By Bruce A. Smith
I think tomorrow’s elections will reveal a growing Red Tide in our country as opposed to the hoped-for Blue Wave. As one Republican strategist declared on “The Circus,” a weekly Showtime political show, the Democrats will pick up a few congressional seats in a kind of “Blue Tornado,” wherein selected districts will opt for a more liberal perspective and flip from Republican to Democrat. But overall, Red Skies will prevail.
Nevertheless, I predict that the Dems will take the House of Representatives by a seat or two – a squeaker election when compared to historical mid-term precedence – but not the 35-40 seats projected by some Democratic analysts a few weeks ago, or even the 60 touted by some in September.
But the shift to the Democrats in the House will be balanced by the Republicans picking up 3-4 seats in the Senate for a commanding majority in that body. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and other Red State Democratic Senators will be gone.
Locally, I sense that Dino Rossi will win in the 8th Congressional District by a couple of percentage points, besting Democratic challenger Kim Schrier by 2,000-3,000 votes. Nationally, Beto O’Rourke, the darling of the liberal media such as Chris Matthews of “Hardball,” will get beaten by Ted Cruz by 10 points. But the slogan “BETO!” will live on, and O’Rourke will become a popular spokesperson for the New Democratic party, as the Dems shift from their traditional elitist stance to a more Bernie Sanders, socialistic position.
In contrast, I see America increasingly embrace Trump and the repressive policies of Trumpism. I see the President’s approval rating reaching 50% for the first time in his presidency, as increasingly Americans fear greater numbers of immigrants entering the United States and agree with Trump’s rhetoric and harsh reactions.
Here’s some of my thinking: My computer’s browser is MSN, and it posts daily polls on topics of interest, such as who we think is a better NFL quarterback – Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Patrick Mahomes. It also delves into politics and recently has been asking questions on immigration. This week it queried if we support a political leader who resists an increase of immigrants. I was shocked to see that a majority of respondents voted for the conservative, more pro-Trump response. In fact, today’s poll revealed that 60% of respondents approved of a tough stance on resisting the Caravan, including the use of military force.
These polls back what I hear from my neighbors, or even some of my Paratransit drivers who are Trump supporters even though their skin color is not nearly as white as mine.
As a result, I think increasing numbers of Americans will support deploying even more combat troops to Texas – that the current level of 15,000 is too low. In the days ahead we may find that the next battle to preserve the “American Way of Life” will be a bloody contest on our southern border with Mexico, and I suspect hundreds of “Caravaners” will die in a political photo op before global disgust compels Trump and his allies to discover a face-saving withdrawal.
But the die will be cast. American will be closed to foreigners, and those born elsewhere who are already in the country will be forced out.
In response, the liberal media seems to think that Americans are being sold a false bill of goods on the Caravan – that it is just Trump hype. But the American public is not blind to the pictures of Africans drowning in the Mediterranean Sea as they try to escape poverty, wars, and desertification while seeking refuge in Europe. The so-called “Caravan” is just the American equivalent.
I feel the majority of Americans know the world is becoming more unstable, primarily due to climate change, and they see the resulting impacts upon world-wide food production, social order, and shifting balances of power militarily. Hence, I suspect that a majority of Americans will soon feel that today’s Caravan is just the tip of an immigration/refugee iceberg, with tens of thousands of folks descending upon our southern border in the days to come, making it potentially the most dangerous battleground on the planet.
Although most voters say they want to confront climate change, ironically they don’t want to vote for programs to fight those changes. I agree with those Republican pundits who are courageous enough to address this issue when they say that most voters are just not ready to accept the resulting changes to their lifestyles. Notably, one Republican analyst on NPR radio said that many Republican voters are simply not ready to forego their dreams, such as abandoning the idea of buying a beach house, or buying a brand-new F-250 pick-up with a lot of roar. A Prius is just not sexy enough to get right-wing votes.
But folks know climate change is here – 50 inches of rain in Houston will do that – and they know it’s going to get a lot worse, with Hurricane Michael just being the latest wake-up call.
So, I think most folks know that what is currently happening to Europe is about to happen to us, as desperate people seek to find some degree of safety – or even food – in America. Sadly though, I think most Americans don’t feel we are rich enough, or strong enough, or white enough to absorb tens of thousands – maybe even millions – of impoverished brown-skinned people, particularly since they don’t speak English. I think many Americans feel too poor themselves to feel generous, just clinging by their fingernails to their families and lifestyles as the middle-class get squeezed by the One Percenters.
But what happens to us liberals? Clearly, we won’t rest easy. But marching with pink Pussy Hats will not be enough, nor having hundreds of women running for elected office will be sufficient as most of them will lose tomorrow. Increasingly, I think liberals and the Blue Enclaves will be isolated and culturally cut-off from the rest of the country. We will be on our own, collectively and individually.
What that means will vary tremendously as we grapple with endless challenges – changes to commerce due to trade wars, increasingly harsh ICE raids, more pressure on political dissent and diversity, more problematic taxation, fewer banking regulations and consumer protections, and less effective educational policies. But one issue stands out that effects everyone that lives west of the Mississippi – smoke from forest fires.
Since the Trump Administration will not do anything about climate change, our western fires will continue to rage every summer and get worse. Our skies will be blanketed with thicker smoke and more toxic fumes for longer periods of time. Already California, Oregon, Washington and the Province of British Columbia have formed an environmental collective to try to fight climate change with local regulations. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to what we need.
For those of us with pulmonary issues, we may have to evacuate the Pacific Northwest during the greatest smoke invasions of summer, like snowbirds flocking south for the winter. Or we will be forced to wear respirators every day of July and August. Or stay indoors with air purifiers and air-conditioning units running full blast.
Ironically, the question of smoke comes with a local political twist. Many of my neighbors in rural Pierce County feel it is their right to burn garbage and debris even though it is illegal and very dangerous to folks downwind. But the cops are not impassioned to enforce these law, nor are our fire fighters inclined to insist upon compliance as they need every vote they can get to support their budgets. Add to this lousy fireplaces and wood stoves spewing plenty of smoke on a chilly night, and smoke is a year-long problem in my part of town.
Hence, I know I’ve got to develop my mind-over-matter techniques to create a bubble of clean air around me. As esoteric as that might be, it’s really my only option. Everything I’ve learned about consciousness at the Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment is no longer just a delightful theory to me, or a goal to attain if I can focus long and hard enough. Now, it’s time to get ‘er done. It’s crunch time. It is time to make the miraculous happen.
My life depends on it.