Sure, it’s not cool to pile on Democrats, upon whose shoulders the entire possible future of democracy lay. But that’s exactly why this needs to be written.
Democrats Need To Toughen Up On Clarence And Ginni Thomas
Ginni and Clarence Thomas are such a powerful DC couple that they are feared and seemingly revered by all in power. Perhaps this colors Democrats’ judgment. Perhaps Democrats – so tasked with upholding and restoring the rule of law after four plus destructive, undermining years under Trump – simply can’t find it in themselves to sound anything like the current Republican party. I get that. No one wants to sound like the current Republican Party.
But here’s the thing. Not only is this current messaging regarding Ginni and Clarence Thomas a disaster (“maybe” he should recuse?), the people whose votes are being so calmly discussed as maybe not that important are exceptionally displeased. Surely our representatives hear this from their constituents, because we hear it daily. It isn’t anger at Democrats right now, but at the larger current failures of democracy, and who else to blame when only one party is accountable to the people? It will happen, and I’m afraid it will happen as we head into the critical midterms.
This kind of softball rhetoric is not going to fire up the base to vote in the midterms. So both as representatives of The People and as politicians, this messaging needs to change for the entire party. There needs to be a consistent message and it needs to be about Democrats’ role as stewards of The People and of our country’s democracy.
Perhaps they need to consult with a good scriptwriter. Tell the story of their grief at seeing their constituents’ votes treated like trash. Tell the story of how they went back to the Capitol even after the terrorist attack, to do their job to honor our votes and in that same spirit, they are compelled and duty-bound to speak up about Clarence Thomas’ very existence on the court being an attack on The People.
We’re in the sound bite era: Everything is a story. Legislation is boring.
Democrats need to own that they are the only party working to protect elections and The Peoples’ votes. This needs to be repeated constantly in every appearance, no matter the agenda.
All elected officials wear an oath to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution requires the House and Senate to count the Electoral College’s ballots, which are based on the Peoples’ votes. It is the Constitutional duty of Democrats to protect the votes of the people, especially when a Supreme Court justice allows his wife to try to toss them in the garbage.
On TV, Democrats should be the Big Daddy/Mama Bear protecting the votes instead of the tipid lawyer making an argument in court. They should be fierce about their constituents’ rights. No one can fault that argument; it is the job. They need to put a little populist cherry on top of the policy-laden sundae. (It’s not empty if it’s supported by action, which it is in this case.)
Enough with the “maybe Clarence should recuse” discussion. Recuse? This assumes he belongs on the Supreme Court. His wife played an active role in an attempted coup. ACTIVE ROLE. Clarence tried to cover it up, using his power as a Supreme Court Justice.
There will be many more election cases coming before this court, given the loud and proud Republican strategy of installing Secretary of States and more who will simply do their bidding when they lose elections. That is called a soft dictatorship. It is simulated democracy when elections are just for show.
What message is being sent to the record 80 million plus people who voted for Joe Biden? That their vote is so irrelevant that we might want to maybe discuss if Clarence Thomas, who sees their votes as garbage, might want to recuse himself?
This is absolutely outrageous. Our votes are the foundation of democracy. Without our votes mattering, we don’t have a democracy. Who will stand up for our votes?
Democrats are fighting the good fight on many fronts. They’re actually doing the work. They’re trying to pass election and voter protection laws, they’re working to raise the minimum wage, they’re fighting a lonely fight for the people. It’s not their fault that they have all of these burdens including our very democracy.
But they are all we have. And so it must be said: This language of maybe recuse is not okay. It sends a message that this is somewhat acceptable situation that could be remedied by Thomas recusing himself.
It cannot. It will not.
There is no way any person in this country who is not a radical, white, straight, right wing conservative male can trust this court to be impartial right now.
The Supreme Court Is Not Legitimate Because Of Clarence And Ginni Thomas
The court is not legitimate as it stands. It cannot have a man whose wife tried to overthrow the government on it. This seems pretty basic.
Ginni Thomas is an activist who works against the rule of law. She actively participated in what was labeled by an expert a “domestic terrorist attack.” She didn’t sit in someone’s living room 20 years ago who decades before was labeled a domestic terrorist. She actually participated in actively inciting this theft that turned into an attack.
Ginni’s husband has not only covered this up, but condoned it and went along with it for years. This isn’t her first foray down the take elections through any means possible front.
In order for The People of this country to believe in their government, they must have some faith in the rule of law. They must have some hope, even though they know better, that the rule of law applies to everyone. People in charge must at least pretend this is the case.
Are we past even pretending now? What should the people chew on now as their rights are destroyed by this court?
Democrats have long been hampered by the very thing that holds the party together, which is an adherence to facts. This makes messaging in a post-Trump world a disaster.
The message here is easy, though. “Speaking on behalf of the people elected me to represent them, it is imperative that the rule of law applies to everyone and that The Peoples’ votes are respected and honored. Clarence Thomas has already shown that he does not respect the votes of The People. This is not how our government works. He cannot stand on the Supreme Court and must resign.”
Let’s call it soft populist rhetoric, backed by a rock solid adherence to the law and facts. (Democrats have always needed messaging help; this is the
curse of the party that is actually legislating for the people and thinks people other than its core base will care or even know about their work in this current media “both sides travesty.)
To those who argue to let the committee do its job, you must be a lawyer. Law is but one part of this. It’s important and the committee will do its job and fingers crossed it matters (this is not a given anymore in this country), but it is not the only factor at play. The war for democracy must be fought on every front, not just the investigation front. Because where will this investigation go? Let us not stop on Mueller Avenue for a moment, but do recall the astonishing cowardice of people previously revered. I, for one, am not comfortable relying on the courage of one person to save this country.
A court must have the appearance of being fair and impartial or it is not viewed as legitimate. This court has gone so far past that, we are kidding ourselves if we don’t acknowledge the fire at play. A majority of the country who pays attention does not trust this court, and they haven’t yet overturned Roe.
Tell The People Their Vote Matters
The 1/6 hearings are providing to these people that their vote was treated like garbage by many people in power. One of them is on the Supreme Court. That’s a takeaway from these hearings that needs to be respected. It needs to be centered.
Tell the people their vote matters. Stand up for The People. At every single media appearance. They need to know their vote matters, or why would they bother.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more .
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.