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MAGA Isn't Exactly The Same As Nazis And Trump Isn't Exactly The Same As Hitler-- But Close Enough

Jonathan Chait's Debilitating, Unhinged Hatred For Progressives

At a Nazi rally in Munich on February 24, 1929 Hitler first introduced the term “Weimar Republic”— a way of denigrating Germany’s post-WWI government. He kept repeating it and it took hold ion the 1930s. Right from the start, 1918, the government was beset by brutal challenges, including hyperinflation, the humiliating and hated Versailles Treaty and the rise of violent extremism, which included assassinations and attempted coups. Aside from the obvious Hitler-Trump comparisons, a similarity between Weimar Germany and the current state of the US is that political and social divisions within German society deepened drastically. There was a lack of consensus among political factions on how to address the challenges facing the country and the polarization contributed to a climate of distrust and hindered collaborative efforts to strengthen the democratic system and address the country’s mounting problems.

The political landscape saw the emergence of extremist groups, most notably the Nazis. These groups exploited economic hardships and dissatisfaction with the status quo by promising radical solutions to the nation’s problems. Generally, the political leaders of Weimar Germany underestimated the threat posed by the extremist movements, viewing them as temporary and controllable. The reluctance to take decisive action against the Nazis particularly allowed them to gain influence and eventually undermine the democratic foundations of the Republic. It’s why Hitler should have been eliminated in the early 1930s and why Trump should have been eliminated on January 7, 2021.

This morning, Jonathan Chait’s column dealt with one aspect of the Weimarization of American politics— how the political elites have become too tired to deal effectively with the current Nazi threat (MAGA). “The underlying basis for the belief— that Trump’s defeat mattered more than any other political question— has not changed,” he warned. “On the contrary, it has become only more obvious. The 2020 election took place before Trump tried to overturn the result, before he summoned a mob, before he started describing his opponents as ‘vermin.’ But the conviction behind the idea has dissipated… Despite countless op-eds and campaign ads warning of the threat that a second Trump term poses to the democratic order, the imperative to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has become tiresome. The signs of that exhaustion are everywhere in our politics today. It may be the most dominant attribute of our national mood.”

Tragic though it may be, there is nothing that unique or surprising about this development. Exhaustion is a natural by-product of anti-authoritarian politics.
Authoritarianism both creates and feeds upon passion. It summons hatred and promises a decisive clash to resolve the great struggle between good and evil. Trump says things to his supporters like “Together, we’re warriors in a righteous crusade to stop the arsonists, the atheists, globalists, and the Marxists— and that’s what they are— and we will restore our Republic as one nation under God with liberty and justice for all” and “This is the final battle. They know it, I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. This is it. Either they win or we win. And if they win, we no longer have a country.”
The opponents of authoritarianism may try to match this zeal, an effort you can see in the attempts liberals have made to alert the public to the dangers Trump represents. “There is a clear path to dictatorship in the United States, and it is getting shorter every day,” Robert Kagan warned in the Washington Post in November. “The country survived the first Trump term, though not without sustaining serious damage,” Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in his editor’s note for a special issue of The Atlantic devoted to Trump’s possible reelection. “A second term, if there is one, will be much worse.” But liberals can never promise victory will be final, nor that it will usher in a heaven on earth. In the face of a determined authoritarian movement, loyal democrats can only appeal to maintaining the system with all its flaws. And if they do hang on, they will come back and ask their supporters to hang on again and again.
…The only way to stop an authoritarian-minded candidate from winning is for a coalition of anti-authoritarian voters to unify behind another presidential candidate.
That coalition very conspicuously failed to materialize in 2016 for a variety of reasons. Most people assumed Hillary Clinton would win and marinated in their grievances against her or the Democratic Party. Marginal votes drifted off to protest candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. In 2020, the dynamic changed. The central issue on the public’s mind was Trump, and Biden managed to assemble a majority against him, ranging all the way from Bernie Sanders supporters to disillusioned Republicans in the Atlanta suburbs.
At the moment, the state of the anti-Trump coalition looks far more grim than it did in 2020 or even 2016. Biden has an anemic approval rating, far worse than Trump, Barack Obama, or any other incumbent at this stage. One hopeful theory of the case has held that Biden is merely enduring a time lag and that public opinion would catch up as the pandemic and the economic and social dislocations it created during his first three years in office fade from memory.
Instead, his polling has grown even more dismal. By November, Biden’s approval rating fell below 40 percent with some polls showing it in the low 30s. We continue to assume every new all-time-low mark represents the bottom. But the floor keeps sinking.
The closer you look at this state of affairs, the harder it becomes to explain using normal terms of reference. The main reason political analysts have given for Biden’s abysmal public standing, besides his age, has been inflation. The administration had assumed that people would judge it by employment and wage levels and so passed a massive economic stimulus, only to discover surging inflation ate up all the rising wages. Higher prices are why people don’t care that unemployment is at ultralow levels, wages and productivity are increasing, inequality is falling, or the stock market is up.
But as the post-COVID inflation surge— the supposed cause of his unpopularity— has ended, the strange thing is that Biden’s approval rating hasn’t improved. There are other signs that public dismay is untethered from any material basis. Even as people continue to tell pollsters they consider the economy to be poor, they spend money like it’s a boom. Young voters, whose disaffection constitutes one of Biden’s most serious liabilities, overwhelmingly (70 percent to 28 percent) believe the economy is bad but admit by also very wide margins (65 percent to 33 percent) that their personal economic situation is good.
…Material factors go only so far in explaining the national mood. There seems to be a deeper unease at work. Assembling the coalition to defeat Trump required many different factions to set aside their priorities for the sake of staving off a crisis. Holding together that coalition required maintaining a level of focus and willpower that has simply given out.

