Budowsky: Code red alert to Democrats
Former first lady Michelle Obama, one of the most popular and respected public figures in America, should spend a day taping personal endorsements for Democratic candidates for the House and Senate in the most important midterm elections in American history.
This column is a code red alert to Democrats and a call to arms for the most popular and respected Democrats in America, such as Michelle Obama, to lead the charge for all hands on deck at a critical moment for America and democracy.
In my view there is a 25 percent chance that Democrats end the midterms with a nightmare scenario. This is not a moment for complacency or easy talk of blue waves. It is a moment for bold and maximum action and turnout based on a powerful and urgent sense of opportunity and danger.
Democrats are now the underdog party for winning control of the Senate. It is possible the Democrats prevail on Election Day in Senate races. It is also possible they lose two or three seats.
Democrats are now favored to win control of the House of Representatives. It is even possible Democrats win the House by a significant number of seats. However, it is also possible that the Democrats gain only 20 seats, falling short of winning control. That would leave House Republicans dominant with a smaller but even more right-wing majority as the leading losers in the House midterms are comparatively moderate GOP House members.
There is a 25 percent chance of a nightmare scenario for Democrats on Election Day that should sear bone-chilling alarm into the soul of every Democratic leader, donor, worker, registered voter and former president and presidential nominee.
Democrats could lose one or two Senate seats, continuing a Republican Senate that is even further to the right and even more partisan than the GOP majority today.
The Supreme Court begins its current session with a solid 5-4 conservative majority that is much further to the right, and far more prone to party-line votes of Republican justices, than any Supreme Court in generations.
If this nightmare scenario for Democrats and America unfolds on Election Day, a vindictive and triumphant Trump — having won a victory for the politics of hatred, fear and national division — will stand alongside Republican leaders of the new Republican Congress feeling he has achieved an unstoppable dominance over his party, our country and every branch of government with all checks and balances destroyed.
If this nightmare scenario for democracy unfolds on Election Day, Trump will almost immediately fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and launch an all-out effort to destroy the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller which will be met with champagne celebrations by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his henchmen in Moscow who will feel triumphant about their attacks against Western democracy.
This code red alert warns about the danger of so much unchecked power concentrated in the hands of a president who tried to criminalize his opponent in the last election, demonize the free press as the enemy of the people, and characterize women who opposed his Supreme Court nominee as “evil.”
While I emphasize my view that the probability the nightmare scenario does not occur is 75 percent, and that the Kavanaugh controversy improves Democratic prospects in the House more than it improves Republican prospects in the Senate, the dangers are sufficiently real and the result would be so catastrophic that a code red alert is called for.
Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will not protect the nation from this danger but Michelle Obama, and other great Americans like her, can and should go the distance and lead the charge for all hands on deck at a critical and dangerous moment for America and democracy.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.