Saving our Democracy: A Strategic Reason to Ditch Mitch

Laurie Veninger

We were all shocked at the results of the 2016 election which brought the elevation of an uncouth narcissist, without ethics, empathy or intellect, to the office of president. By now, most of us have realized that Trump is a symptom of a much larger problem. His election to office, and the Republican Party not holding him accountable, proves that the system itself is broken. Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible, maintains that we are at an ‘inflection point’ for democracy and the coming 2020 election will determine what our democracy – and our society – is going to be for generations to come.

According to Ezra, a healthy democracy would have rejected Donald J. Trump ‘like a body rejects a virus,’ but it didn’t and the reason is that a certain, few individuals have held a long-term campaign to rig the system in their favor and to slowly dismantle representative democracy. They know that they cannot continue to maintain their stranglehold on power and money in a truly representative, and increasingly diverse, democracy and so, through their cynical agenda, we are at the point where our democracy no longer represents the majority of the people. Indivisible knows that we need a strategy to counteract and overturn the damage they have done and ‘unrig’ the mechanisms they have instituted to serve only a small portion of the people. A Democratic-controlled House and Senate can do this. They will need to pass Democracy Reform, as outlined in HR1, and they will need to do it soon. And 2020 may just be the last chance we have, since demographic trends show that mostly conservative voters increasingly reside in the least populated states. This could increase an already disproportionate Senate for the foreseeable future, so if we are lucky enough to win the Senate in 2020, it may be our only chance for a long time.

The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, in his thirty-plus years of ‘service,’ has overseen and taken an active hand in the dismantling of democracy in order to maintain and expand power for himself and others at the top.  On the surface, we cannot forgive his refusal to consider Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court or his apparent delight at obstructing everything President Obama proposed – but that only scratches the surface of his misdeeds and possible crimes. McConnell and his set have partnered with corporate CEOs and lobbyists to enrich themselves at the expense and often harm of those they are supposed to represent. Many voters are frustrated at the apparent lack of progress with the new Democratic House or upset with Democratic Representatives and Senators who do not seem progressive enough. Despite passing more than 49 House bills in 2019 alone, none have survived the specter of the self-proclaimed “grim reaper” of Mitch McConnell.

Discussions with grassroots organizers in Kentucky, have revealed the grip he and FOX and Breitbart News has on the populace, ironically unaware that his policies have enslaved them to the dying coal industry and exposed them to a more polluted environment. He cynically provides ‘outreach’ to down-and-out coal miners while simultaneously stripping them of their healthcare. But they have had little or no choice in a State Senator since Mitch McConnell has a multi-million dollar war-chest and the support of some very wealthy individuals.

So in order to win back our country, we must help them defeat McConnell. And winning the Senate is not enough. Even if McConnell loses his position as majority leader, he has vowed to block every piece of progressive, democratic legislation through use of the filibuster. For the record, the filibuster is not a part of the U.S. Constitution; it was an unintended consequence of a ruling in 1806 and it was infamously used as a tool by Southern segregationists to block civil rights legislation. McConnell has already amended it to lower the threshold to a simple majority rather than a 60+ vote; that’s how he expedited SCOTUS nominees. It may be time for the filibuster to go and the time might be when and if the Dems win the Senate in 2020.

Currently, McConnell has no challenger. The good news is that a recent survey shows that only 33 percent of voters in Kentucky approve of him and 61 percent think ‘it’s time for someone new.’ And yet, only 42 percent say they would vote for a Democratic challenger. This is not as bad as it sounds. Whether Kentuckyians vote for a Republican challenger in the primary or a Democratic challenger in the general election, we cannot lose if Mitch McConnell is out. Any effort to expose his abuses and diminish his hold on Kentucky is worth it. Helping Kentuckyians to do this is imperative. Defeating him should be our single most important goal if we have any hope of saving democracy. Even if Trump gets re-elected, if we can keep the House and gain the Senate without the grim reaper, McConnell, we will win. A Democratic House and Senate can neutralize the executive branch and then surely impeach this president.

So don’t let anyone tell you that it’s pointless to support #DitchMitch2020.

This is do or die time for our democracy and every effort and every penny is worth it!

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