Longtime NYDLC member Howard Leib discusses the continued struggle voting rights. Tuesday night was devastating. We are faced with the prospect of a GOP Presidency, Congress and, due to the unprecedented Senate power grab, a GOP Supreme Court.
Let’s not mince words. Tuesday night was devastating. We are faced with the prospect of a GOPer presidency, a GOPer Congress and, thanks to the unprecedented and unconstitutional power grab by the Senate, a GOPer Supreme Court. Nor can we view these results as being caused by some outside force. All early reports indicate that Democrats simply did not come out in the numbers we have seen in the past two presidential cycles. Our fate was in our hands, and we threw it away.
Now, as a coalition of voting rights advocates and as a party, we have choices. We can spend precious time wringing our hands and cursing the fates. We can bemoan the “others” who took this race from us. We can second guess what would have happened had we had Bernie or Biden as our standard bearer. We can blame the candidate, the pollsters, the pundits, the red necks, the red states or the bigots and misogynists. None of this gets us anywhere.
Usually, at a moment like this, people say “take time to heal.” We do not have that time. We need to pick ourselves up and adjust our plans to meet the needs of the here-and-now. We need to do many things. We need to look at our process for selecting candidates. We need to look at our election registration and administration system. We need to look at redistricting reform. We need to determine how to bring out more voters, and include all who are eligible in our Democracy. Here in New York State, we need to look at the upcoming opportunity for a constitutional convention and figure out how to best use it to further our goals.
We do not have the luxury of time. We cannot wallow in our losses, however painful they may be. In the end, this is not about you or about me. This is about our country, our state and our communities. We have at least two years in which we have to play defense and probably longer. We can do that, we have done it before. But we must be ready in two years. Congress will be on the ballot. The state legislature will be on the ballot. Depending on what happens in 2017, delegates to a Constitutional Convention may be on the ballot. Our society, government, and our politics will move on, in directions we may not support. We must continue to fight to shape the future we want to see, now more than ever.
Do not retreat. Let us find common ground with the other side where we can, but let us also keep track of who we are and what we believe. This loss means we need to work harder. Our country, state and communities need us.
Ye Olde Editor
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