Supreme Court Shift Underlines Need For Democratic Unity

“We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately” – Benjamin Franklin

That quote from one of our Founding Fathers should be a reminder to Iowa Democrats that we must all unite. Franklin gave that advice to all American patriots following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In signing the Declaration, the Founding Fathers were committing to unite in solidarity to form a new nation. It had been a difficult and divisive debate, but once they committed to independence, Franklin reminded them of the consequences if they failed to unite. He warned them that they must unite and hang together or the British would most certainly hang them separately.

With Trump’s election and the accompanying deconstruction of Obama’s achievements (and in some cases, liberal accomplishments going back 50 years), we are seeing the ramifications of Democrats failing to heed that warning to hang together in 2016. Had Hillary Clinton been elected, she would have forced the Senate to confirm Merrick Garland, Obama’s nominee. Had Garland been confirmed, it would have shifted the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to the first liberal majority in 50 years. Now with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, Clinton could have appointed a second liberal and cemented the court with a solid liberal majority for years to come.

Instead, because of Democrats’ 2016 apathy, over-confidence, and in some cases dislike of Clinton, the country got President Trump and Justice Neil Gorsuch. The consequences of Trump’s win are about to result in a solid conservative SCOTUS majority for the foreseeable future. The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and his likely replacement of a reliably ultra conservative justice will change all our lives drastically. It amplifies the importance of uniting in electing Democrats in Iowa in 2018 and beyond.

It elevates the 2018 midterms exponentially in importance. A Democratically controlled legislature, Governor and future Iowa Supreme Court justices appointed by a Democratic Governor are the essential remaining firewalls in defending Iowans’ rights from the coming onslaught of conservative SCOTUS decisions.

A Republican appointed conservative majority of the SCOTUS puts a long list of our cherished progressive achievements at risk. Key Democratic accomplishments including women’s reproductive choice, LGBTQ rights, unions’ right to organize, voting rights and health care reform to name just a few, will be put in jeopardy with a solid conservative SCOTUS majority. In addition, any attempt at limiting corporate money, regulating corporate power or reversing Citizens United is dead at the federal level for now. Trump could easily replace any of the four remaining liberals on the bench due to death or retirement guaranteeing a conservative majority for a generation.

All these issues make the control of Iowa state government absolutely essential as a shield to further federal judicial decisions. Likely states’ rights may be enhanced, especially in making decisions on reproductive rights, but only if Democrats control statehouses. It’s expected at least 20 states will ban all abortion. The recent passage of the fetal heartbeat bill proves that is the ultimate goal of Iowa’s GOP.

During the last two years, we have witnessed and endured the power of the Iowa Republican trifecta’s attacks on women, immigrants, unions and the environment. Democrats must regain control not only to reverse these decisions but as a restraint against more future damage. Failure in electing Democrats at the state level in 2018 will literally doom Iowa to a far-right agenda far into the future. Counting on ousting Trump in 2020 is too late; we must flip the Iowa legislature and replace Reynolds in 2018. The last two years should leave no doubt that Iowa can’t withstand Reynolds and her Republican controlled legislature any longer.

The SCOTUS shift to a firm conservative agenda should unite all Iowa Democrats. If you believe in progressive values, we must totally unite and unconditionally support Fred Hubbell for governor and all our Democratic candidates. The primary is decided. Just as the American patriots put aside their differences and committed to a new nation, Iowa Democrats must march forward united in retaking our government.  As Benjamin Franklin warned after a hard fought debate on independence, “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”


by Rick Smith
Posted 6/29/18

2 Comments on "Supreme Court Shift Underlines Need For Democratic Unity"

  • Rick, you are more than correct that Iowa Dems (indeed Dems across the country!) must “hang together. But your second paragraph is assuming from facts not in evidence. Had Clinton been elected (we can see from the election results that she didn’t have very long coattails), we’d still be looking at a Senate with Grassley and McConnell in charge. While she might have been able to force McConnell to consider Garland, a Republican Senate would not have confirmed him. Were she in office when Kennedy retired this year, there is zero indication that ANY nominee she picked would stand a chance of being confirmed (and of course, since McConnell’s words are just air, that nominee wouldn’t even have slow-walk that Garland did; the nominee might not even make it out of Committee).
    However, those scenarios are just more support for your premise. We can’t win if we aren’t united!

  • Funny I took the column in a different direction. Democrats must unite and not make the same mistake as last time which is in looking for a perfect candidate–they do not exist. While it is true that Clinton would have met the same obstruction as any Democrat I doubt we the people would be facing the daily chaos now being spewed out on a daily basis from local, state and federal Republican administration.

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