Republicans will Jim Crow their way back to power if Democrats allow them
OPINION: Theft and armed rebellion are the only way the GOP can win, but Democrats must start using the power they have or they'll be left empty-handed.
The Democrats have everything they need right now to flex their muscles and wield the power the people gave them — the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
Their policies are popular, with the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic relief plan enjoying 76% support, including 60% of Republicans, and a majority in favor of doubling the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.
There is only one thing standing in the way of a President Joe Biden agenda and Democratic Party success — and that would be scared Democrats lacking a backbone and not wanting to make Republicans angry.
Black folks and others did not organize through the virus, go to the polls en masse and put it all on the line for this foolishness.
If President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fail to realize this, they must understand that they have an opportunity to make change for the people if they do not stand in their own way. Clinging on to a fiction of bipartisanship that has not existed in decades, if ever, some apparently are holding out for Republican support — white nationalist support — that will never come.
With a slim majority in the Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker, if the Democrats do not eliminate the filibuster requiring 60 votes to pass laws, they will lose everything.
John C. Calhoun, the father of the Confederacy who owned slaves and called slavery a “positive good” rather than an evil, developed the filibuster. White conservatives used the filibuster during slavery and Jim Crow segregation to maintain white minority rule, block civil rights, voting rights and anti-lynching laws for Black people.
The success of the Biden agenda hinges on the passage of COVID-19 relief, voting rights, minimum wage and other issues. Republicans will have none of it, even if these issues are popular with their own voters and will benefit them. The GOP will do everything it can to block reform.
The GOP plays to win and destroy their opponents, while the Dems want to play fair. Republicans bring guns to a knife fight, Democrats bring cream cheese. If Democrats keep the filibuster, they will provide their adversaries with the very weapons used in their own decapitation, and they will deserve every bit of it.
Republicans are like — no they are — the Southern segregationists who closed the all-white swimming pools or poured acid in the water rather than integrate them and allow Black people to dirty up the pool.
President Barack Obama learned this lesson the hard way but took far too long to learn it. He extended an olive branch to the GOP, who vowed to make him a one-term president and blocked anything and everything he attempted to do, including the Affordable Care Act.
Ultimately, Obama lowballed and watered down legislation as a compromise for Republicans that never came to the table. The Republicans blocked his judicial nominees, and when Donald Trump was elected, they rammed through unqualified recent law school graduates, white supremacists, keg-drinking frat boys with legitimate allegations of sexual abuse, and self-proclaimed handmaids on the court.
Meanwhile, some of the enemies of change exist within the Democratic Party. Senators such as Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona oppose raising the minimum wage, scrapping the filibuster and other measures that would deliver to the people and help Democrats at the same time.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned us of these white moderates, our greatest stumbling block to freedom, who are “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice” and will make us wait until a “more convenient season” to get that change.
With over half a million people dead from the coronavirus, and millions living in economic devastation, facing unemployment, poverty, homelessness, hunger and despair, the need for relief is greater than ever. There is no place for baby steps or a gradual transition, because the need is urgent, and the time for action is now.
Republicans will Jim Crow their way back to power if the Democrats allow them. Now, white nationalists in the GOP are engaged in voter suppression and gerrymandering, even laws to overturn presidential elections that will allow them to hold onto power even without majority support. In 43 states, there are over 250 bills to restrict voting.
In Georgia — where Black and Brown voters elected Joe Biden and sent a Black man and a Jewish man to the U.S. Senate — white nationalists in the state legislature have embarked on sweeping legislation to restrict absentee, early and weekend voting.
Like their Jim Crow ancestors who blocked the Black vote to “restore confidence…restore honesty and purity to the ballot-box,” these 21st-century segregationists also claim they want to “restore confidence in our voting system.” This, as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to further attack the Voting Rights Act by greenlighting voter restrictions in Arizona.
Democrats can solve this right now if they pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act — which expands ballot access and reduces the influence of big money in politics — and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — which prohibits racial discrimination in voting by strengthening the Voting Rights Act. Throw in federal court reform and D.C. statehood for good measure.
None of this is possible through attempted compromise with insurrectionists. Theft and armed rebellion are the only way Republicans can win, but Democrats must stop playing and start using the power they have if they don’t want to be left empty-handed.
Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove
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