If you have any problems voting today – said problems may include, but are not limited to, finding the polling place, voter intimidation, accessibility issues, voting machine problems, and provisional ballot issues – or if you witness anyone having these or any other problems – Election Protection has a toll-free line for you to call. It's 1.866.OUR.VOTE – or, if mnemonic devices such as "OUR VOTE" actually slow you down when you're trying to dial (as they do for me!), that's 1.866.687.8683. We’re already witnessing plenty of vote suppression and intimidation going on, from armed “poll watchers” accusing voters at drop boxes of being “mules” to actual Republican officials going door-to-door to tell good Americans they can’t vote. So don't be skittish about making that call, just as our enemies aren’t skittish about preventing you from voting.
Do not despair about the possibility that Republicans will gain either or both houses of Congress today, because if you despair, and don’t vote – or worse, if you don’t vote because you don’t think your preferred candidate will win! – then the forces of evil will be that much stronger. I haven’t looked at a poll in weeks, once I decided that Republicans were “gaining momentum” in polls for no good reason. The war on Ukraine is going as badly for Russia as it ever has, job growth remained robust in October and November, and our GDP increased by almost three percent during the third quarter of 2022; even inflation has gone down rather more than the current year-over-year figure would indicate – year-over-year it’s still over eight percent, but over the last three months for which we have inflation figures (July, August, and September), we’ve seen a hike of only around one percent total, which works out to a little over four percent annually. So what, exactly, has happened to suddenly give Republicans “momentum”? If anything, Democrats should have momentum, not just with the January 6 attempted coup showing the Republican Party’s true face, and not just with our Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade – an act Alexander Cockburn said, at least once, would cast Republicans into the electoral wilderness for a generation – but with Republicans saying, out loud, that they’d take the debt limit hostage to force Social Security and Medicare cuts. Yikes, why would anyone vote for a Republican after all of that? And yet a lot of folks will, so you’ve got to get out there and vote.
I know at least a few of you will read the previous paragraph and decide that I’ve become “captured” by Democrats. Consider, however, that over the last two years, Democrats have done more to earn our votes than they have in many, many decades. The Biden Administration is fighting monopolies more aggressively, and successfully, than any Administration has done in at least 40 years, and the Fed’s interest rate hikes will also help break the banksters’ stranglehold over our economy; I cannot overstate the game-changing, paradigm-shifting nature of these moves. And this Democrat-led Congress has passed legislation that will create renewable energy jobs and fight climate change, saved our Postal Service from the crippling benefit-funding mandate under which no other corporation or public entity ever had to operate, capped insulin prices for Medicare recipients at $35/month, and let Medicare negotiate the prices of drugs – not all of them, and not until 2026, but once the foot’s in that door, it’s going to be very hard to shut. And yet Republicans like Marco Rubio are arguing at this very moment that the progress we’ve made on Medicare drug price negotiation should be reversed! Again, they deserve no seats in Congress, let alone whatever they wind up with.
Finally, once again, remember that voting is a citizen's absolute minimum duty in America. This is our government, no matter how little it resembles a good government, and our duty as citizens is to make it a good government, first on Election Day, but also on every day thereafter. Still, our work on every day thereafter will be a lot harder if we don’t turn all the Republicans out of office we can. And there are only bad reasons for not voting. Negative campaigning is an especially bad one – folks do realize politicians run negative campaigns in order to alienate voters and make them stay home, right? If you stay home, you can't vote against the bad people who want you to stay home! And cynicism about the state of the nation is not only a bad reason to stay home, it's a bad reason to do anything. Yes, things get discouraging. But I pray that we always have the strength to refuse to drink from the cup of cynicism.