A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I was an activist before activism was cool. Starting in high school, I worked for decades, professionally and as a volunteer, on peace, justice, union and environmental issues. I volunteered for both Obama campaigns. I was a volunteer for the 2016 Sanders campaign and switched to the Clinton campaign when Bernie asked us to. I worked in the Warren campaign and switched to the Sanders campaign after she dropped out. I am a Biden supporter now, not because he represents all of my values but because the prospect of four more years of Trump is horrifying. We need to do the right thing by voting for Biden, not because he is our first choice, but because our country needs us right now. If Biden wins, then we will lobby his administration for the ideal outcomes we believe in. In the meantime, let’s suit up and show up. Trump and his henchmen are the closest thing to evil I’ve ever seen, and they must be stopped.
America is facing serious challenges, and competent leadership from Washington, especially from the president, is essential in confronting these problems. Climate change, the Covid pandemic, corruption in government, racial and gender justice, and wealth inequities are complicated issues, any one of which could destroy our society, and in combination, they represent the most difficult period America has faced in many generations. But the current administration has failed in each of these areas:
Driving these failed responses to our problems is the poor character of Donald Trump. His willful ignorance, stubborn arrogance, vicious racism and misogyny, and out of control greed have blinded him to the duties of his office.
It needs to be said, though, that despite Republicans’ shrinking base and their incompetence at the art of governance, they have been extremely effective at holding onto power over the last fifty years. How have they accomplished this? In short, they have been ruthless and well-organized. Compared to the GOP, the Democratic Party has been a hot mess for generations.
The GOP electoral strategy amounts to If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em. The right is wrong in its reasoning, but effective in its strategies. The left is right in its reasoning, but ineffective in its strategies. The right loves to use guerilla strategies to fight battles. The left seems to have no strategies at all, just a strong tendency toward self-destruction. The right looks for converts. The left looks for traitors. The Republicans’ organizational chart is a classic phalanx with skirmishers sent out to harass and confuse the enemy. The Democratic Party’s organization chart is the circular firing squad led by professional complainers. The DNC would rather stand by principle and lose, than compromise and win. The Republicans look for allies everywhere, even overseas. Putin is their greatest supporter. The Democrats can’t even ally with Bernie Sanders. The Democrats are an army organized as a mob. The Republicans are a mob organized as an army. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nationally by a proportion of roughly 3.2 to 2.7, but in the past, Democrats have lost elections because most of our supporters stay home on election day.
The blue sweep that occurred in the 2018 midterm election may be a sign that Democrats have finally found our groove, but the real test will be this year’s election. Winning the presidency will not be enough if progressive programs continue to be blocked by a Republican senate. We need a tidal wave of voter support in order to have the mandate for substantive reform.
The Democrats have to win the 2020 election. Our survival as a nation, and perhaps as a species, depends on removing the criminal organization that the GOP has become and starting America’s journey to a just society. We owe this victory to our children and our grandchildren.
Copyright 2020 Michael Simms
Michael Simms is the founder and editor of Vox Populi. His latest book is a collection of poems, American Ash.