Overview:

Trump has won this battle, and will go down in history for it. But what now? The U.S. is at a crossroads; let's hope it makes the right choice.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

You can say anything you like about Trump, but he has won politics. And he’s probably going to try again, to most likely avoid jail, because let’s be honest: he certainly doesn’t need it to achieve anything political. He will never ever top this crowning achievement.

Hail Trump, Lord of the Nominations, King of the Courts, Holy Executor of Precedents.

Politics is a game and the GOP, hijacked by the social-moral conservative right, has been playing the long game. Trump wasn’t playing it. No, he was played. He wasn’t really the King, but the pawn. Or perhaps, in chess-speak, he was the King: nominally useless, but a necessary piece to win the game, protected by others, and manipulated into position by the mastermind.

On the other hand, the Democrats have been too focused on each move, shouting about winning a piece here, or losing a piece there, and failing to have an eye on the long game.

The stakes in this war have just increased massively. This is no longer whingeing about the War on Christmas. That conflict will be subsumed by much larger ones concerning real hurt and real rights infringements.

The Democrats have lost. There’s no doubt about that: They’ve been outplayed all over the board, from the courts to the schools, from the environment to human rights. But worse than that, the people have lost. Women have lost. And minority groups in society are bracing themselves for what might come next. Will they be the pawns, the knights, the rooks, mercilessly taken out of the game by the opposing bishops in a strategic entrapment?

Loading the legal dice: Trump’s impressive record

Donald Trump served but one term (so far, at any rate). And in that time, he successfully nominated three Supreme Court Justices out of nine. That’s a third of the moral arbiters of the U.S. One man, one President, did that. Moreover, this was after the Republicans gamed the system and forced Obama, a lame-duck President at the time, into the corner, unable to nominate his own selection.

That’s a masterclass in strategy, it really is, and it pains me to say so. Granted, I’m a Brit with no horse directly in this race and I’m seething. I can’t imagine how angry I would be right now as an American woman who advocated the separation of church and state and gun control. My rage would be off the charts.

But giving credit where credit is due, Trump and, mostly, the GOP have gotten what they have wanted for decades. They—with their Supreme Court control—have maneuvered taxpayers into being able to fund religious schools. After a series of very high-profile mass shootings, they have managed to expand gun rights and overturn gun control measures. And to cap off the conservative multiple-orgasm hat trick, they have overturned Roe v. Wade. Women’s rights to bodily autonomy, and their reproductive rights, have been killed.

No, not aborted, but stood up as a fifty-year-old and shot three times: in the head, in the heart, and in the uterus.

Which way does this go?

Well, Trump could stand again and he could well win again. That nightmare would be a prolonged period of political torture.

If Roe v. Wade can be scrapped, then so can the Electoral College system, and so can a nine-Justice Supreme Court.

On the other hand, the most incredible victory for the conservative religious right could ironically be their undoing. The midterms, a month ago, were looking to be a torrid affair, as we say across the pond. It was looking bad. Biden, with truly horrendous polling, brought on largely by a cost-of-living crisis (given that a failing economy is usually the death knell for any incumbent government), was going to take one hell of a beating.

Maybe not now. Maybe now, if momentum can be harnessed and maintained, the Democrats can hold their own, channeling the anger of a number of demographic groups who are out on the streets protesting, or in their houses shouting at television and smartphone screens.

But, mark my words, these midterms will become the ultimate battle in the decades-long culture war. The religious right will be looking to consolidate on their latest victory. They will look to not only defend their Supreme Court triumphs but to add to them with a renewed vigor and mandate. The left, center, and even fiscal conservatives who care about social-moral issues will be fighting for human rights. Most often, their human rights.

These legal decisions have not reflected public opinion, and this is something that must be utilized. If these decisions were generally unpopular, then those outside the GOP must foment that lack of support into support for the cause against those who favor these decisions.

The stakes in this war have just increased massively. This is no longer whingeing about the War on Christmas. That conflict will be subsumed by much larger ones concerning real hurt and real rights infringements.

Now, we are in a period of general mobilization. There needs to be a concerted, well-thought-out strategy to load the courts up and down the system, to win elections at every level, from school boards to Governors. If Roe v. Wade can be scrapped, then so can the Electoral College system, and so can a nine-Justice Supreme Court.

This is the time to be angry, to shout and vent, to let the world know how pissed off you are. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is about tooling up and getting out there, because now more than ever, every vote counts.

Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...