As you would probably guess if you’re familiar with Chait, he then goes on to blame progressives. Divorced from reality, it’s who Chait is— as he castigates the left for “casting every issue in absolute moral terms [that] makes compromise difficult. Chait, of course, would like to see Biden get away with helping Israel wipe Palestine off the face of the map by waving MAGA banners in protesters’ faces. He seems to be worried that the anti-genocide progressives won’t ultimately reject Trump in November. And then Chait’s center right-corporate-Zionist dream, who still imagines it can somehow be Republicans who will save the Republic:

It would be possible, even logical, to imagine that the schism on the left would create an opening for Biden on the center right. Here is a Democratic president defying the demands of the progressive left by supporting Israel’s right to self-defense and denouncing antisemitism in all forms, including the left-wing variety. One might assume this would bring Biden sympathy and support among mainstream Republicans, especially given their own grim alternative.
…[T]he Trump-skeptical conservative intelligentsia has seized gleefully upon the anti-Biden energy on the left. Citing an NBC poll that showed 70 percent of Democratic voters ages 18 to 34 disapproving of Biden’s handling of the war, conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt wrote, “This is a generational shift, and a dire one for Israel.” You might think Israel supporters would be alarmed at the revolt against the president and have some concerns that it might succeed in upending the Democratic Party’s foreign-policy commitments. But rather than conclude that Biden’s defeat would be catastrophic for supporters of Israel, Hewitt’s column proceeded to argue that the left’s opposition to Biden’s Israel policy makes it all the more important to defeat Biden.
Hewitt may be a committed partisan, but the same spirit has infused neoconservatives who had previously maintained the most distance from Trump of all the right’s factions. Bari Weiss’s the Free Press has written sympathetically about liberal Jews feeling “politically homeless” after 10/7— as if their position were not receiving support from nearly the entire elected Democratic Party, including the president. Similar positions can be found at Commentary and among the Jews who are now getting their news from Fox, a trend the Times detected in November. Conservatives are so committed to making their war against the activist left the lodestar of their worldview that they cannot bring themselves to support any Democrat, even one their enemies are protesting.
And so, watching the far left set out to defeat Biden over his Israel support, conservatives have perversely decided to work toward the same outcome. As bizarre as it may be, disaffection with the Democratic Party’s support for Israel is simultaneously driving the most pro-Israel Republicans and the most anti-Israel Democrats into the arms of Trump.
For both of these factions, Trump is doing nothing to actively win their support. He is merely a passive instrument to demonstrate their anger with other components of the anti-Trump coalition. If you probe beneath the surface of that dynamic, it reveals a deeper malady: the collapse of the idea that Trump represents an unusual and dangerous figure. That premise played a decisive role in 2020 by allowing Biden to win voters who had not traditionally backed the party. Many of those tell pollsters they are planning to revert to their traditional Republican leanings this year. The qualities that made Trump uniquely unacceptable have, for the moment, receded in their minds.
In a political world in which Trump’s contempt for democratic norms and desire to use the presidency as a tool of revenge against the media and his political rivals were seen as the most important stakes of the election— that is, a rational world, in my estimation— the concerns people have with Biden would seem comparatively trivial. Maybe you think he’s too old or too pro-Israel, or you really want to use your vote to express your hatred for the campus left, but that could hardly justify empowering a monster, right?
This is not the world in which we reside. In the U.S. at the outset of 2024, democracy and authoritarianism are, as a pure question of political advantage, essentially a draw. A recent survey by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg found Biden held a mere one-point advantage on “protecting democracy” and was tied on “making democracy more secure.” On “opposing extremism,” “getting beyond the chaos,” and “protecting the Constitution,” Trump held leads ranging from three to eight points.
