While no election is a sure thing (just ask Hillary Clinton) all the signs are pointing to Democrats picking up somewhere around 30+ seats in the House of Representatives, enough to make them the majority.
Democrats are also looking to pick up a number of governorships as well, allowing them to pursue policies that directly challenge the Trump administration.
So it will come as no surprise that the inevitable conservative backlash is already building. Moreover, the liberal backlash to the coming conservative backlash is also picking up steam.
The religious right is already trying to drum up outrage at Nancy Pelosi’s promise to pursue LGBTQ protections if Democrats win the House (and she becomes Speaker). We’re also seeing multiple attempts to delegitimize election results in advance so that Republicans can claim they were robbed by liberal hordes.
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp, who also happens to be the state’s Secretary of State in control of elections, has proclaimed with zero evidence the Democrats are trying to hack this year’s race. Kemp is locked in a tight battle with Democrat Stacey Abrams, and should he lose he will say he was a victim of fraud. (Kemp has been throwing thousands of people off the electoral rolls in order to stack the deck in his favor.)
At the local level, what we’re likely to see are stunts meant to make a statement about liberal control of government (aka democracy). A fine example can be found in Orange City, Iowa, where Paul Dorr, a religious right activist, checked out LGBTQ children’s books from the local library and then proceeded to burn them in a live stream on Facebook.
Dorr is unrepentant, but probably didn’t anticipate the response he triggered. GoFundMe pages and Facebook fundraisers have raised thousands of dollars for the library. Donations to the local pride group have also skyrocketed.
These kind of episodes may multiply as conservatives protest their modest loss of political control. The generous backlash to the backlash is a heartwarming corrective to the poison that the anti-LGBTQ right is pouring into the body politic.
The problem is that burning books has become the least of it.
Within a week, there were three violent attacks on perceived enemies by individuals who echo the worst rhetoric of the far right. The link between the white supremacists who are on the rise (and whom the government refuses to classify as terrorists) and Donald Trump is a particular concern to the LGBTQ community, since we are among the groups that the white nationalists – and the Trump administration – want to wipe out.
That there hasn’t been more attacks against us up to now may just be a matter of luck. Certainly, the rhetoric from President Trump and his supporters is only getting more extreme and more likely to provoke attacks.
As the Pulse nightclub massacre showed, many Americans are willing to stand up for LGBTQ people when they are victims of violence. But as important as that support it, it is also a kind of cold comfort.
The backlash to violence is important, but candlelight vigils will never bring back the dead. Unfortunately, we are likely to get more reminders of that sad fact after the election.