Time For A Realignment

Recent events have increased my belief that the U.S. is at a political tipping point.

In the past few weeks, in addition to the mass shootings that are now horrifyingly routine, we’ve seen Tennessee’s gerrymandered White Republican legislature expel two young Black Democrats who breached “House Order”–despite that body’s unwillingness to expel White Republicans accused of sexual misconduct and criminal activity.

Immediately after a jury found a defendant guilty of intentionally murdering a Black Lives Matter demonstrator, Greg Abbott vowed to pardon him.

Then, thanks to Pro Publica– in deeply-researched reports which have once again underlined the importance of a free and vigorous press–Americans learned that Clarence Thomas’ corruption extends well beyond his widely-criticized refusal to recuse himself from cases involving organizations with which his wife has been active. Not only did Thomas accept trips on yachts and luxurious accommodations worth millions from his “dear friend” Harlan Crowe (a “friendship” that began five years after Thomas joined the Court), not only did Crowe’s purchase of real estate from Thomas (at an evidently inflated price)  go similarly unreported, we’ve also learned that Crowe’s creepy collection of memorabilia includes two pictures painted by Hitler and a signed copy of Mein Kampf. 

We also learned that, early in their “friendship,” Thomas had reported some of those gifts, but when those reports generated criticism, rather than stop accepting them, Thomas stopped reporting them.

It isn’t just Clarence Thomas.

For years, the American public ignored the legal profession’s exhortations about the importance of the judicial branch, and the need to vote against lawmakers intent upon elevating ideologues to the bench. It’s not just Thomas and the rabidly conservative bloc that now dominates the Supreme Court; thanks to a rogue Texas Judge,  a lot more people understand the importance of an intellectually honest, honorable and professionally competent judicial branch.

A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary ruling invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, an unprecedented order that — if it stands through court challenges — could make it harder for patients to get abortions in states where abortion is legal, not just in those trying to restrict it.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling wasn’t unexpected. Since Trump placed him on the bench, this poster boy for judicial activism has been the choice of forum-shopping rightwing extremists who’ve responded to clear signals that he would ignore legal precedents that conflicted with his religious beliefs.  Among other numerous legal deficits, this particular decision ignored a six-year statute of limitations, rules governing standing, and sound science.

Worse–as two hundred drug companies pointed out in a letter blasting the decision,

“The decision ignores decades of scientific evidence and legal precedent,” the drugmakers wrote. “Judge Kacsmaryk’s act of judicial interference has set a precedent for diminishing FDA’s authority over drug approvals, and in so doing, creates uncertainty for the entire biopharma industry.”

Should the decision be upheld, the consequences of second-guessing the experts at the FDA decades after the fact would threaten investment in all new medications, not just those related to reproduction.

Meanwhile, Rightwing activists and lawmakers are continuing their attacks on local school boards and libraries, and Republican legislators in Red states continue to focus mean-spirited and dishonest attacks on trans children and the medical professionals who treat them.

The narrow focus on transgender folks is strategic. Polling has confirmed that significant majorities of Americans now support same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ+ citizens, making wholesale attacks on the gay community politically  unwise.

Nearly eight in ten Americans (79%) favor laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing, including 41% who strongly support them.

Trans children are more vulnerable–in more ways than one.

As Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post

It is one thing to gin up the base on invented threats from critical race theory or the “great replacement theory.” But when the MAGA movement’s judges begin to inflict radically unpopular edicts on those outside the right-wing audience, that risks sparking a counter-response: a determined, broad-based movement insistent that the United States not turn the clock back on decades of social progress….

The more the Supreme Court diverges from overwhelming public sentiment on issues such as abortion, guns and voting rights, the more strength and more allies the progressive movement may gain.

Add to all this the ongoing antics of the buffoons in Washington whose behavior continues to prevent anything remotely resembling thoughtful governance, the  constantly unraveling spectacle that is Donald Trump, and the increasingly overt racism and misogyny that pervades today’s GOP.

Walter Dean Burnham once argued that there’s a 30–38 year “cycle” of political realignments.

We’re overdue, but the signs are there.


  1. Perhaps the country needs a constitutional amendment preventing anyone with religious beliefs from being appointed to the judiciary. If that seems absurd, consider how many sitting judges do not seem to have understood the Establishment clause in the First Amendment. Perhaps that proposed amendment should include people being elected to Congress. That certainly would “clean out the stables,” wouldn’t it?

