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Opinion | Democrats: Mostly talk and very little walk

So, supporters of reproductive freedom for women, for asylum in the United States, for treating marginalized citizens anywhere near equal to our wealthiest and entitled, are in for a terrible rest of 2022.

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The Republican Party is awful, and it makes me wonder about my friends, fewer by the day, who remain card-carrying members of the GOP.

It’s not just some Republican policies – picking on marginalized children, whether they be immigrants, young blacks, or LGBTQ+ or transgender teens. Or deciding that a woman – any woman – cannot under the law control her own body. Worshipping Donald J. Trump like a deity. They insist on cramming their own unsophisticated, punitive, loveless version of Christianity down all of our throats. (And I can’t imagine what our Jewish, Muslim, and atheist brothers and sisters are living through.)

I will never understand why any woman, immigrant, black person, or whoever in those and other marginalized groups, votes Republican. Maybe it’s because in some states – like Alabama – we just don’t have any real choices. Or maybe it’s family pressure.

Or maybe many voters actually are kind of dumb.

Whatever the reason, we must give Republicans their due: In their minds, they are fighting for the very soul of the nation, and they’re very good at doing that.

No, I’ll never be a convert. Their version of America is so far off from mine, that I often become physically ill, like last week when that first draft of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision to end constitutional protections for women who must terminate a pregnancy was leaked.

The decision reversing Roe is awful — terribly, fallaciously, and fraudulently argued — but will become the official law of the land in late June or early July.

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I hope nobody is surprised by that. Overturning Roe has been a far-right goal since it was decided a half-century ago. With a lopsided, far-right, political Supreme Court, we should have been better prepared.

The majority of Americans should have been ready for mean-spirited attempts to criminalize trans teens, to frighten immigrants seeking asylum, and to steal a woman’s right to decide matters of reproduction for herself.

Republicans know the only way they can retain power is to suppress voting (the more people vote, the fewer Republicans elected) and draw legislative and congressional districts so wonky that the voice of many minorities (and even THE majority) are silenced.

They cheat to win, then blame Democrats for cheating when they actually do win fairly.

For some reason, Democrats generally just take it.

If the Democratic Party isn’t ready to take a tour of the gutter, isn’t ready to scream and bite and kick in this fight; if the Democrats stubbornly keep trying to play nice with people who stab even their own colleagues in the back on most any whim; if Democrats aren’t going to go on the offense, like a group of angry Ukrainians facing a Russian tank; then it’s much worse than we ever thought.

The consistently weak responses from Democrats on immigration, hate legislation, voter suppression, most everything Republican, do not bode well. Now, as women’s reproduction freedom nationwide nears the end, we have an idea just how bad this year’s midterm elections may be for Democrats

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It’s been about a week since the Roe decision was leaked, yet, we haven’t seen much of a constructive response from Democrats. 

Sure, we hear the same crap: Republicans are taking freedoms away. Republicans don’t play fair. Republicans this, and Republicans that.

I’ll say this: Whatever you think about Republicans, they do know how to get stuff done – or, at least, stop stuff from getting done.

In the week since we learned about the death of Roe, about all I’ve received is solicitations for campaign contributions from Democrats and their candidates.

James Carville writes to say, “I’m so damn angry I can hardly type this message to you, friend,” then goes on to type, in a very clear message, that he wants me to donate $25, $35, $50, $100, $250, or any amount. “Thank you for stepping up at this make-or-break moment for our country’s future,” friend Carville writes.

Other Roe v. Wade campaign solicitations are coming from the Democratic Governors Association, the national Democratic Party, various Democratic Senate and House campaigns, the Alabama Democratic Party, and others. Even Team Joe.

As soon as they took control of the White House and Congress in 2020, Democrats should have come out swinging like an insurrectionist at the U.S. Capitol on that awful Jan. 6.

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Efforts should have started from the beginning to eliminate the filibuster and expand the U.S. Supreme Court from nine to 13 justices, to align with the 13 federal judicial districts. Democrats not only should have taken the gloves off, but they should have put the brass knuckles on, too.

Instead, Democrats piddled, trying once again to find bipartisan agreement on major bills, and watched as opportunity after opportunity slipped away. 

Screw that.

How many years does it take for Democrats and independents to realize that there is no bipartisanship with Republicans? It’s their way, or no way. Even when they’re in the minority, they rule like a strong majority.

Democratic Party leadership is so weak, they’re letting all this happen. 

The Democratic Party reaction to the Roe v. Wade disaster up to now won’t change anything.

So, supporters of reproductive freedom for women, for asylum in the United States, for treating marginalized citizens anywhere near equal to our wealthiest and entitled, are in for a terrible rest of 2022.

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Until Democrats become as tough as Republicans in fighting for and getting what they want and, indeed, what a majority of Americans want, don’t expect our nation to do anything really exceptional.

We’re done. We’re pretty much: Meh.

I don’t think we have it in us. I think the will is gone. I think the Republicans have won, because Democrats and independent critical thinkers have thrown up their hands and given up. They forgot how to win when it really matters, while the Republicans fight viciously to win, whether it matters or not.

This is the end of this column, so it’s time to drop the microphone and walk off. But see, Republicans have the mic as well. Probably our shoes, too.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @joeykennedy

Written By

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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