GOP extremism poses an existential threat to America. Democrats must not let voters forget in 2022

GOP extremism poses an existential threat to America. Democrats must not let voters forget in 2022
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash
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As I sit here reflecting on 2021, I am struck by how capricious and maddening the pandemic continues to be and what that means for Democrats in the midterms.

At the moment, we cannot possibly say whether the pandemic will have mercifully retreated in some meaningful way by next November. What we can say with certainty is that roughly a quarter of U.S. adults will still be refusing vaccines and resistant to almost all mitigation efforts like testing and masking. That group—and yes, they are very nearly all Republicans and GOP-leaners—will ensure that if the virus wants to continue ravaging the country and the globe, it surely will.

From a public health standpoint, that leaves President Joe Biden and Democrats entirely at the mercy of a totally unpredictable and unrelenting virus no matter how competent they prove to be at combatting it.

Nonetheless, Democrats don't have to be 100% at the mercy of the pandemic politically. What we know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that whatever challenges the pandemic poses under Democratic rule, our country would be a raging dumpster fire under Republican rule. It would truly be every person for themselves without any help whatsoever from the federal government in making lifesaving vaccines and rapid testing available, not to mention any scientifically based guidance from a functional Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Biden administration has done relatively well in this rapidly changing public health environment, though it certainly hasn't been perfect. But just imagine where we would be under Donald Trump or a GOP-controlled Congress after not a single Republican lawmaker voted this year to provide critical pandemic relief to American families and local and state governments. As we already know, even in red states GOP governors and lawmakers are jumping at the chance to tout their "historic" investments in local resources and infrastructure that resulted from the Democrats-only American Rescue Plan.

But the anti-vaxxing, anti-mitigation holiday nightmare the GOP would have served up to America is just the beginning of the extremism that pervades nearly every one of the party's stances on present-day issues.

From the pandemic to abortion rights to gun control to climate change, voting rights, and more, Republican lawmakers are solidly out of step with roughly two-thirds of American voters on almost every single issue one can think of. And let's not get started on the Big Lie and Jan. 6, where the entire Republican Party is quite simply living in la la land.

If the pandemic's future remains a complete mystery, there's one constant Democrats can count on next year: Republicans will be championing extremist views in every facet of American life.

And if Democrats want to stand any chance of surviving next year, they must spend the year forcefully reminding voters what putting Republicans back in power would mean for the country. In fact, Democrats will have multiple opportunities to do just that as the pandemic rages on and the Supreme Court prepares to wallop Americans with a series of right-wing rulings on abortion, gun rights, and more.

If Democrats spend 2022 trying to convince Americans of all the good they did, they are dead in the water. Instead, they need to convince voters of the nightmare that will surely unfold in this country if Congress falls back into Republican hands.

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