Everybody Has to Vote. Everybody. Has. To. Vote.

Because we cannot afford a lackadaisical attitude this time around.

Don't count on it if you don't vote.

If you thought 2016 was the most important election of your lifetime, you were wrong. The vote on Nov 6, 2018 will be the most important election of your lifetime. Because we failed in 2016. We failed to vote. We failed to take Trump seriously enough. We failed to select — sorry — an electable candidate.

This midterm election can be an antidote to the virus in the White House. Democrats — and independents turned off by Trump, and Republicans who may feel remorse for 2016 — can vote Big D on their ballots. Democrats can take back Congress and even maybe, possibly, hopefully, the Senate. I’d settle for just the House.

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The bright side to the trauma of 2016 is the Trump Backlash. He’s such an unmitigated disaster, so woefully unfit, and with Bob Woodward’s book Fear now in over 1,000,000 hands, the stakes for November have never been higher. If the Democrats take back the House, Congress will finally be a toothful tiger. And here’s a prediction: I think it’s likely that the next Speaker of the House will be Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the most senior African-American in Congress and currently the third-ranking Democrat. He’d be a most daunting opponent for Nancy Pelosi for that job. He’s also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, which represents a formidable bloc of votes in the Democratic caucus. Opposition from the CBC will doom any leadership hopeful.

All 435 House seats and 35 of the 100 Senate seats are up for reelection. Democrats must win at least 23 GOP-held seats to flip the House. Based on historical midterm records, the opposition party usually makes gains, sometimes very significant ones. Anyone remember the Tea Party wave of 2010? I bet you do, and all of this you probably know. But here’s the thing I need you to really understand: this can only work to our advantage if people get out and vote. Everyone has to vote. Everyone has to vote. Seriously. Everyone has to vote.

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The GOP’s base is primarily made up of aging white people. It matters because they’re the one who vote every single time and who vote for everything, from Town Supervisor on up. Democrats, not so much — except in presidential election years. We’re too busy, what — binge-watching the latest Netflix series we won’t remember? Whining about rain on Election Day? Declaring politicians corrupt? Saying “My vote won’t matter”? Excuse me as I silently scream at you: YOUR VOTE MATTERS. Everyone has to vote. Everyone has to vote.

Because we cannot afford a lackadaisical attitude this time around. Trump is President and if we fail again, it will only embolden his worst instincts and he’ll have nothing holding him back from putting his ignorant, dangerous ideas into action. He’ll crush all opposition, shut down the Mueller investigation and destroy the media. He’ll be openly corrupt — meaning, more openly corrupt than he already is — and we’ll lose whatever dignity we have left. The world will see us as feckless fools, shut out of global initiatives and treaties. We’ll lose the credibility and trust of our allies. We’ll sit on an island of insanity that’s surrounded by dark waters infested with global sharks who smell our blood.

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With that bright image in mind, let’s look at some of the exciting races across the country.

Texas has the most talked-about Senate race. Failed presidential candidate and current senator Ted Cruz should have had an easy time sliding into another six years of doing the bidding for the man who mocked his wife’s looks.

But he doesn’t seem ready for the juggernaut that is Beto O’Rourke.

Currently representing Texas’ 16th House district, Rep. O’Rourke has run a campaign so effective that not only has Cruz had to sit up and take notice, conservative groups are alarmed by their excruciatingly close race and now they’re pouring money into the state. O’Rourke, a punk rock superstar, has Cruz so rattled that he invited invited Trump to a campaign rally! Just imagine: you’re so close to losing your job that you have to invite the man who mocked you mercilessly, made cruel jokes about your wife’s looks and claimed your dad murdered John F. Kennedy. Cruz is such a sellout hypocrite, so desperate to keep his seat, that he’ll lie with dogs and thank them for the fleas. O’Rourke has him running scared. He’s outraising Cruz by leaps and bounds — this August alone, he raised $9.1 million just from online contributions. (O’Rourke also isn’t accepting help from political action committees.) What’s more, he is unabashedly running on the “I” word and wearing his punk rock days as a badge of honor, tirelessly crisscrossing Texas to literally shake hands with everyone. He’s paying special attention to the Latino community, which is worth a shot: they make up 38% of Texas’ population but vote, historically, at lower rates.

