Today’s election is the most important of your life. I know, you’ve heard that scare every two years since you were of voting age.
But this time it’s true. Democracy as we know it—indeed, as we invented it!—is at the crossroads. One way returns us to the winding and often difficult path we’ve traveled as a nation for 242 years; the other leads straight to the latest version of Fascism.
What do I know about the subject, you may rightly ask? Not enough, to be sure. But I am a political junkie, have studied the subject long and hard, and have lived 86 years in our democracy. Some of those years were tough: the Great Depression; World War II; the Korean War (tough for me personally); the Cold War; Nine-Eleven; the periodic economic downturns and joblessness. Not one of them, not all of them taken together, prepared me for our latest and greatest threat: Trumpian Fascism.
Novelist Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, warned us of its danger in 1935; his It Can’t Happen Here was written at the peak of Fascism in Europe, and though some Americans (William Randolph Hearst, Father Charles Coughlin, Aviator Charles Lindbergh, and Poet Ezra Pound, to name a few) embraced it, the ideology failed to take root here. Not then. Quite the contrary. In World War II the United States went to war against Fascism around the world. And won.
Now it is back in its new guise bearing the brand of the accidental president, Donald J. Trump; with the skillful assistance of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, they threaten to supplant democracy as we know it with a self-absorbed nation state at war with itself. No matter that Trump is demonstrably a man of limited intelligence, with a range of mental disorders that, if distributed evenly, would fill all the beds in your average psycho ward. Yet he has the cunning and manipulative powers of the consummate conman, the gifted grifter, the demonic demagogue able to stir the herd, inflame all those who feel cheated by life, or their neighbor, or “their government.” His real gift is that he does this remarkably well, able to play savior and victim at the same time, without compunction, without empathy, without even a glimmer of guilt.
It is time to reverse course. Bring our democracy back. And we start that today in the only way we have available to us. We vote. And we assist others in getting to the polls to vote.
I don’t know if the much discussed “Blue Wave” is about to break on our soiled nation or not. While hoping for more, I post here my predictions on how it will likely go in our fight to save the best of what we are.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The Democrats will take control of the House by picking up 36 seats nationwide. Some final results will probably not be known until early December, given the many close contests in California. Here are the competitive California Races: the projected winner is in boldface; the incumbent is in italics.
UNITED STATES SENATE
Given that the Democrats risk 23 seats this year compared to only 10 Republican seats in play, I believe the GOP will keep control of the Senate, otherwise known as he Chamber of Cowards. I predict the make-up will be 51-49, as it is now, or possibly 52-48 in favor of the GOP. The key races that will determine the actual outcome are listed below, with my prediction of winners in boldface, and again, incumbents in italics. (If O’Rourke pulls off an upset, and the Dems hold their vulnerable seats (excluding North Dakota, which is likely lost, they still might have a slight chance of taking control of the upper chamber 51-49.)
Democrats’ brightest prospects are in the governorships, where the resistance to Trump’s authoritarianism is strongest. Credit a bottoms-up strategy that the party has been tardy in employing until now. Due to the great number of states in Republican hands that are up for grabs, the Democrats have a going-in advantage, not unlike the one the GOP has in Senate contests. I predict a net gain of nine governorships for the Dems—many of them in the larger states. In the listing below I project what I think will be the outcome in the closer races. (Winner in boldface, incumbent in italics.)
Vote with the ardor and urgency you’ve never felt before.