Lemme put this on the table

By Sarah Roark, member of Bay Area Refuse Fascism steering commmittee
Hollering into the void with more than occasional smartassity.

Read more of Sarah’s writing at medium.com

January 11, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Democratic friends and loved ones. And I’m speaking to all of y’all, by the way. Berniecrats. Hillarycrats. Justice Dems. TYTers. Centrists.

I am so there for all your efforts toward 2018. I want, desperately, to see a #BlueWave. I will donate and volunteer and pimp it on social media and all the things. But I need you to be able to answer for me one very simple question.

Do you actually see that happening with our system of checks and balances in the current decaying state it’s in, and if so, how?

I make no claims to never ever winging it. And obviously there are multiple scenarios for success as well as failure. But if you’re going to argue with me that what I’m currently doing with Refuse Fascism has no plausible path to victory, you’re going to need to lay out for me your own plausible path and why it’s better.

Let’s start off with: I’ve been seeing an inherently unfavorable electoral map in 2018. Did that change when I wasn’t looking?

Monsieur StrawDem: But everybody hates what this Administration is doing so much that we can surely get blue voters to the polls in much greater numbers! Look at the Roy Moore election or [insert other special election here].

Of course ‘everybody’ hates what this Administration is doing. ‘Everybody’ has hated the dude since before his election. Often since WELL before his election. That did not prevent his coming to power, or his significant progress toward consolidating an antidemocratic system of rule; and there are reasons that happened that continue to be an obstacle. So you need to explain how we surmount those obstacles. ‘That mans is so bad that nobody will vote for him’ is a proven bullshit argument.

And suppose that we DO get a better blue turnout in 2018, which is perfectly possible. How much better does it have to be to overcome the safe red incumbent districts and states? The voter suppression? Gerrymandering? Russian interference? Possibly outright fraud? (I put nothing past Trumpists.)

I will also humbly submit that as deep-red a state as Alabama is, and as notable as it rightly is that a Democrat won a Senate seat there — under normal circumstances at least, defeating a credibly accused repeat child molester of any party shouldn’t be a high bar to clear.

Madame StrawDem: We are working very hard on gerrymandering and all that! Obama has a new organization! There’s lots of organizations!

Yes, there are. And remind me what the game plan for that involves? That is, I know it’s things like restoring the VRA and redrawing districts, especially before the next Census. I mean how do you achieve that, exactly?

Madame StrawDem: Well, you can bring court cases. But mainly you have to elect lots of Democrats, especially from underserved communities and demographics (or from my own, BETTER end of the Democrat political spectrum ;-) ) to state and local office. That way they’ll be there in state legislatures, in a position to directly affect redistricting work. And some of them will advance to Congress, which is the body that has to restore meaning to the VRA, or overturn Citizens United, or both!

You’re right. That is incredibly important work. I support it. Remind me when the next big opportunity to elect Dems in number is?

Monsieur StrawDem: Well, 2018 of course.


…Okay. This is the same 2018 election that I just argued is a) mathematically unfavorable and b) deeply unlikely to be free or fair, and you didn’t dispute that idea?

And how long is it till then? How many further assaults on the integrity of our electoral process do you think Trump, Pence and the GOP will be able to commit in the meantime? To say nothing of any Russian interference?

Madame StrawDem: All right, smarty pants. We never said it was a foolproof plan, but yours is no better. Your turn to explain steps 2 and 3 of your underpants-gnome scheme.

Ours isn’t foolproof either for sure. There is no foolproof anymore. The last relatively easy way to stave off utter humanity-destroying disaster ended in November 2016. I worked for it. You worked for it. The game board was tilted, but for whatever combination of reasons, the upshot is we lost. We’re on a completely different battlefield now, with an enemy that has absolutely no respect for rules or norms or basic decency.

Look, if we have elections at all in 2018 and 2020, of course I want the Dems to be as prepared as possible. Or, failing that, for some anti-Trump/pro-humanity force or coalition to be as prepared as possible. So by all means, work on that! As I said, I’ll support however I can. And that doesn’t have to conflict with what I’m doing at all, by the way. Our goals are hardly mutually exclusive. But I would put it to you that the success of your effort does most likely depend on the prior success of my effort, or of some damn similar effort. And I’ll tend to why exactly I think that is in my next post.

Monsieur StrawDem: Ha. I doubt it. The only non-electoral path I see to getting either of them out of office is Mueller —

STAAAAAHP. Just stop right there.

You do realize that’s not non-electoral, right? Nixon was threatened with impeachment by a Democratic Congress. Now let’s review. To impeach, you need a majority of the House and a two-thirds majority in the Senate.

Guess what we don’t have right now. Guess what is literally mathematically impossible to achieve in 2018. The Dems have 23 Senate seats. Add in the two Independents if you like, that gives us 25. Now suppose we won all eight Republican Senate seats that are up for the 2018 election. 25+8 = 33.

33 /= 67. Okay, so now we’re looking at 2020 at the earliest. After three more years of the Trump/Pence ethno/Christofascist government.

So now what?


Are you waiting for the GOP to get over their abject moral collapse, their slavering terror and their guilty knowledge of complicity enough to come to the rescue?


Well. Stay tuned and we’ll get into more of that “now what.” I wouldn’t be bitching if I didn’t have a positive case to make, I promise! In the meantime, comments and feedback very welcome.




Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.