Unless the Democrats can use the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs Wade to their advantage, they are likely to lose their majority in congress come the midterms. President Biden will spend the next two years playing goalie, accomplishing little, and will likely lose in 2024. The republicans will consolidate their power, making it unlikely that the Democrats will ever again have a voice in government, despite poll after poll indicating most voters favor progressive ideals.
This takeover will have happened partially due to the seeming political ineptitude that pervades today’s Democratic Party, but mostly by chicanery, some baked into the constitution at its inception—the Electoral College and the Senate—more because of gerrymandering, voter suppression and outright cheating.
My conservative friends (and they are my friends; as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department, I have worked in close quarters with these men and women—most of whom vote Republican—and have trusted them with my safety for nearly four decades) think this a good thing. More than one of these have told me, frankly, that they believe most of the progressive ideas that have taken hold in their lifetime have been terrible for the country and for them, and that gaining and holding power is so important that all measures taken are justified, even at the cost of Democracy.
I imagine that these good people will enjoy the simple things that follow neutering the left: the Ten Commandments conspicuously displayed in government buildings. Nativity scenes in public spaces. Prayer in public school could make a comeback. Gay marriage and Affirmative Action and Title Nine will all likely be done away with. The constitution will be slowly weakened but in ways appealing to the right.
I think even the decent, average republican voters, who I know and like, might quietly feel that things are back to normal when—even though they’d never say it—they hear the N word spoken casually in public, or—even though these voters are not themselves cruel—they hear about gay men and women losing their jobs or being harassed or beaten up. Or a single woman forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term—effectively punished after having sex for fun. More than a few right-wing voters will simply take pleasure in seeing the lefties upset. In short, these voters will be glad that it feels like the good old days again, and likely not worry too much about other people’s lives made difficult.
Most of these decent people fail to recognize that fair play and competition are necessary to performance. The moment a congressperson or president knows that they don’t depend on voters anymore (yes, there will still be primaries but without real opposition, there is no real choice), their only job then will be making things better for their very wealthy donors.
Wealthy people like their money. They will push their politicians to dismantle Social Security and Medicare—why should they have to take care of other people? Safety standards and labor laws will be abolished—they hurt the bottom line. Free, compulsory education and child labor laws repealed—they’re not my kids. Real journalism silenced—Un-American lies! Any task that can be privatized, will be—with those performing these tasks paid less. This won’t be enough. The parts of government the rich like—police and military—are expensive. The rich will resent paying for them, and their politicians will raise taxes on the rest of us.
At some point, our average republican voter will realize that their lives are being made difficult, that this country is no longer being run for the people, by the people and that they’ve been swindled by the very politicians they believed in and voted for. Just like the democrats that they effectively silenced, these people will be angry. They will speak out. When that fails, some will take to the streets.
With so many other rules cut down, why would the Republicans in power hesitate to suspend the Second Amendment? Who could stop them? There may be a lot of talk about security and law & order, but really, the rich won’t want to see the rabble armed. It could get ugly fast but ultimately, the good old Ithaca Pump will be no match for a Predator Drone.
This, my republican brothers and sisters, is the future you are asking for.