As our own Democratic State Representative Dan McNeill stated during an impromptu speech on Labor Day, “If we lose this election, don’t cry, don’t bellyache, we have more Democrats than Republicans. Let’s vote.” That’s really all it takes for Democrats to win the Presidential and statewide elections. Democrats have to vote, and they have to tell their friends and neighbors what’s at stake in this election.
There has never been a more important election in our lifetimes. Every election is important, but 2016 is unique. The next President will appoint the next three or four Supreme Court justices. The Supreme Court has not gotten enough attention during this election cycle. If voters understood that Republican appointees have been responsible for the current dysfunctional state of our elections and our government, there is no doubt they would do all they could to make sure that Hillary Clinton wins this election.
The press hasn’t reported enough on how important these appointments are or how they will impact voters lives for decades to come.
Unfortunately, the media has been too busy covering the GOP nominee and providing his campaign with all the free advertising money can’t buy, in exchange for higher ratings. There has hardly been a line he hasn’t crossed in his search for sensationalism, and it has made voters so cynical of the circus, many have tuned out entirely. He has managed to turn the election of the most powerful office in the world into a Kafkaesque reality show where American Democracy is the only loser.
How the Supreme Court Led to Trump
As a result, few voters know how absolutely vital the next Supreme Court appointments are to preserving our Democracy and getting our government out of the mess we have created. The Supreme Court in the last 15 years has made three decisions that have done immeasurable harm to our political system and millions of Americans as a result.
Bush v. Gore
Voters in 2000 will never forget the Bush v. Gore decision, but not many know that it was decided 5-4 with the majority made up of four Regan and one H.W. Bush appointees to the court. No matter whom you voted for that year, the fact that the Supreme Court decided the election and discounted the votes of hundreds of overseas servicemen was not the outcome anyone expected and polarized our political discourse.
Gerrymandering, PA Style
Next was the 2004 Vieth v. Jubelirer 5-4 decision on the case filed by voters right here in Pennsylvania. The case was a complaint to fight the partisan gerrymandering when Pennsylvania lost two congressional seats after the 2000 census. Republicans had control of the majority in Harrisburg and changed the Pennsylvania congressional maps so instead of sending 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans to Congress the districts were redrawn so that in 2004 the maps resulted in a Congressional delegation of 7 Democrats to 12 Republicans. That gerrymandering was sufficient enough to give the state legislature back to the Republicans in 2010 when Pennsylvania lost another congressional seat and had to be redistricted. This time, the mapping technology was finally sophisticated enough to draw districts based on an individual voter’s likelihood to vote for a particular party. This technology is so good that there is only one seat in the entire Lehigh Valley that is even close to 50/50 and that is the 183rd where Whitehall Township Commissioner Phillips Armstrong is running.
No wonder there is gridlock in Washington and Harrisburg. 310,000 more people voted for President Obama than Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania in 2008, yet we sent a delegation of 5 Democrats to 13 Republicans to Washington the same year. In 2012, Democrats won 51% of the congressional vote but won only five congressional seats.
Citizens United v. F.E.C.
The last but certainly not least terrible 5-4 decision is the notorious Citizens United v. F.E.C. decision in 2010 that allowed the financing of campaigns to become a free for all paid for by shady special interest groups with no accountability to the public. This decision has made it possible for our TV screens and mailboxes to be filled with lies and trash with no way to complain or take legal action against the organizations that fund the attacks.
These are the decisions made by Republican appointees to the Supreme Court. We cannot afford to allow the same mistake to happen again, especially with Trump who has detailed over and over again how he will stomp all over the Constitution. There is only one candidate qualified and trustworthy enough this year to hold our very Democracy in her hands. If you want your vote to count and your Representatives to do their job, you have to vote Democrat, and you absolutely must vote for Hillary Clinton.