  2. The wrong wing doesn’t care that nobody supports their policies. That’s not the point of autocracy. As long as they can get away with enacting the laws that give comfort to their shrinking base, they will do it. If everything works the way they believe it should, they end up ruling. That means getting rid of those uncomfortable people on the left by any and all means possible. If that horrifies you, you need to get ready for the fight of your life, for your life.

  3. Gregg Abbott is doing the right thing. The thug was known for pointing his gun at people. If you point a gun at someone, you should expect force right back at you. He deserved to die. Peaceful Americans die everyday because of a lack of adequate access to Healthcare. Unfortunately, the Democratic Party would rather glorify the criminal elements than seek and develop genuine Healthcare for Americans beyond the paltry Heritage Foundation Insurance Grift now available.

  4. Ian. So everyone can carry a loaded gun anywhere, any time and anyone who points a gun at anyone else deserves to die. You must really get off on the daily reports of mass shootings.

  5. “Recent events have increased my belief that the U.S. is at a political tipping point.”

    Can the abrupt end to the Dominion vs. Fox News/Rupert Murdock $1.5 BILLION case yesterday be considered a judicial “political tipping point”? Fox News and Rupert Murdock figured heavily in Trump’s “Stop the steal”. Their reporting on some of the issues included in the blog today and their protective reporting of Trump, et al, regarding leadership and involvement in the January 6th Insurrection are now an accepted part of that $787.5 MILLION payoff? I stated in a late comment on yesterday’s blog that this settlement was a Non-Disclosure payoff; did anyone from Fox News or Rupert Murdock himself have to make an Allocution Statement before the plea and payoff was accepted by the court? All proof of Fox News lies and cover ups maintaining Trump and his MAGA, White Nationalist, Freedom Caucus in power all the way to House Speaker McCarthy becoming the 3rd in line for the presidency with Marjorie Taylor Green his Deputy Speaker. FOLLOW THE MONEY!

    It goes far beyond the Catholic, far right Supreme Court with Clarence and Ginni Thomas’ “high on the hog” lifestyle today; the courts at all levels need to be viewed with Sheila’s “Jaundiced Look”. “Add to all this the ongoing antics of the buffoons in Washington whose behavior continues to prevent anything remotely resembling thoughtful governance, the constantly unraveling spectacle that is Donald Trump, and the increasingly overt racism and misogyny that pervades today’s GOP.” FOLLOW THE MONEY!

    My disgust with yesterday’s Fox News/Rupert Murdock cover up aiding the GOP with no “outing” of their part in the “increasingly overt racism and misogyny” that pervades more than the GOP today; it pervades the entire nation. FOLLOW THE MONEY!

  6. If someone points a gun at you or your family,that individual should be met with force. Garret was an idiot. His demise is self-Darwinism at work.

  7. It is also becoming the time to see, given these growing threats, whether America is really “amusing itself to death” as predicted in 1984. Between “newsertainment”, sports betting, gaming, etc. it is hard to see democracy as interesting…

  8. Clarence Thomas’ arrogance of believing that he is above the law makes the entire supreme court more of a joke than many of us already believed. Thomas continues to prove that he is the scum of the earth. John Roberts’ refusal to publicly address Thomas’ complete lack of ethics and refusal to obey financial disclosure laws makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to have even a sliver of respect for the supreme court.

    Regarding the radical right judges that are removing women’s rights to have autonomy over our own bodies and health, I believe they should also lose autonomy over their bodies. A good start would be required castration of any male who even thinks he has the right to make decisions about and/or control women’s bodies and personal health choices.

    The above sentence was not directed at any of the male readers or commenters on this blog. However, if you are surprised or offended by it there is a possibility that you suffer from a fragile male ego and have no clue what it is like to be a woman living in a world that is controlled by egotistical men.

  9. Regarding this above sentence,

    “Worse–as two hundred drug companies pointed out in a letter blasting the decision… ”

    I’m afraid I take this very public assertion of control over FDA reveals an agency that has been captured by the industry it is charged with regulating.

