Franklin’s ‘keep the republic’ demands Democrats must win over the majority—or else

The absence of outrage, if not indictments, to the Big Lie is as significant as the wickedness of the disgrace.

Image Credit: Jarrod Fankhauser

Right-wing venom dramatizes the dire options—on climate, economic, voting and rights justice

No surprise the empowered party faces a tough midterm, worsened by brutal polarization. But if Democrats, buoyed by popular proposals, are clobbered by today’s seditious, jackass Republicans—well, that’s a jailing offense. The right’s unswerving brew of “fraud, fear, and fascism” represents a once-a-generation gift to nationalize the mid-term—but that demands far stronger, more unified Democratic messaging. Even if it comes down to Biden the wary vs. Trump the reckless, winning messaging matters more than ever. Especially facing high inflation and economic insecurity, Republicans will be worse.

What a political circus afoot when the silly frivolity called Sarah Palin appears less vicious (certainly less effective) than her spawn of reptilian pipsqueaks. Palin still brings theocratic fervor but can’t quite match the Trumpian ugliness of loony Greene-Gaetz-Boebert-Gosar-Cawthorn toons. If Dems can’t hold their own against a party of crooks, crackpots and, charlatans, they don’t deserve to rule. So, in the spirit of honoring reason, justice and persuasion, here are provocations to dramatize why the mid-term matters. That so many are blatantly obvious to readers here only reinforces the failure of Democratic messaging. To voters:

1) How many favor government FOR the “pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness” or stand opposed, cheering on weirdos obsessed with child-porn, pedophilia, book banning and cannibalism, let alone whether raped women hold sovereignty over their bodies? Do voters, in short, want more liberty or more state-imposed repression? Sure, take a minute.

2) How many want moralistic, twisted Christian nationalism in charge—or time-tested Yankee values of diversity, pluralism, and immigration—for two centuries fueling the common welfare? Need a minute?

3) How many support trustworthy, national health and pandemic coverage, honoring hard science, evidence and expertise—or back sectarian, deranged know-nothings whose death cult equates the best, latest medical advances with causing disease? Ask anyone surviving high school biology. Or your doctor.

4) How many think the dastardly Putin, the model of might makes right, is smarter or more admirable than the majority-elected U.S. President, the west, and nearly all the civilized world? How many object to Russian steamrolling of Ukrainian civilians, gatherings, and hospitals? Is this one hard, too?

5) How many revere the deviant, unrepresentative Supreme Court, whose decisions on minority, voting, women’s and environmental rights, plus corporate license, invoke the Lost Cause, states rights Confederacy?

6) How many agree majority rule is kaput—and by what perverse logic should fewer partisans tell the sovereign majority who’s in charge and what’s to happen? Did not minority, monarchic, top-down rule incite rebellion against King George? How many want government-owning super-rich to keep paying less taxes? Go ahead, ask whoever you know who can count—or knows history.

7) What’s wrong with insatiable billionaires doubling their worth every few years while the bottom 80% stay the same or lose buying power? Survival of the fattest? Income inequality uber alles? Trickle down trickery? Tax laws are designed to decide how to divvy up income, wealth, opportunity, and justice.

8) How many really think climate change will vanish by ignoring it? Or not matter? Or that it’s God’s punishment for secular sinners, setting up Armageddon? Why abandon our high life for a hoax—isn’t pollution just another “natural phenomenon”? What if flood waters destroy low-lying homes of a billion people? Shouldn’t the top of the food chain species not dictate its own own weird, self-destructive global experiment, all other species be damned?

9) What’s the problem when hordes of unstable yahoos rashly purchase, then carry loaded weapons to voting places and Capitol protests—what could go wrong?—while older, rural and minority red state voters are locked out of voting, thus shredding their rightful input about who packs lethal weapons like lollypops?

10) Finally, why should Trumpers (and that ilk) bother to vote at all—just to get screwed again? What’s changed since the “rigged, corrupt and stolen” 2020 election? After all, right-wing votes count only when their candidates win, certifications be damned, and what other choice is there but teeth-gnashing violence? If Trumpers keep voting, and getting skunked, don’t they just encourage freedom-loving mob protest violence? Instead, why not stay home, go online and vent your spleen as mindless trolls?

Backsliding is not “keeping” the Republic

“Democrats need to make more noise,” Sen. Brian Schatz (HI) declared last week, “We have to scream from the rooftops, because this is a battle for the free world now.” Scream? Democrats? From the rooftops? Such urgency recalls Ben Franklin’s quip, whether the Constitutional Convention birthed a monarchy or a republic—“a republic if you can keep it.” Democrats must made far more noise to “keep the Republic” by using the mid-term to dramatize what it means when red state fanatics abuse minorities, women, and those gender-different outsides fundamentalist boxes. Let screaming Democrats even offend some fat cats by pinpointing the contradiction between unspeakable wealth and the democratic ideal of roughly equal citizen input. Even finally echo M. L. King, that massive, sustained inequality is linked to racism and militarism.

Because voting, elections, and majority rule are now besmirched by the still unpunished, criminal Grandstander-in-chief, can Democrats (large and small d) not prove beyond any reasonable doubt that another Republican takeover jeopardizes confidence in law, undermines just courts, and betrays the Constitution. When fully certified elections carry no more weight than the bluster of a single, deranged strongman, so much for the glory of elections. The absence of outrage, if not indictments, to the Big Lie is as significant as the wickedness of the disgrace. Either the majority stands up and get counted—defending voting and procreation rights, how police must be curbed, how history is taught and that good books aren’t banned, then the alignment of know-nothings and the crude oligarchy threatens permanency.

When elections are kaput, campaigning never ends, and workable government, despite assorted, complex emergencies, is doomed. Dems have a golden opportunity, with more bad, anti-American actors across the isle that since the Civil War. If the majority is not apprised of the stakes, Franklin turns over in his grave, “We gave you an outline for republican democracy—and all your amendments count for nought if the sovereignty of the citizen majority is frittered away.”

If Democrats don’t up their game—and realize how utterly ruthless and unprincipled is the right—questing only for total power, they can hardly expect to win against well-funded, media-savvy manipulators. Dems can still present half-assed, compromised ideas as magnitudes better than right-wingers without ideas or proposals—except to make this union far more imperfect. Added advice at no extra charge: Blasting Trump with multiple indictments is a great kickoff to the mid-term fisticuffs. You don’t think prosecutors are waiting to time their litigation? Nay, that would suggest strategic savvy than hitherto on display.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.