The Republican Party has been transformed into a real and serious threat, one that is much greater than anything we have seen in over 100 years. Because of the undemocratic nature of the electoral college, Trump came extremely close to being reelected. If Georgia, Michigan and Arizona had gone for Trump, he would be the president today. The difference was just 0.2% in Georgia and Michigan and 0.3% in Arizona.
January 6 was not some “black swan” isolated event. Rather, it gives a hint of the forces that are taking over that party and threaten to take over the country.
• Repressive legislation: As of the present 45 different states have considered 222 pieces of repressive legislation, with 31 such bills enacted and 69 still pending. The majority of these bills make minor infractions into serious felonies and permit such vigilante actions as drivers running over protesters. Interestingly, most of these bills are aimed at preventing civil disobedience at energy facilities like oil and gas pipelines. Another aspect of these repressive laws are those against a woman’s right to have an abortion. In several states, new laws prohibit abortion as soon as a fetal hear beat can be detected, which can mean even before a woman even knows she is pregnant!
• Voter Suppression: According to the Brennan Center “As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states…. Five restrictive bills have already been signed into law…. In addition, at least 55 restrictive bills in 24 states are moving through legislatures: 29 have passed at least one chamber…”
• Fraudulent vote count: An even more serious threat is the Republicans’ drive to take partisan control over the process of elections themselves, including counting of ballots. Those election Republican officials who refused to concede to Trump’s demands to falsify vote counting, such as Brad Raffensperger in Georgia, are having their powers stripped from them and Republican legislatures are taking over running elections, counting ballots and even assigning members of the electoral college. Similar steps are being taken in Michigan, Texas and Arizona. This is being done while they continue to maintain the “Big Lie” that Trump was somehow cheated out of a victory.
• Republicans’ violent and even fascist bent: The Republican Party is now attracting and building upon violent and outright fascist elements as part of their base. Republicans who don’t toe the line are receiving death threats and the situation is so serious that they are now considering buying bullet proof vests as a necessary work-related expense! (This is nothing new for left Democrats like Ocasio Cortez, etc.) These threats must be taken seriously. Top Republicans like Ted Cruz maintain ties to white supremacist groups.
• Law Enforcement: The Brennan Center reports that dozens of white supremacist organizations have ties with the police. And dozens of cops attended the January 6 protest while at least a dozen invaded the capitol building. While the US military brass stood up to Trump’s call for them to bring out the troops to stop the 2020 elections, the Council on Foreign Relations reports that a wing of the US military is becoming increasingly “radicalized”, meaning having links with the far right.
The Big Lie and Arizona
Some 70% of Republicans continue to propagate the myth that Trump really won the 2020 election. While we are not about to see a fascist United States, the role this myth plays is similar to Hitler’s myth that Germany’s defeat in WW I was due to the betrayal from within by the Jews and others. As of this writing, the most important way this myth is being put into action is through the vote recount in Arizona. That recount is being conducted by Cyber Ninja, which has done everything in its power to hide what they are actually doing, including trying to avoid even openly explain their actual method. Cyber Ninja is headed by Doug Logan who is the equivalent of the QAnon of election conspiracy theorists. Among other things, Logan has perpetrated the myth that there was a secret computer server in Germany that held the actual vote counts and that the US army went in and seized it and that this was followed by a gun battle with some CIA forces. Nobody in the public knows what Cyber Ninja is doing with these ballots. As a result, these ballots may never be reliable again.
The big lie about the elections is part of the fabric of fact and science denialism of this entire political trend. This includes the anti-vaxxers and denial of the seriousness of Covid, denial of the threat of global warming, etc.
The authoritarian and demagogic/nativist threat of the Republicans is part of an international trend that includes such authoritarian regimes as those of Orban (Hungary), Bolsonaro (Brazil), Duterte (Philippines), and Modi (India) among others. This trend is also present in similar movements in Britain, Germany, and France. In Israel, racist and fascist parties and individuals are actually part of the governing coalition.
2022 and 2024
At present, Trump’s approval ratings are at 32% (vs. well over 50% for Biden). However, a combination of voter suppression, possible fraudulent vote counts, gerrymandering plus representation changes due to the census could all combine to enable the Republicans to recapture both houses of congress in 2022 and go on to capture the White House by an electoral college majority or by outright fraud in 2024, if we continue on the present trajectory. This would be a serious blow to the limited democracy as we know it in the United States, and the right to organize and to dissent.
It would also result in driving women and people of color back 100 years, increased immiseration of the working class, and near complete freedom for Corporate America to further destroy the environment.
So far the entire left, and liberal media is counting on the Democrats strategy to stop this train wreck by passing some economic concessions to the working class and to try and push through a new voting rights law. Given the role of such right wing Democrats as Senators Manchin and Sinema, there is no guarantee that this bill will get passed. Even if it is, it will be challenged in court and it’s entirely possible that the Republican-controlled Supreme Court could gut it just as it did the present voting rights law. Even if such a law takes effect, none of the strategy of Biden and company will put these far right, often white supremacist and religious bigots on the retreat.
History has shown that the only way to stop this attack on our democratic rights is through a mass, working class based movement in the streets.
The union leadership, which in general represents the Democratic Party inside the unions, is passively toeing the line. They are responsible for the unions having been almost totally missing in action in all the protests against the police, just as they passively stood by even when the Republicans shut down the federal government, now they are simply waiting for the Democrats to do something. They refuse to ring the alarm and bring out their membership. This mirrors the union leadership’s view that they must collaborate with the employers in helping the employers cut workers wages and workers’ power on the job. Something similar is true for the major non-profits, which played a key role in last year’s movement in the streets.
Now, more than ever, what is needed is to build on the power of last year’s movement – build street, school and especially work-place protests, to defend democratic rights.
- Repeal all repressive legislation and ditch pending such legislation.
- Stop the fraudulent vote recount in Arizona.
- Reverse the voter suppression laws; stop gerrymandering. One person, One vote!
- Full exposure of the links between the police, military and other such wings of the government and the violent, white supremacist vigilante groups.
- Stop police racism and brutality.
- Link up these demands with a working class oriented movement for union power, a $25/hour minimum wage, and similar economic advances for the working class as a whole.
- Build rank and file opposition caucuses to make the unions really fight for the members on the job and for all workers in society as a whole.
- Link up with and support similar movements around the world, such as that in Myanmar/Burma today.
The Democrats and Republicans have gone through several transformations on different issues even while they always were parties of the ruling class. From the mobilization of the slaves during the Civil War, to the mass strikes of the 1930s, to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, to the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 – it has been the mobilization of workers and youth in the streets that has forced the capitalist class and their representatives to make concessions.
All these movements – and more – were carried out independently of the Democratic Party representatives. Something like that is necessary again.
Within that new movement of workers and working class youth, the issue of trying to “reform” the Democratic Party vs. building a new, working class party is bound to resurface, as would many other issues and demands A debate around all of this would inevitably be a necessary part of such a movement.”
We look forward to working with all fighters for the working class to discuss and build a movement along these lines. We urge you to contact us.
former recording secretary, Carpenters Local 713
former president, AFSCME Local 444
public sector worker, Wisconsin