Multiple times a day, people will text or direct-message me a news story, and ask me, “What can we do?” It’s usually the last question I’m asked on any radio or television appearance. My mother asks me the question nightly, only she’s my mom, so it sounds like more of a demand than a question.
People who have been paying attention understand that we’re losing. They get that the elevation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court is functionally unstoppable. They understand that Donald Trump has an infrastructure in place to suppress the vote in the upcoming election—or get his handpicked justices to hand him the election, or have Electoral College voters steal the election, or even use military force to keep himself in power after losing the election. They know the document leak that shows that Trump has been avoiding paying taxes, or outright defrauding the American government, will cost him no tangible support among his base.
Everybody honest knows that last night’s debate didn’t matter to most voters. Trump’s ignorance and incompetence have contributed to over 206,000 American deaths; if you’re still willing to vote for Trump, there’s nothing he can say in a two-hour “debate” that’s going to change your mind.
What’s harder for people to wrap their minds around is the fact that we’ve already lost. I know I’m supposed to say that “the 2020 election is the most important election of our lifetime,” but it’s not. The 2016 election was the most important election of our lifetime, and we, as a nation, failed. The media failed, and still fails, to cover Trump accurately. The left failed to get enthused by an imperfect candidate. The right failed to demonstrate any moral or intellectual integrity. Over 100 million people failed to show up. I failed to help enough people understand what was coming, because I understood the inherent danger of John Roberts’s disastrous decision to gut the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.
So the 2020 election is not, in fact, our last chance at victory. It’s not an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past. This electoral battle is more like the Battle of Dunkirk. We’re fighting for the chance to retreat. We’re fighting for the chance to fight another day.
Even if we “win,” it will take years to regain what we’ve lost, and some people will never get back what’s been taken. A University of Washington study projects 410,000 coronavirus deaths by the end of this year, double where we are now. And it’s not as if the deaths will stop on January 1, or on January 20 if Joe Biden wins. Some estimates suggest that 1.3 million Americans would have to die to achieve the mythic goal of “herd immunity,” and Republicans seem hell-bent on killing every last one of them. Republican governors and culture warriors will not stop spreading their misinformation just because Biden is president.
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