Yes, I title this post in an act of anti-sympathetic magic against a title I wrote four years ago. I remain convinced that, in a tiny but real way, I helped clear the path for that year’s terrible outcome by bracing for its possibility as a public act, and encouraging my readership to join me. Really, it seemed wise at the time. I had no idea.

This year’s different. As I write this, more than one-third of all adult Americans have voted, and it isn’t even November yet. The country expects to see its highest voter turnout in at least a century, and maybe its whole history.

In modern America’s skewed political configuration, high turnout reliably helps the Democratic party far more than any other. Not only, then, do I expect a Biden/Harris victory, but I anticipate a definitive landslide that easily sweeps aside vote-suppressive Republican malfeasance—and I dare to hope for a full-trifecta Democratic seizure of the Senate as well.

No, none of these outcomes are guaranteed. But they’re where I set my gaze, tonight, as the calendar, the terrible 2020 calendar, ticks into its penultimate month. At last we arrive at the clutch of days that countless millions all around the world have anticipated with mingled hoped and dread for so long.

So I do write this out as a ceremonial reversal of my 2016 post—but I also mean the title as an admonition to read literally. If the Democrats win—even if they achieve an overwhelming win that scatters and demoralizes the Republican party exactly as much as it deserves—then we Americans who care about moving the nation and the world into a viable, shared future need to follow up.

We cannot afford a repeat of 2008, where I and innumerable colleagues high on Obama’s victory left the trenches of political involvement en masse, trusting that the American machine was at last set right. You know what happened next: while we short-sighted ones worked in happy, “post-political” ignorance, the Republican party quietly surrendered itself to white-supremacist authoritarian ideologues, who then used their new veneer of populist respectability to smash its weakly opposed way to a national takeover that culminated in 2016.

To hell with doing that again. We must forever stop treating elections like the Superbowl. This is not a situation where my team wins one year, and yours the next, and we have a good time passing a trophy back and forth that otherwise doesn’t affect either of our lives in any objectively measurable way. Politics is power, and the stakes are now too high: to cede power is to cede the future to those who would squander it exclusively upon themselves, leaving everyone else to eat ashes.

The Democrats, the infuriating, bickering Democrats, can win this. And we, their constituents, must be ready to keep riding with them once they do.

Where we help steer the party will be up to us. I, for my part, plan to use what voice I have to call for the reversal of all Republican-fronted laws and policies that make voting more difficult. Keeping Republicans permanently disempowered in this way strikes me as a prerequisite to all further future-saving work.

Maybe you disagree with that as a first next step. Good! I hope that the near future of American politics features a whole cacophony of empowered voices yelling and stomping about the right path to move the country forward, because then I’ll know that the people in power all agree on the right general direction, at least. Everything after that is just detail work.

See you on the other side. Be ready to push.

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