Conservatism Is Finally Getting The Bad Rap It's Long Deserved--The Deal They Made With Trump Is Why
The Biden Administration had Kamala Harris advocating for their agenda in 2 states this week-- West Virginia and Arizona, homes of two conservative Democrats who routinely oppose progressive initiatives, Joe Manchin and, worse, Kyrsten Sinema. She was on WSAZ in Charleston and went to speak with the Charleston Gazette editorial board and, virtually appeared for ABC 15 in Phoenix and the Arizona Republic editorial board. She told the Arizona Republic editors that "If we don't pass this bill, I'm going to be very candid with you: We know more people are going to die in our country. More people will lose their jobs and our children are going to miss more school. We've got to be here collectively to say that that is not an option in America. We've got to get relief to people as quickly as possible, and this bill will do that. As it relates to Congress, we have the plan and now we need the members of Congress to act." So take that, PsychoSinema!
The newest swing state, Georgia, had some polling by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the University of Georgia to digest over the weekend. Greg Bluestein reported that the state GOP is in bad shape with leading Democrats earning "significantly higher ratings than their GOP counterparts... [I]t offered a glimpse at political challenges ahead as state Republicans grapple with former President Donald Trump’s enduring grip on the party’s base as statewide elections, including a fresh U.S. Senate race, loom in 2022. Trump has threatened to back challenges to Gov. Brian Kemp and other onetime allies who refused his demand to overturn his election defeat, and the poll showed the former president still retains lofty support from fellow Republicans even as his overall standing erodes."
Probably the most shocking find is that most Georgians now-- for the first time-- think the Senate should vote to convict Trump! But, in general, Republicans are in bad shape.
On the cusp of a tough reelection battle, Kemp’s approval rating stands at just 42%-- and his disapproval is at 51%. More than one-third of Republicans-- 36%-- disapprove of his performance. That’s more than quadrupled from the 8% of Republicans who held a dim view of Kemp in the AJC’s January 2020 poll.
Trump’s standing is even worse. A solid majority of Georgians disapprove of the former president in the weeks since he left office, with 57% giving him an unfavorable rating, compared with just 40% who approved of his performance in the White House.
Though he continues to have strong support from his base, with 84% of Republicans backing him, it’s a marked decline from the last AJC poll. That survey, conducted in September, found that 48% of Georgians and 95% of Republicans gave him a positive review.
While Kemp and Trump are in decline, the poll shows Democrats on the upswing following the Jan. 5 votes that elected Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the U.S. Senate over Republican incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.
A slight majority of Georgians have a positive impression of Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who narrowly lost to Kemp in 2018 and is widely expected to mount a rematch. About 51% of Georgians see her in a favorable light, including 10% of Republicans, while 41% view her unfavorably.
Fresh from their upset victories, the state’s two new Democratic U.S. senators are on solid footing. About 50% of Georgians have a favorable view of Ossoff, compared with 40% unfavorable. And Warnock, facing a reelection bid next year, has a 54% approval rating, with 37% disapproving of him.
In other signs of troubling news for local Republicans, about half of Georgians have a positive view of the Democratic Party-- while only one-third have a favorable impression of the GOP.
And Biden, who narrowly carried Georgia, starts his first term in positive territory. About 52% of Georgians have a favorable impression of the Democrat, compared with 41% who have a negative view of him. Also, roughly 59% approve of how Biden handled his transition, including about one-fifth of Republicans.
The only Georgia Republican in relatively decent standing included in the AJC poll was Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who came under intense pressure from Trump to overturn the election results, including a demand to “find” enough votes to erase Biden’s victory.
About 47% of Georgians approve of the first-term Republican’s performance while about one-third of voters disapprove. A closer look at the figures, however, reveals the struggle he’ll face if he seeks reelection in 2022: About 45% of Republicans disapprove of him, while 60% of Democrats have a positive view.
...And 58% of Georgians say the Republican members of Congress who tried to stop the formal certification of Biden’s victory were “undermining” democracy, compared with one-third who see them as “protecting” the electoral system.
Six of Georgia’s eight GOP members of Congress-- Reps. Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Andrew Clyde, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody Hice and Barry Loudermilk-- backed the effort to invalidate roughly 5 million Georgia votes in Congress.
...About 76% of Georgians support the plan to send $1,400 checks to Americans-- on top of the $600 already authorized by Congress-- while only 20% oppose. The broad coalition of support includes 96% of liberals, 83% of moderates and 59% of conservatives.
And that polling was even before the blockbuster NY Times deep dive into the 77 days that Trump used to foment his failed coup. 7 journalists worked on a piece The Times published last night that is destined to be the definitive journalistic description of how Trump tried to overthrow the government-- at least until all the legal proceeding are done.
By Nov 12, Trump's lawyers told him there was no election fraud, that his teams' efforts to prove there was were becoming a laughing stock and that he had truly lost. White in-fighting ensued between the Trump dead-enders and anyone left with even a tenuous grasp on reality. But the legal effort quickly turned into "an extralegal campaign to subvert the election, rooted in a lie so convincing to some of his most devoted followers that it made the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol almost inevitable... [H]is lie of an election stolen by corrupt and evil forces lives on in a divided America... a lie that Trump had been grooming for years finally overwhelmed the Republican Party and, as brake after brake fell away, was propelled forward by new and more radical lawyers, political organizers, financiers and the surround-sound right-wing media." I encourage you to read the whole report, but let's skip ahead to January 6 as the mob's chants of "Take it back" and "Stop the steal" in front on the White House began to die down:
As the rally wound down in a cold drizzle, groups of young men wearing Kevlar vests and helmets began appearing toward the back of the plaza. Some carried bats and clubs, others knives. Some were Proud Boys, but more sported the insignia of the Three Percenters.
One of the men, with a line of stitches running through his ear, told a reporter: “We’re not backing down any more. This is our country.” Another, holding a bat, cut the conversation short. “We know what to do with people like you,” he said.
Mr. Trump took the stage at the Ellipse the next day shortly before 1 p.m., calling on the tens of thousands before him to carry his message to Republicans in the Capitol: “You’ll never take back our country with weakness.”
As he spoke, some protesters, with Proud Boys helping take the lead, were already breaching the outer security perimeter around the Capitol. Inside, when Mr. Gosar stood to raise the first objection, to results in his home state of Arizona, several Republican lawmakers gave him a standing ovation.
Less than an hour later, the lawmakers would flee to a secure location as the mob streamed into the building.
...The violence at the Capitol, and Congress’s eventual certification of Mr. Biden’s victory that day, may have spelled the end of Mr. Trump’s postelection campaign. The same cannot be said about the political staying power, the grip on the Republican faithful, of the lie he set in motion.
...In the Senate, Mr. McConnell, who lost his majority leader’s gavel with dual defeats in Georgia, initially indicated that he might vote against Mr. Trump in an impeachment trial. But amid rising fury in the Republican ranks, he ultimately voted with most of his colleagues in an unsuccessful attempt to cancel the trial altogether. With only five defectors, though, any thought of a conviction seemed dead on arrival.
In the House, moves were afoot to recruit primary challengers to the 10 Republicans who had voted for impeachment.
...“What we do now is we take note of the people who betrayed President Trump in Congress and we get them out of Congress,” he said. “We’re going to make the Tea Party look tiny in comparison.”