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Just to the east, in Arizona, there’s a neck-and-neck race in that solid-red state as well. The current GOP senator, Jeff Flake, felt he needed “to spend more time with his family,” which is shorthand for “I know I won’t get reelected.” In his place, two women are duking it out. In the Republican corner, there’s Rep. Martha McSally, who is ex-Air Force and a big Trump supporter and also, like Cruz, trying to act as if she’s not running scared. Well, I’m not seeing an Oscar in her future: she accused her opponent in the Democratic corner, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, of favoring human trafficking and child prostitution. Because, you know, anything for Trump.

This is such a close race in Arizona that it polls consistently, persistently, within the margin of error. A Fox poll from earlier in September had Sinema up 3%, with 8% undecided. It’s a GOP toss-up! Yet, as of this writing, there is a new poll showing McSally up by just under three points. That’s why — you know what I’m going to say here — everyone has to vote. Everyone has to vote.

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Florida, as usual, also does not disappoint! The governor’s race is betweenfull-throated White Male Trump Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum. This race should have been a lock for DeSantis as he has the President’s backing in a state that he won. Yet a credible poll finds Gillum leading (though again within the margin of error):

DeSantis’ abominable monkey comment is surely to blame for this, at least in part. In fact, DeSantis’ very clear views on white supremacy are coming back to haunt him:

The Washington Post’s Beth Reinhard and Emma Brown report that DeSantis was a speaker four times at a conference organized by David Horowitz, a conservative activist who has moved further to the fringes in recent years and has said that “African Americans owe their freedom to white people and that the country’s ‘only serious race war’ is against whites.”

Will there be enough disgust for DeSantis’ views, not to mention Trump exhaustion, to pull Gillum over the finish line? Let’s say it again:

Everyone has to vote. Everyone has to vote.

Another test of Trump’s hold on the electorate is the Kansas governor’s race. Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State, is the man who screamed about all the illegals voting in 2016 and then, having led Trump’s fraudulent voter fraud commission, had to disband it as no voter fraud was found. Gosh, how embarrassing. After barely eking out a win following a testy recount, Kobach faces Kansas State Senator Laura Kelly. With women all across the country winning primaries, Kobach better hope that Kansas still loves Trump as much as he does.

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Let’s talk about the House.

In California’s 48th House district, Dana Rohrabacher is working overtime to stave off his opponent, tech entrepreneur Harley Rouda, The 15-term Congressman has been in the news due to his murky ties to Russia and his meeting with accused Russian agent Maria Butina. He backs Trump’s anti-immigration policies so far as to voice his racist views in lockstep. A loss for him would be a major rebuke of Trump in one of the few California district he won.

The House race in New York’s 19th district, which runs from the Hudson Valley to the Catskills, pits Democrat Antonio Delgado against another Trump supporter, John Faso. Like Rohrabacher, Faso does not believe that people should get access to healthcare and has voted regularly to abolish the Affordable Care Act. He likes his voters sick, dying or dead.

More women and minority candidates are running and winning, which is a clear statement about our lady-parts-grabbing President. The 2018 elections are a referendum on Trump and his policies. Or should I say his aides policies, since we know that Trump has no core beliefs except to win at all costs. If the Democrats take control of the Congress, we can feel better about our Constitutional process. We can begin to right this ship which is what our Founding Fathers wanted. We have the only consistent democracy in the world and even though a complete dotard was elected in 2016, those Founding Fathers gave us the ability to make up for disastrous mistakes by voting them, or him, out. Let’s make them proud and show the rest of the world that while democracy can be tough and at times appear to failing, our Constitution lets us save it every two years. And remember: everybody has to vote. Everybody has to vote. Everybody has to vote.