Categories
Uncategorized

Top 10 Reasons We Still Need to Win the Georgia Senate Runoff

From Movement Voter Project

The opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect opinions or positions held by Indivisible Northampton-Swing Left Western MA.

[Here’s a great list of reasons to care about Georgia. It’s from an email from Billy Wimsatt, head of Movement Voter Project, so it’s also a plug for giving to their Georgia Fund, but read it all, especially if you know people who think this runoff isn’t important any more. – Michael]

(1) Save the Senate from the 50-50 power sharing arrangement – This is wonky but important. With 51 votes, Dems will have a one-vote advantage on every Senate committee. This will allow for a faster, less cumbersome process for confirming judges, cabinet members, and passing legislation. In the Senate calendar, wasted time has a huge cost.

(2) Manchin and Sinema – If we lose Georgia, we’ll be dependent on Manchin and Sinema to pass anything. Remember that? On a positive note, with the House in the balance, there’s a real chance we may be able to pass actual good legislation that is inclusive and helpful to the American people.

(3) The 2024 Senate map is VERY tough for Democrats – A Warnock victory means we are in a better position for 2024 when the last three remaining red state Democratic senators are up for re-election: Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Jon Tester in Montana, and Manchin in West Virginia. These will be tough seats to hold. That’s why we need to go into 2024 with as much cushion as possible. The Senate map is biased towards Republicans – more than most people realize. We could easily lose the Senate for a decade – and then we’ll never replace the Supreme Court. Unfortunately now we need to fight for every Senate seat like it’s a presidential swing state.  

(4) In case anyone gets sick – Right now we have zero room for error. New Mexico Senator Ben Ray Lujan had a stroke last year. Fetterman had one this year. We live in dangerous times, and if even one Democratic senator is incapacitated for any reason, we would lose the majority. It’s a miracle we survived the past two years without a Senate catastrophe. We need Georgia to keep our majority in the Senate safe!

(5) Rafael Warnock is awesome – He’s not just any ol’ Senator. He is one of only two Black Democrats in the Senate. He is a champion for voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, clean energy, and basically everything we care about. Supporting Warnock and other progressive leaders of color is crucial to our vision of a racially-just and functioning democracy. Warnock is a rising star and a decent human being. We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t work hard to support him. And it’s not just Warnock. It’s about the many incredible largely BIPOC women leaders who are leading behind-the-scenes to transform Georgia.

(6) Herschel Walker is horrible – Enough said. The last thing we need is one more MAGA clone in the Senate propping up Trumpism. But beyond the specific candidates, Georgia’s runoff system in itself is a product of a racist Jim Crow legacy, along with so many discriminatory policies and practices designed to disenfranchise Black voters and others from BIPOC backgrounds. Winning Georgia is a matter of racial and social justice.

(7) Georgia organizers are awesome – We’ve been working closely with Georgia organizers and boy, are they awesome. They’re sophisticated, strategic, serious about winning, organized and inspiringly collaborative. They’re doing an incredible job managing a high stakes operation to deploy tens of millions of dollars to reach six million Georgia voters in a few weeks. We could not be more impressed. They’ve been preparing for months. Unlike TV ads, every investment in Georgia organizers grows their power to transform their communities over the long-term.

(8) You can’t invest too much in Georgia organizers – Best case scenario, we’re extremely successful and send more money to Georgia organizers than they can spend before December 6th. The worst thing that would happen is that they would go into the 2024 cycle with money in the bank. Oh wait – that’s a good thing. They’re going to need to fight lots of bad legislation in 2023 (including anti-voting legislation) and win both the senate and presidential race again in 2024, which apparently is likely to begin later today…

(9) And now that Trump has announced –  It’s even more important to send a message that his dystopian brand of politics doesn’t work (whether Trump or DeSantis or someone else is the candidate). There’s a lot more to say about this. Luckily, our local partners are building an inclusive and winning progressive coalition in their communities every day, which we will need as a bulwark against right-wing organizing. The antidote to right-wing manipulation and disinformation is investing deeply in organizing to win hearts and local communities.

