By Emil Guillermo
Congressional elections remind us why we live where we live. At least in the Bay Area.
California, a safe Blue zone for the Senate, is a super-solid Blue when it comes to the Bay Area.
You won’t see Alameda’s Barbara Lee sweating the midterms.
She sought a 12th term this week and it was practically automatic.
She won in 2020 with over 92% of the vote, and this year anyone running against her is considered a masochist in need of a landslide.
That’s good for Lee and her constituents. No one is going to chase out your rep.
But is that good for democracy? Wouldn’t a little competition help sometime? Bite your tongue.
Let Lee die in Congress if she wants. She’s represented the East Bay well.
It’s the 434 other House seats we’ve got to worry about.
And that’s the problem. We’re good about Alameda County. But the country?
Republicans could easily wrest away the majority in the House with dozens of seats considered coinflips.
And in the Senate, it would take just one seat to flip for Republicans to gain control.
As I write, the results are still trickling in.
But the first national exit polls tell you why our democracy is in trouble.
There is no doubt that Joe Biden was elected in 2020. By any legitimate measure, the vote has withstood challenges and been upheld.
Yet, when voters were asked, “Do you believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected president back in 2020?”
Sixty-three percent of voters said yes.
And a whopping 34% said no.
A third of voters are election deniers, all according to a CNN exit poll.
On top of that, when asked “Democracy in the U.S. is…”
“Somewhat threatened,” said 33% in the exit poll.
But “Very threatened,” was the sentiment of 37%.
Seventy percent of the voters sensed some threat.
Voters know something is wrong. Let’s hope they voted to deny the deniers.
Fighting Lies, Denials and Misinformation
As America voted, it’s a little more than a week after the SCOTUS affirmative action hearing.
But why bury a good wedge when it’s still hot?
Democracy deniers out there aren’t ready to quit a little fear-mongering to rile up the conservative base.
One Asian American voter brought to my attention a flyer used in the closing days of the campaign.
The hit piece screams the claim “Joe Biden and Left-Wing officials are engaged in widespread racial discrimination against WHITE and ASIAN AMERICANS.”
It’s 100% false but backed up by out-of-context headlines from right-wing news sources.
But the hit piece shares the formula put forth by anti-civil rights activist Ed Blum, the mastermind behind the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) attack on race-conscious admissions at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
And since they’ve ridden this from the lower courts all the way to the Supreme Court for years, other conservative anti-civil rights folks are willing to steal the approach.
People like the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant advisor Stephen Miller.
He’s proudly started something called America First Legal, a right-wing group intending to be the conservative answer to the American Civil Liberties Union.
No one will ever mistake the ACLU with this new-fangled AFL which believes that spreading lies as truth under the guise of free speech is part of the American way.
Sounds like good ole Republican rhetoric.
But the AFL is sending out this racist propaganda piece to voters mostly on East Coast.
Will it be a thing going forward? Asian Americans being allied with whites in all things regarding race?
It’s pure misinformation used to split apart our BIPOC diversity coalitions and deny all of us a true sense of democracy.