How Democrats Can Take Power For A Generation

I mean, they won’t, but here’s how

Politics is a crazy game because the players make the rules. Republicans understand this, but Democrats do not. America is no longer having a fight within a democracy, they’re having a fight for democracy. Democrats need to change the game, or Americans will lose it all.

Democrats, however, struggle with this. They keep trying to play checkers while Republicans are trying to flip over the board. Given that their opponents have gone full fascist, Dems have maybe four years to understand where they came from, where they are, and then quickly get their asses in gear.

The History

First, where America came from. Americans have been smoking their own mythology so much that they’ve gone blind. They need to put the constitutional crack pipe down for a minute and think. America’s founders literally ‘owned’ people and the country was not founded on freedom. America is founded on voter suppression. At founding, only about 6% of the population could vote. You had to own land and a dick to vote. If you ‘owned’ (and raped, and tortured) human beings, those people were counted towards your representation. It’s like kidnapping someone and getting a tax credit for more people in your household.

via Time

When Republicans talk about ‘count every legal vote’ they are actually being traditional. Non-white males traditional could not vote, and trying was a lynching offense. America’s founders were totally down with this because they were pieces of shit. Americas real founders were black people like MLK and Rosa Parks, in the 1960s. Those are the people that barely won one-person, one-vote and founded America as a sorta democracy.

Understanding America as some sort of old democracy that needs to be preserved rather than a young, fragile democracy that needs to be created is the root problem here. America’s history is a mystery to themselves and thus Democrats remain, in the present, lost.

Democracy is not some abstract thing which is the same everywhere. It has rules, and those rules effect who actually has power. The key is understanding that America democracy was and is a racist game, and changing the rules.

Since the Greeks, the great decider of democracy has been who can vote, now how they vote.

The Racist Game

Take the rules in Greece. Very fair if you were a citizen (many seats were filled by lot) but completely unfair if you were enslaved or a woman. You can have a very fair game on a playing field surrounded by whips and chains.

America’s racist-ass founders understood this, they were whippers and rapers themselves. Let’s take one quirk of the game. The House of Representatives and Electoral College are allocated according to the census, but not everyone counted in the census can vote. This leads to some fucked up stuff, to this day.

In early America, southern states got more representation the more people they enslaved. This led to Thomas Jefferson winning the Presidency and rule by Virginians for 32/36 years. These bastards got credit for their cruelty. The practice continues right now, in a different form.

Today states get credit for their ‘illegal’, incarcerated, and convicted populations, but those people can’t vote. Their representation goes to the people that exploit and abuse them. The number of people disenfranchised by the prison state (6 million) now exceeds peak slavery. Same shit different day. It’s all about who counts, and who gets credit.

America’s vaunted ‘separation of powers’ actually separates people from the power. The House and Electoral College are rigged by this quirk of the Census, and the Senate is just rigged. To preserve land-owner power, power is literally given to land. None of this is by accident, America was built as a racist Rube Goldberg machine by design, and this continues to this day. You can’t change this system without changing the design. Democrats have to fundamentally change who can vote. That’s the game.

Democrats keep trying to ‘return’ to a democracy which doesn’t actually exist. They keep trying to ‘go back’ to a normal that was always monstrous and unfair.

The Present

If you don’t know your history, the present in a mystery. This is why Democrats can win elections but somehow not have power.

Democrats have to understand that the only victory for democracy is expanding it, and that this work is never done. Rather than trying to win over racist voters within a racist game, they need to change the game to include many more people. This means three obvious things which are, as mentioned, a complete mystery to them.

1. Create New Voters

‘Illegal’ immigrants need to be given the vote. These new immigrants are just like the old ones. Vito Corleone didn’t have fucking papers. Nobody on the Mayflower filled out a form. Building concentration camps and military encampments around a lack of what your ancestors lacked is just bullshit (looking at you Australia).

Much of the Republican opposition to immigrants is that they will vote Democratic and they’re quite open about this. They viscerally understand the power of voter suppression. Democrats somehow do not understand that they can’t just oppose this. They have to fight for the other side.

It is both moral and strategic to add these people to the rolls now (also very difficult given America’s federal system, but nevermind). This would add possibly over 10 million people to the rolls. Biden has talked about a pathway to citizenship in eight years (ie, not on my watch), but this is craven. Democrats should do everything to make them citizens now. This doesn’t just change lives. It changes the game.

Republicans thrive on voter suppression. Democrats need to see voting as their key differentiator, and expand voting rights aggressively.

2. Create New States

The lowest hanging fruit is the over 4 million people that are already citizens but still don’t count. These are the federally powerless citizens of Puerto Rico (3.2 million), DC (700k), and Guam, the US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa (370k total). The Cherokee Nation also. Again, the right thing for the democracy is the right thing for Democrats. While it’s not at all guaranteed that these places would vote Democratic or even vote for statehood, it is both strategic and fair to offer them statehood.

This would mean at least four more Senators, proportionally more representatives, and more electors in the dumbass Electoral College. This is still making the best of a bad system, but it would make things better. This is the most obvious win. You don’t need to make citizens. You just need to empower the ones you already have.

3. Vote, Vote, Vote

Making new voters and states isn’t enough, Democrats have to defend voting at every turn. Republicans have been suppressing votes for decades and now they’re quite open about it. Since the rigged Supreme Court rolled back the Voting Rights Act, it’s been open season. Republicans are removing polling stations, purging rolls, enacting poll taxes, it’s going back to Jim Crow. Democrats can’t depend on the Civil Rights Movement being a done deal, they have to keep pushing forward.

Both at a local and national level, they need to expand and protect voting rights like their lives depend on it, because it’s true. Democrats need to understand that they’re in a knife fight for democracy, and second prize is fascism. They need to bring as many people as possible to the polls.

The Difference

Democrats, unfortunately, live in an imagined history and fight an imagined opponent. They think that America is fair and that Republicans will play in good faith, and none of this true. America is shit and Republicans are shitty, act accordingly.

Democrats need to wise up. The greatest power a democracy gives politicians is to set the rules of politics. Democrats neglect this, so Republicans keep changing the rules. Nothing they do within this derelict system will hold. They have to change the system. It is both the ethical and winning strategy to vastly expand American democracy. Indeed, this is the only way that American democracy will survive at all.