  10. Our woke people- that’s a compliment- will change the world for the better. Reading the 1997, Neil Howe and William Strauss book “The Fourth Turning” goes into detail on how history moves in 80-year cycles and each one is divided into periods, defined by each generation (i.e., Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials) as they come into adulthood. Each of these phases hold one generation at a time, and each phase is associated with a specific societal role. Most importantly, in each human life cycle, society goes through four major turning events as each generation passes from one phase to the next. These four phases are High, Awakening, Unraveling and Crisis. We are moving from the crisis to a high very soon. It’s due.

    Their writings define this flip happens with some world or local event, usually a war, as the last two world wars changed American attitudes.

    Maybe abortion rulings flipped a switch. Or maybe the expansion of the Russia Ukrainian war will make all Americans come together and the fringe will be nullified.

  11. Patrick – WADR – I must have missed something…What has GenX done? They don’t vote as often as older gens; they are barely seen in future leaders of DEMs; they aren’t getting married or having kids – hmmm – they may be HIGH, but, if so, it is on junk food, social media, sports…

  12. Boy, it sure is good to read that some of the bloggers on this site get it. Ian thinks that pardoning convicted murderers is the right thing to do. Of course he does. Somebody, like a ten-year-old boy may point a toy gun at somebody and get himself shot by some cowering idiot who lives to fondle guns. So much for the rule of law.

    And perhaps the most salient comments surround the phrase, “the right wing doesn’t care”. No. They do not. Never did. All they care about is money and power. Democracy? To Republicans, democracy is an inconvenience that must be thwarted and choked out of existence. How else do you explain the mindless attacks by perhaps the dumbest people ever put into government. They WANT autocracy. The WANT authoritarian rule so that their tiny bodies and even tinier brains can feel successful – especially successful at the expense of others.

    Gee, Ian, why don’t we just go ahead and pardon all the convicted killers? That should give the “honorable” gun fondlers plenty of target practice.

    Then, there’s the Llano Library fiasco… also in Texas. Maybe all that polluted air from the oil refineries is finally taking its toll on the ability of Texas brains to function rationally.

  13. There isn’t any nefarious connection between the FDA and big pharma regarding the Mifepristone case. Think about what would happen if the judge’s ruling is upheld. I rely on two prescription drugs. What happens if some random wrong winger decides to go to court to invalidate the FDA approval of my Parkinson’s medication? The question is does the FDA have authority to approve any drug? If this decision stands, we could lose access to every drug on the market!

  14. The inflection point for the party of red seems to be when they first elected an entertainer for President but after that the downward slide has been continuous. Trump’s hostile takeover marked the beginning of the end but the ending of the end seems still a little in the future as it depends of the expiration date of the cohort that refuses to adapt to reality – the dinosaurs bellowing about their swamp drying up.

  15. AgingLGirl – your post is right on as to why they won’t vote GOP. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will actually vote at all. They talk, post and protest a good game, but…. Meanwhile, the MAGA folks are excited about voting…

  16. I ran across a quote from Einstein in yesterday’s portion of a short trip to St. Augustine, Fl. In one souvenier shop was a mug with a quote from Einstein: ”Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” The stupidity being evidenced by the current version of the GOP seems to prove Einstein correct, and their stance e gas been hurting people all over the place, and the culture as a whole.

  17. The commentaries today are enlightening but I’m not sure they arm Sheila with food for thought in working with others toward a center position in today’s angry and fragmented political culture, and worse, I’m not sure I can help her, either. I’m not even sure if, given disagreement that has morphed into political hatred, even a war or a great depression would bring us together to any position, right, left or center, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. We had similar problems in our history during Reconstruction following the Civil War, and though there remain lingering sentiments since, we succeeded in finding a sufficient unity.

    I don’t know what it would take to bring us back to a “We’re all in this together” near universal understanding we had during FDR’s New Deal, WW II and its aftermath, but I applaud the endeavor Sheila is entering. I am slightly to the left of center but would be happy with a centrist solution to the present war raging among my fellow citizens, a war I consider to have been contrived for artificial reasons by those who seek power with their “woke” and prevaricating electronic outlets.

    Perhaps Sheila and those open-minded Democrats and Republicans who will be working with her for a centrist solution will succeed in their quest for an end to the present chaos in our political culture. I hope their efforts will bear the fruit of unity.

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