Now that Kavanaugh has been confirmed, as if there was really any doubt, let’s review.
If you aren’t a white christian male, you’re pretty much screwed. Everything from Roe to the entire civil rights legislation are up for grabs now. However, those may not be the worst things coming.
Elections have consequences. The 2016 election will have lasting consequences for decades. The 2018 election may be even more consequential. There is a good possibility that if Democrats don’t win this year, they aren’t going to win again. Not just 2020, but long beyond that.
Mitch McConnell is open about his desire for power. He has all but said that there is no rule, law, norm, that he won’t violate to maintain power. A Republican win this year, will likely be validation to him, and Trump, to go wild and enact their worst instincts.
Paul Ryan is more of the classic “we hate poor people” Republican. He sees the writing on the wall of where the party is going and he is cashing out. He is going to make sure to gut social security, medicare, and medicaid on his way out the door. His replacement will most likely come from the Tea Party.
For the most part, the Republican party apparatus is the same as McConnell. When Trump won on a white nationalist platform and help from Russia, most of the party went “Ok, this is fine”. Now you have several openly racist and/or bigoted people running for office and many more who are closeted racists/bigots like Trump.
One case coming up through the courts right now is the Wisconsin gerrymandering case. That case will basically determine the fate of gerrymandering. Particularly, partisan gerrymandering. With Kavanaugh on SCOTUS, there is a good chance that he ruling will come down that there will be no limits on partisan gerrymandering. Officials enjoy the assumption that a gerrymander is not racially motivated. Which means that unless officials declare a gerrymander to be racially motivated, and if all restrictions on partisan gerrymandering are removed, then red state gerrymandering will become so extreme that Democrats have no chance to win. That alone makes the state level elections extremely consequential as they will be able to redraw district lines before the 2020 election and census.
I don’t know of any specific cases, but my guess is that there are several voter suppression laws working their way through the courts right now. Red state legislatures are likely queuing up many more suppression laws as I type this. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have a constitutional right to vote (it’s complicated). As long as the laws are not ostensibly motivated by race, sex, age, or a blatant poll tax, they will likely to get a green light. Who benefits? Republicans.
I think that either Trump or McConnell recently said that if Democrats win, they will pack the courts. Most likely it was Trump. Trump doesn’t know enough to know what packing the courts means. That means that the idea is being floated around and Trump picked up on it. Given McConnell’s cravenness for power, and Ryan’s replacement likely being from the Tea Party, it wouldn’t be surprising to see SCOTUS go from 9 to 15 seats and lower courts go from 3 to 7, ensuring that all federal courts are extremely conservative for the next 30-50 years.
Red states have been enacting some fairly extreme anti-protest laws in the last year. The right to protest now has a good chance of becoming extinct.
Considering Trump’s war on the press, they will likely face some pretty extreme restrictions.
The 4th and parts of the 5th amendments have been on life-support for years, often with the help of the more liberal members of the court. With Kavanaugh, the 4th amendment is likely to finally die.
The 14th amendment has long been a bane of conservatives. That one encompasses equal protection under the law and birthright citizenship. We are already seeing the Trump administration go after some Hispanic citizens in an attempt to invalidate their citizenship. There could be some very creative interpretations of the 14th amendment coming from SCOTUS in the near future (LGBTQ and people of color beware).
With the current make-up of SCOTUS, there are a number of possibilities for Republicans to lock Democrats out of power for a generation or more. Particularly if Democrats lose at the state level.
A lot of people think there is a blue wave coming because of the anger at Trump and his policies. That is also assuming that the Kavanaugh loss doesn’t cause many to give up. There is a lot of enthusiasm on the Republican side to protect Trump from impeachment and/or just to “stick it to the libtards”.
Democrats have a big problem. There is currently a fight within the party for the heart of the party. Republicans went through it already with the Tea Party. With Trump’s win, the Tea Party (asshole/racist) side cemented control.
Democrats are now having that fight between the neo-liberals (socially center-left and very cozy with big money) and the democratic socialist wing. The base is quickly moving to the democratic socialist wing. All of the people pulling the levers of power in the party are in the neo-liberal camp.
The neo-liberal part of the party has nothing to run on, other than “we hate Trump”. Their policies don’t generate excitement. Their entire strategy this election is to rely on anger against Trump. The base has largely left them behind.
Turn out in mid-terms are historically abysmal. Particularly for Democrats. Democrats are already talking about Pelosi, the face of the neo-liberal wing with Clinton gone, being the Speaker of the House again. That is a good strategy to get Republicans up in arms. Relying on anti-Trump mania while promoting going back to the status quo is not a good strategy.
Sure, there is plenty of enthusiasm in politically active liberal voters. Considering that you are reading this, that would be you. The base is fired up. Outside of the base though, it may not be as blue wave as people think. Without a blue wave, it’s likely game over. Two more years with total control is more than enough for Republicans to lock the system down.
2018 may be the most consequential election in US history. It reminds me of the saying, “He who makes the rules, wins”. If Democrats don’t win this year, they won’t win in 2020 or beyond. Republicans will have total control to make the rules and the only thing that matters to them is winning.