I Am Very Worried About the Midterms

I do not believe we are going to have free and fair elections in November.

Let me be abundantly clear, before I go any further: That does not mean I believe there is no reason to vote. To the absolute contrary, there is urgent need to vote. And there is urgent need to pay attention to how our votes may be compromised ahead of the election, if there is any possibility of making sure that they aren't.

Late last month, I noted that the Republican Party's vast and longterm voter suppression scheme — including but not limited to gerrymandering, voter purges, felon restrictions, Election Day disenfranchisement, and various erosions of voting rights — is a reason this election, like many before it, won't be fair, regardless of Russian interference.

(Side note: Russian interference and/or the interference of other nefarious actors. As I have noted, the very public failure to hold Russia accountable for election meddling not only means that Russia feels empowered to interfere in the midterms, but certainly so does every other state with the capacity and desire to do so. I fully expect that Russia will not be the only foreign state attempting to interfere and/or successfully interfering in the midterm election.)

And yet: Despite a comprehensive voter suppression campaign by the Republican Party, despite Republicans' previous concealment of suspected election interference, despite their refusal to designate election systems as critical infrastructure upon evidence of attempted Russian hacking before the last election, despite almost certain intervention by the Russians and others, despite the sitting president's support of domestic election meddling and his implicit threat to disregard the midterm election result if it does not go in his favor, virtually everyone is behaving as though we are going to have a free and fair election in November.

We are not. That is manifestly apparent. And still there has not emerged a better plan than pretending like everything is normal when it clearly isn't.

We need a better plan.

To be frank, I don't know what that plan looks like, since the majority party in federal governance and in more state legislatures is leading the charge to undermine free and fair elections.

But I do know that we have to start by acknowledging that just showing up to vote on Election Day isn't enough, because our elections are compromised.

I do know that we can't wait until after the election and then tear our hair out when Donald Trump uses the result to consolidate power no matter what the result is.

I do know that we cannot allow the promise of a "blue tsunami" to give people unwarranted hope and keep them complacent, waiting for a solution that can't possibly materialize.

And I do know that we should all be very concerned about this:

And about this:

I know that wishing these things away, or pretending they do not exist, will not guarantee us free and fair elections.

And I know that people will respond to this piece by accusing me, like clockwork, of discouraging people from voting. But I utterly refuse to not acknowledge reality. In this age of pernicious, ubiquitous gaslighting about national politics, I'm not going to gaslight myself. Or you.

And personally, I would argue that the Republican Party's intransigent determination to subvert our democracy is more discouraging than my pointing it out, but what the fuck do I know.

I'm going to vote. I am going to vote in every race. I am going to encourage everyone I know to vote and offer to help people get to the polls if they need it and answer every question people throw at me about the elections. Just like I always do.

But I am going to do a lot more between now and then. And if we don't all commit to addressing this reality honestly and meaningfully before Election Day, we might as well not even show up.

And that's the truth. No matter how much it sucks.

Like I've noted previously on this subject: We can't possibly prevent an outcome we refuse to even consider.

So let's make some noise.

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