Still, I think a lot could have gone wrong with the way the Democrats sent a message around a defense of democracy. When Biden launched “ultra MAGA” a few months ago, I feared he was more likely to energize the opposition than rally his own troops. But more recently, I heard one of Pennsylvania Governor-elect Josh Shapiro’s final campaign speeches and realized just how powerful that closing argument could be.
I won’t let Doug Mastriano take your vote away from you… That’s not how things work in this Commonwealth or in this country. That’s not how our democracy works, and that’s not freedom.
This guy likes to talk about a good game about “freedom” all the time. Right? We heard that. Let me tell you something: it’s not freedom to tell women what they are allowed to do with their bodies. Right? It is not freedom. It is not the freedom to tell our school children what books they are allowed to read. It is not freedom. It is not freedom to tell workers that they can work 40 hours a week, but they cannot be members of a union. It is not freedom. And it’s certainly not freedom to say, you can go vote, but he’ll pick the winner. It is not freedom. That’s not how we do things here in Pennsylvania.
This is how we talk about democracy: not as something that only started to matter because Donald Trump came and pissed on it, but as the great purveyor of the gifts of the good life: prosperity, stability and dignity. Democracy is also something that has enemies, who should be named and humiliated with joy and confidence.
Obviously, the fight is far from over; many illiberal republicans won this week. And now that democracy is off the ballot, Democrats must help everyone who votes to preserve democracy find new and creative ways to do so in all the days between elections. But we can put any skepticism about the “message” to bed. The fight for democracy is a good fight, and it’s good that the right people have found a way, while facing long hardships, to draw a line in the sand and punch the bullies in the mouth. More of this, please!