We Are The Majority

Joel Mathis has a good piece on the right’s attempt to cast their opposition as a mob (boldface mine):

It really is the best of times and worst of times for the Republican Party. Two years of Trumpism have given the GOP the huge tax cuts and solid Supreme Court majority its members so ardently desired, but those accomplishments have come at a cost: Most Americans disapprove of President Trump’s job performance, most Americans disapproved of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, and most Americans outright despise the Republican-controlled Congress.

Things have gotten so bad that the conservatives have come up with a new nickname for this disapproving majority of the country: “the mob.” This nickname is part of a broader conservative strategy to convince Americans that the Constitution’s countermajoritarian features — meant to restrain the majority of the country from unduly oppressing minority factions — are actually antimajoritarian features meant to let those minority factions rule. In other words, they’re trying to persuade Americans to stop believing in democracy

Republicans may have no other choice than to paint their critics as the mob. The party has long been in demographic decline; Republicans are older and whiter than the rest of the country. To hang on to power, they have to convince voters that Democrats aren’t merely wrong, but wannabe tyrants who cannot legitimately run government

Mobs are usually violent. They break things, and they break people. The protests we’ve seen in recent weeks and months and years have certainly been emotional and angry, but they’ve been mostly peaceful. Many Democrats and liberals consider Trumpism to be a national emergency, but they haven’t gotten out of control — they’ve gotten louder. Sometimes they even nod vigorously.

To those Republicans who suggest otherwise, the proper response is this: That’s no mob. That’s a majority.

Something that afflicts the older parts of the left, construed very broadly, is the notion we’re the outsiders, the oddballs. That really was the case in the 1980s, when Republicans and conservatives won large popular victories (e.g., Reagan in 1984). There is an entire cohort (probably multiple cohorts) of Democrats who still reflexively act as if we have to convince a majority conservative country. But that’s no longer the case–on many issues, the leftist option has a plurality of support (and in the case of healthcare, depending who’s asking, a majority).

This is not a new con: even during the zenith of the Reagan years, the conservative Moral Majority was neither. The sooner we stop asking, and start demanding, the better off we’ll be. They’ll call us a mob for doing so, to which the response should simply be to ignore them and keep on going.

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