It’s the hard-truth, and not even the Democratic party leadership wants to share it with you.
So, it’s up to us to explain:
Hi, I’m Scott McVarish, the Executive Director of the nonprofit Common Sense Democracy. In my 25 year career, I have been blessed to have been a community organizer, union executive director, author of a book on the international progressive movement, campaign manager for (mostly) winning candidates and an award-winning immigration attorney. I was also, briefly, a former Democratic party delegate and Democratic party chapter president. I’m married to a wonderful disability and workers-rights attorney and have an incredible daughter in middle school.
It’s been a great life so far. And I owe all of it to ONE THING.
That ONE THING is the fact that I was born in a democracy.
In the 10,000 years of civilization on this planet, can you guess what percentage of humanity has had the fortunate to be born in a democracy? Sadly, it’s only 1%. That is an incredible statistic that we need to pause to dwell upon for a moment. 99% of our fellow humans were not born in a democratic society. The hard truth is that our country’s “democracy” should not be assumed to be permanent, or even safe, because it is a rare thing indeed.
You see, democracy is not about having elections– the U.S.A. will always have those. Democracy is, in part, about having the majority of the people decide who will govern them. Russia, Iran and Cuba have elections. But are they a democracy? No. Instead, a small group in those countries decides who will win– and who can even run. The people in those countries may feel like they live in a democracy because there are elections, but their elections are neither free nor fair. And so the opinions of the majority do not determine who will govern the people.
And that’s what has happened in our country. We have lost free and fair elections, and we no longer have a majority-rules government. In fact, our election system has been so damaged now that Democrats will NEVER govern again…. Unless, we do something very specific about it. (More on that later.)
This is why I have (hopefully, temporarily) left my successful law firm that I built and am devoting myself full-time– with no pay– to launch this group 14 months before our next national election.
So what happened and what can we do about it?
It is vital that you understand how the GOP (the Grand Old Party aka Republicans) have ended majority-rules Democracy. In a nutshell, the Republicans have used four weapons:
(that last one is solely courtesy of Trump).
Those four weapons against Democracy ensures the Republicans that they will forever dominate state legislatures, forever dominate Congress and even win the presidency more than they should. (More on this at commonsensedem.org/plan)
Since the 2016 Trump disaster, we have been blessed that many excellent groups have formed to #resist.
And while we share progressive positions with other groups on the issues for which they advocate, Common Sense Democracy differs in one fundamental belief: we believe that none of our progressive policies will EVER be enacted unless we undo the Republican’s near-mortal damage to the free and fair election system.
That’s right, the only issue that matters right now is whether the 2008 election was the last free and fair election our country will ever experience. Immigration reform, climate change, Medicare for all… none of these will ever pass as long as Republicans can keep the Democrats from gaining power. Smart, progressive policies– no matter how popular– will always be ignored or vetoed by the governing Republican party.
Yes, we will still have these engrossing spectacles called elections, and we will all work hard and it will feel like we must be able to win this time… right? But then on election night, we will lose again and not understand why. We will again see that the Democrats cannot gain control over the the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House — all at the same time– so they can actually GOVERN.
The Republicans have protected themselves from the popular will.
That is why they can kill Obamacare and try to replace it with something that only 14% of the country wants- -without fear of electoral repercussions. They can kill DACA knowing that it simply doesn’t matter to them politically. They can give tax breaks to the rich and to corporations, and they still remain untouchable.
How far are Democrats from governing?
Surely, they will win the House in 2018, correct?
Well, just look at the current analysis. In September 2017 the generic congressional polls show Democrats with an 11% lead over Republicans. But because of the Republican’s REDMAP extreme gerrymandering efforts in 2010, all analysts understand that winning nationwide by 11% is not enough for Democrats to gain a majority in in the House.
The Democrats actually need to win by 14% in order to get 50% + 1 seats in the House. And 11% will not enable them to win the Senate which is impacted more by voter supression, dark money and Russian interference. Moreover, the Democrats’ 11% current lead is unlikely to withstand the fact that:
Is it hopeless?
We are actually closer to it being hopeless than almost anyone cares to admit. But if we have two elections in a row- 2018 and 2020– that have a massive rejection of Republicans- Democrats could govern again. By massive, we mean at least a 15% margin of victory in both elections.
