Published at 18:32 on 11 May 2022
Basically, it will take a significant fraction of the American public acting in ways that demonstrably falsify these assumptions.
We can start with various forms of sustained resistance to the impending Supreme Court decision. The American public being diverse, the resistance will naturally take diverse forms, all the way from electoral politics to nonviolent direct action to armed actions that many would label terrorism.
On the latter part, yes, that is pretty much inevitable. Just look at what recently happened in Wisconsin. There will be more from where that came from. (This is not an endorsement; it is merely an observation.)
It all boils down, again, to the sophistication of that same public. They don’t have to like the violence. They don’t even have to support it. All they have to do is realize that there is a difference between supporting every last tactic used by any person striving for a goal, and supporting that goal itself.
It is possible to oppose political violence while still agreeing with those using violence about some common cause. Martin Luther King managed to very eloquently do this in the Sixties; here is one such example.
But if the overall reaction is, “I’m going to vote Republican because I don’t like the small subset of the Left that is being violent,” well, we are right back to the American public being stupid and ignorant again.
Remember, unlawful violence has been used on the anti-abortion side, too. (And that is aside from all the violence we saw on January 6th of last year!) So what this really would amount to, is a hypocritical double standard, in which the Right (and only the Right) is given a pass on political violence.
In that case, what we have is basically a fascism-friendly public, and as a result fascism is basically inevitable; given enough bootlickers, ample opportunities for boot-licking will be furnished. Ending this state of affairs will then have to be the job of younger generations, who as usual will be made to pay for the sins of their forebears, unfair as that is.
Despite all the hand-wringing about violence discrediting the cause, it is really a red herring. Assume a world in which the violence did not happen. This would also be a world in not much of anything happened at the grassroots level, per the principles in the second paragraph. In other words, a world where the task of opposition fell to the so-called “opposition” party, i.e. the same people who failed to effectively oppose the increasingly fascist GOP for decade after decade. It’s pretty obvious how that would play out.
So yes, the public reaction is critical. The Democrats are so institutionally incompetent that there is no way they will effectively lead on anything. They might, however, be dragged into following a lead from the public. If, that is, the American public surprises me and proves me wrong.