming Congressional elections has melted away, notwithstanding inflation and Biden’s unpopularity.

In short, there’s a slight break in the slate-gray cloud cover, which the anti-fascist side has got to put all its energy into widening. Perhaps even more important than control of Congress are all the “down-ballot” governorships and state legislative races that are up for grabs. Due to the long-term success of Republican gerrymandering over the past generation, MAGA fascist strategy now leans very heavily on control of state governments. That’s why they’re pushing for state legislatures to gain the power to cancel and override the popular vote in ’24, if it doesn’t turn out the way they want. It’s a strategy that falls to pieces, if their grip on state governments is eroded.

We have to turn out the vote. Don’t agonize, organize.


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