Fortunately, we have a roadmap on how to get voters to massively reject Republicans. The last time the Democrats routed the Republicans to the extent we currently need was in 1974. Then, the corrupt President that the American public suffered under was Nixon. The only difference between now and then was in 1974 we had a Democratic party that did not run away from “impeachment.” It was the impeachment drive that forced Nixon to resign and was responsible for the remarkable 49 seat gain in the House of Representatives by Democrats. Because of impeachment, the Democratic party gained a 2/3 majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate starting in 1974.
Democrats will not get that type of rejection of Republicans by campaigning on policies that our healthcare system is less worse than the Republicans, or that our tax breaks are slightly better than the GOP’s. It. Will. Not. Happen.
We are not losing because of our policies, we are losing because we have almost lost majority-rules democracy. Only through a continuous multi-year spotlight on the imminent mortal danger our democracy faces can we — like in 1974– inspire voters to reject the Republicans.
And Common Sense Democracy– remarkably– is the only group currently strategizing on how to do this.
We explain all this in greater detail on our Plan page on this website, we discuss it on our daily podcasts and in our Thursday night webinars. When you join our grassroots movement, you will begin receiving our training for activists and concerned citizens in our members-only Facebook group.
You now know what the Republicans’ four weapons are:
From our podcasts, Town Hall meetings and training, you will see that Trump and the Republicans primary efforts in 2017-18 are to further strengthen their four weapons so that they will stay in power, no matter what horrible policies they enact. So while we protest Trump’s insane remarks about Nazi’s after Charlottesville, on the very same day, Republicans quietly announced they will remove the Johnson Amendment from our campaign finance laws. This move– if we let them enact it– will virtually guarantee them victory for the next 20 years in elections. (It allows churches to become super-pacs and spend unlimited money in elections– including the Russian Orthodox Church which is controlled by…. yes, Putin). I’m guessing you didn’t even hear about that or even know what I am talking about.
This is the problem we are facing. Trump does something outrageous that gets everyone distracted. Then while we are all (understandably) upset (and nauseas), the Republicans further attacks our free and fair elections and no one notices because everyone is focused on 150 pathetic Nazis and their idiot (but clever) leader. This is how Trump gets re-elected.
So, why did this happen now– 240 years into our experiment with democracy?
After Obama’s amazing victory in 2008 Republicans understood that his coalition– and our country’s changing demographics– would make them the permanent minority party in our government. So they launched an ambitious– and terrible– campaign to regain power and to keep it– no matter the popular will.
They have been using their four weapons to defeat democracy from 2010-2016. These four weapons have been successful beyond the belief of the original architects of their programs (REDMAP, CROSSCHECK and Citizens United). In 2010 the Democrats controlled the White House, a super-majority in the Senate (60-40), a huge majority in the House and twice as many states were governed by Democrats as Republicans. Six years later, the Republicans now control the White House, Senate, the House and four times as many states as the Democrats. Yet during almost all of that time, the American public favored Democrats over Republicans in polling. Even Fox news had Democrats winning the generic congressional vote in June 2010 by 3% and exactly 6 years later by 5%– yet both in elections as well as in the 2012 & 2014 elections– Republicans ended up winning majorities at every level of government.
The worse thing is, the Democratic party leadership is doing nothing to blow the whistle on this.
The Democrats have failed us. They failed us when we gave them complete power in 2008 and then they squandered six of Obama’s eight years by letting the Republicans have a veto over everything Obama wanted from 2010-2016. And anyone who doesn’t think they failed us in 2016 must be a Republican… or a Russian,
But before we go further into a well of despair, let me tell you we CAN turn this around.
It won’t be easy. It won’t be immediate. But there is a clear path ahead of us and one that will be a lot more effective than signing petitions, tweeting, protesting everything Trump does, complaining or despairing.
Setting us on this clear path is the mission of Common Sense Democracy. It is similar to the successful path Democrats took in 1974. Except now, we have much better technology to reach concerned citizens.
Listen to our podcast, read about our Plan on this website, participate in our Thursday night online Town Hall meetings, and then become a paid member that we train and mobilize to effectively restore our democracy.