Former trade unionist and immigration lawyer Haven Scott McVarish’s thesis in his LAST CHANCE TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY is that the Republican Party has instituted measures to ensure that the Democrats can never occupy the White House again. According to him, Republican billionaires, politicians, and the right-wing media have been in a conspiracy to institute four measures to ensure that Republicans will always win elections without requiring a majority. These strategies are: (1) unlimited dark money; (2) gerrymandering; (3) voter suppression; and (4) diversionary propaganda.
Although he is a Democrat voter, McVarish argues that the Democratic Party lacks the will to fight these tactics, in part because Democratic politicians also benefit from the system and in part because they’re such well-intentioned people that they are not playing dirty like the Republicans. And, since his book is a polemic (as opposed to a work of political analysis), he doesn’t bother to explain how Democratic candidates don’t equally benefit from campaign finance loosening or why voters should be so easily brainwashed that more financing automatically translates into electoral victory.
McVarish’s claims about gerrymandering and voter suppression are graver but, throughout the book, he displays a carelessness about facts that would make the skeptical (or even centrist) reader question his assertions. For example, he echoes every standard Democratic talking point about President Donald Trump, including saying throughout the book that Russian interference determined Trump’s victory. Although he rejects socialist government, he supports all the standard left-wing policies of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, such as the Green New Deal. He even asserts that nine out of the ten wealthiest Americans inherited their wealth, whereas Forbes’ list shows that the majority of America’s richest individuals are self-made. He insists that America’s founding fathers wanted to create a democracy, when the Federalist Papers (particularly 10, 51, and 68) clearly demonstrate that their focus was limited government that would contain democracy’s dark side—mob rule.
However, McVarish admits early on that he has no intention of being either fair or balanced. And, going beyond polemics, he also provides a detailed plan to derail the Republican conspiracy to take over America. He offers readers strategies to counteract this conspiracy, ranging from changing the filibuster rules to altering the terms for Supreme Court judges to reforming the Electoral College, explaining why such measures will make America more democratic and hence keep Republicans out of the government. He even has five appendices that give tips on organizing, scripting, and meeting with Democratic members of Congress.
Haven Scott McVarish’s LAST CHANCE TO SAVE AMERICAN DEMOCRACY is a well-organized, detailed, powerfully and eloquently written polemic arguing for fundamental reforms of the United States government and will certainly appeal to many Democrats and most left-leaning Americans.
~Kevin Baldeosingh for IndieReader