You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you…
…Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, 6 June 1944
On 6 November 2018, liberal democracy may face its most important challenge since that day 74 years ago on the beaches of Normandy.
Yes, I know, I am not really prone to hyperbole. I have worked in politics and seen plenty of times how any given election was over exaggerated as the most important of a lifetime. But, when the president* calls for the illegal use of the military on American soil to stir up his voting base while also suggesting he can change the Constitution by Executive Order, all with the full support of his legislature-controlling party, then things really are different.
Additionally, it is not just an internal US thing, either. We know there has been Russian influence in our elections, as there was in the Brexit vote in the UK. And just last week we saw the right wing come to power in Brazil. The threat to democracy is more global than at any time since at least the end of the Cold War, if not the defeat of Nazi Germany.
This global trend was addressed the other day by Max Fisher in The New York Times where he suggested that the weaknesses and tensions inherent to liberal democracy itself can, in times of stress, pull it apart. He said:
When that happens, voters tend to reject that system in all but name and follow their most basic human instincts toward older styles of government: majoritarian, strong-fisted, us-versus-them rule.
We can see that here in the US, where Trump’s authoritarian tendencies are applauded by his base, and actual Nazis are running for office as Republicans. This is why Max Boot’s call to vote against all Republicans in The Washington Post the other day is so important.
I have actually been telling that to a number of relatives for some years now. At the risk of hyperbole, I have tried to explain how the GOP no longer represented conservative views, but had become enthralled to radical right wing thinking that had as its central tenet (if it had one at all) opposition to Democrats. Republicans had begun putting party before country well before Trump, which just made it easier for them to side with him.
As Max Boot put it: Vote for Democrats on Tuesday. For every office. Regardless of who they are. And I say that as a former Republican. Some Republicans in suburban districts may claim they aren’t for Trump. Don’t believe them. Whatever their private qualms, no Republicans have consistently held Trump to account. They are too scared that doing so will hurt their chances of reelection. If you’re as sick and tired as I am of being sick and tired about what’s going on, vote against all Republicans. Every single one. That’s the only message they will understand.
By doing this on Tuesday, America can once again take a leading role in saving liberal democracy, and we can turn the tide on the authoritarian forces darkening the globe. So tonight, the cocktail to have is The Liberal.
Via Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh’s classic book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, The Liberal is:
.75 oz 100-proof Wild Turkey (Buffalo Trace)
.75 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica)
3 dashes Torani Amer (Bigallet China-China)
1 generous dash orange bitters
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a cocktail cherry.