(10) Winning is awesome – It has been so wonderful to win so many elections this past week. Our local partners’ success will create massive meaningful change in millions of people’s lives. And winning helps build momentum for more winning. Let’s keep investing so we can keep winning!

Categories
Uncategorized

Dear mainstream media: Please retire the word “conservative.”

by Michael Dover

Leave politics aside for a moment, if you can. What does the word “conservative” mean to you, outside of that cursed arena? To me, it connotes respecting tradition, caution when it comes to change, and hewing to the tried and true. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions; marked by moderation or caution; and marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners.”

Returning to the political realm, does any of that apply to so-called conservatives today? When Mitch McConnell refused even to hold hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court on the specious grounds that it couldn’t be considered in a presidential election year, what manner of existing views, conditions or institutions was he maintaining? And when he upended that supposed rule to rush Amy Coney Barrett through the confirmation process just weeks before the 2020 elections (when early voting was already underway), how did that show moderation or caution? When candidate Donald Trump mocked a disabled journalist and trashed the parents of an American soldier killed in action, what traditional norms of taste or manners was he upholding? Once in office, when he lied again and again about almost anything, what principle of honest government was he serving? And when he knowingly and repeatedly lied that the 2020 election was stolen, and plotted to overthrow the results, how does that in any way conform to any reasonable concept of conservatism? 

Fox TV’s Tucker Carlson is often described as a “conservative commentator.” How so? In what way does he respect tradition, caution or moderation? When he praises — “idolizes” is probably a better word — Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, what part of his tenure does he most appreciate: curtailing press freedom, moving to restrict or eliminate LGBTQ rights, or embracing “Christian democracy”? As if following Carlson’s playbook, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Budapest this year. Speakers included Trump and Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff. Another speaker was described in The Guardian newspaper as a “notorious Hungarian racist who has called Jews ‘stinking excrement,’ referred to Roma as ‘animals’ and used racial epithets to describe Black people.” This is “conservative”?

And what is conservative about the members of Congress who have tried to portray the January 6 mob as a bunch of “tourists” quietly visiting the Capitol, or those at the podium that day urging the crowd to “fight like hell,” or Senate Republicans refusing to approve an investigation into that day’s riot?

Words matter. Calling McConnell or Carlson or a January 6 rioter conservative is to normalize their behavior. “Conservative” is such a comforting word; it connotes thoughtful consideration, reasoned debate, consideration of others’ viewpoints. It suggests adherence to the law, not gaming the system or trying to overturn an election based on lies. It allows the reader or hearer to relax: These are not crazy people, they’re just conservatives and patriots. When McConnell said when he took over as Senate majority leader that his first job was to ensure that President Obama was a one-term president, that was not a conservative statement. It was an extremist saying he had no interest in governing despite the fact that he was leading a government institution. When Missouri Senator Josh Hawley raised a fist in salute to the January 6 insurrectionists, that was not a conservative act. It was a direct violation of his oath of office.

There are other words the mainstream media can use for these people. My favorite happens to be “extremist.” It’s short and businesslike. It doesn’t need any explanation; it nicely stands on its own. It could be modified, if desired, as in “right-wing extremist” or “anti-democracy extremist,” though that’s probably not necessary. Some members of this crowd can of course be further identified as white supremacists, neo-Nazis, racists and other such categories. I hope the wordsmiths in the media can and will find many other terms that both clarify and elaborate on “extremist” or “extremism.” What’s essential is to give the extremists no quarter, no place to hide behind comforting or compromising – and deceptive – words like “conservative.”

Michael Dover is a co-founder of Swing Left Western Massachusetts and a steering committee member of Indivisible Northampton – Swing Left Western Massachusetts. He lives in Leverett.