The bloodless and tepid response of the Democratic Party leadership to the existential crisis of the Trump-packed Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe has forced us to confront the fact that the hollowed-out institutional core of the party will not protect us from the gathering storm of American theocratic fascism.
We will likely never get an official accounting of the rare Supreme Court leak a month out from the actual decision being rendered at the end of the 2022 court term. Nevertheless, it’s fairly obvious to Court watchers that this was a trial balloon by the conservative super-majority on the Court. They wanted to gauge the political explosiveness of repealing a 50-year-old precedent of legal abortion as a civil right. The muddled, flat-footed reaction by the geriatric Democratic leadership of Biden, Pelosi, and Schumer was the clear signal to the reactionary Justices to drive the ball into the end zone. And they did. There was no “break glass in case of emergency” backup plan, only more hyperbolic fund-raising appeals.
For decades, the key selling point for the Democratic Party has been that it stood with women’s rights and equal standing under the law for racial minorities. Old school Roosevelt Democrats also used to be invested in labor rights, but the era of neoliberal triangulation against labor unions and activist social movements that began with the Clinton
Administration has nullified that commitment. The contemporary Democratic Party base is the dance partner in the culture wars with the Republican base.
They feed off each other, and both have a stake in keeping attention focused on the front lines of the ever-shifting, amorphous cultural boundaries rather than the manifest failure of late-stage capitalism to deliver a stable economic base for the increasingly precarious gig and temp workers who are the majority of the population.
The still-unresolved deconstruction of a vast swath of the formerly “middle class” strata of America by the 2008 crash, followed by the ruinous pandemic recession, are obscured by the culture war narrative that captures the attention of the media and pundit class. There can be little doubt that this unaddressed economic catastrophe led to the rise of an authoritarian white nationalist figure like Trump. The Federalist Society cadre who have worked tirelessly for fifty years to capture this key node of power won, and now it’s payback time.
Buckle in, folks, because they’re not even close to done yet. All the cherished iconic liberal victories of the civil rights, women’s liberation, and environmental movements will be smashed by the American Taliban and their legal minions. The Supreme Court has signaled its willingness to entertain a case to revive a 19th-century doctrine of state legislators’ rights to choose their states’ presidential electors rather than the popular vote. That’s game over for a functional democracy.
The most noteworthy local media development is the Index-Tribune’s launch of a new conservative columnist, Bob Gardner, who served as a high-level coms guy in the Nixon Administration. He writes well and is a self-proclaimed anti-Trumper so he will get an audience in Sonoma County. I just hope that his readers understand that all these old-school Republicans like him are irrelevant to the throbbing, humming radioactive racist and misogynist core of the current Republican Party. The MAGA crowd has no use for respectable centrist Republican relics from the days of yore.
Don’t buy the hype.