You hear it every election cycle: “this is the most important election of our lifetimes.” It’s one of the most overused statements that people make around our elections in this country. However, this year genuinely is the most important election that most, if not all of us have faced in our lifetimes.
For the better part of the past three years, many of us have been warning folks about just how dangerous President Trump and the Republicans are. We’ve been putting a focus on highlighting just how destructive the policies and actions that they were taking could be. Unfortunately, those calls have often fallen on deaf ears.
Because of how polarized our country has become, people often broke into their traditional political camps over every single issue or controversy that comes up. Even when the issue or abuse of power at-hand would have ended any other presidency (see the Mueller investigation, emoluments violations, the firing of multiple inspector generals tasked with overseeing the executive branch, threatening to withhold emergency aid to states to coerce them into doing what the President wants, and trying to get a foreign government to fabricate a criminal investigation into his top political opponent, Joe Biden, just to name a few), the President and his cronies have been able to ride it out. With Republicans fully in lock-step with him at every level of government, with very few notable exceptions (Mitt Romney), the President and the GOP have kept a large portion of the country behind them. That’s created the greatest authoritarian threat that our country has ever faced.
Of course, Donald Trump is not the only reason we got to this place. In fact, he’s far from it. The Republican Party has spent the better part of a decade trying to undermine our democracy in just about every conceivable way. There has been no greater example of that happening than right here in Wisconsin.
From creating what is arguably the most gerrymandered state legislature in the country, to creating barrier after barrier to voting, to unconstitutionally stripping the incoming Democratic governor of his power through an emergency lame-duck legislative session, to most recently forcing people to vote, in-person, during a pandemic because they thought they could steal a State Supreme Court seat, and then seeing their justices (including the lame-duck justice they were seeking to re-elect by forcing the April 7 election to happen) be the pivotal votes in striking down a constitutional public health order by our governor, Republicans have made it clear as day that they are not beholden to the voters. They feel that they are only responsible to themselves, and the corrupt special interests that helped get them elected in the first place. That is literally the opposite of democratic behavior. It’s the behavior of a party that thinks they are above the law, and above every one of us. This is just as true of our state Republican party as it is about the President, and Republicans in Congress.
The recent Coronavirus pandemic, specifically the catastrophic mishandling of the response to it by President Trump and his administration, Congress (especially the Republican-controlled Senate), and our state legislature, has became the starkest and most vivid example of just how much is at stake this November. Their failures, from the start of this crisis through today, have led us to the point of 100,000 lives lost and an economy that may be in the worst shape we’ve seen since the Great Depression This crisis has been THE prominent reminder that electing incompetent and corrupt politicians can have horrible consequences that affect ALL of us.
If there is one silver lining that may come from this pandemic, though, it’s that it has begun to open up the eyes of many voters to just how bad things really are. Crises that test us like this are often the inflection points that make people realize that substantial changes are needed in our government. There’s some evidence in recent polling to suggest that this crisis is accomplishing this. That is why we need to seize this moment to make sure EVERYONE realizes what is on the line this fall.
It’s incumbent on all of us to continue to educate people, and remind them of the very significant and real consequences that this election poses. What all of this, especially this current crisis, shows us is that our democracy is LITERALLY on the ballot this November. If we fail to meet this moment, we may never be able to save our country and our state.
Now is the time to take action. Now is the time to get in this fight. Our lives and our future may literally depend on it.