It is not just the general public, with its teeming masses of low-information voters, that feels this way. Large segments of the political elite do too.
…Among what used to be the anti-Trump right, it has become a settled fact that those who warned about Trump’s authoritarian ambitions have been proved wrong. The Journal famously published a column by Mick Mulvaney in November 2020 headlined “If He Loses, Trump Will Concede Gracefully.” Rather than be chastened by the extremely predictable failure of that prediction, it continues to invoke Trump’s first term as if this were actually correct. A recent Journal editorial sneered that Chris Christie’s “warnings that Trump is a threat to the republic won’t persuade GOP voters who remember Democrats saying the same in 2016.”
The Journal editorial page was obviously never going to support a Democratic presidential candidate. But the Republican elite’s attitude toward Trump filters into the political bloodstream. The reason a small but crucial sliver of voters in places like Phoenix and Atlanta abandoned its Republican voting habits to reluctantly cast a ballot for Biden is that it had absorbed the idea that traditional Republicans couldn’t abide Trump.
The collapse of the Republican primary into a Trump coronation, with Trump’s main opponents all pledging to back him in November and seemingly leaving the door wide open to serve as his running mate, likewise confirms the expiration of any serious reservations within the party over his fitness to serve. Where the notion that Trump is a bad person who shouldn’t be president was once declared boldly by the party’s leaders, it is now muttered by its oddballs. The once-revoked permission structure to support him has quietly returned.
…Three years ago, Biden promised a return to something like political normalcy. As president, he would try to represent all Americans, not just those who voted for him; he would deliver speeches with coherent sentences rather than ranting off the cuff for hours; he would not routinely be described by his own appointees as deranged or slaver publicly over dictators who had flattered him or paid him through his business.
That promise worked. The lesson of the 2020 election and the 2022 midterm was “Normal beats crazy.” The Trumpiest candidates who seemed to be trying to replicate Trump’s unnerving style— Kari Lake, Doug Mastriano, Herschel Walker— lost a series of elections. The pattern appeared to reveal something comforting and sustainable about the character of the electorate.
And whatever his shortcomings, Biden has delivered normalcy. He has visited heavily Republican areas and both promised and delivered aid without extortive demands, supported American allies against attacks by American enemies, and produced the soft landing economists had deemed unlikely a year ago.
But now the political passion is all on the side of extremism. Normalcy feels spent, enervating, and this has encouraged former members of the anti-Trump coalition to gravitate toward other concerns that animate them. An important number of Americans who once found Trump intolerable have either forgotten how awful he is or have some strange craving for his return.
Biden is often described as lacking energy. But it is not the president who is exhausted; it is us.

It might be worth noting that on Tuesday, Democrats in central Florida captured a Republican state legislative seat. Democrat Tom Keen beat Republican Erika Booth by about 2 points. Energy wasn’t lacking, Neither was unity. Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried: “Florida Democrats rallied behind Tom Keen. We saw unprecedented enthusiasm and investment in this special election from all corners of the state, as well as many of our national partners. We proved that Florida is still worth fighting for and that a well-organized, well-funded Democratic campaign can still win a swing seat in this state.”

"Dictator Just For One Day" by Nancy Ohanian

"Heroes" just for one day by Blonde

"Heroes" just for one day by Prince

"Heroes" just for one day by Depeche Mode

6 則留言

'In the U.S. at the outset of 2024, democracy and authoritarianism are, as a pure question of political advantage, essentially a draw. A recent survey by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg found Biden held a mere one-point advantage on “protecting democracy” and was tied on “making democracy more secure.”' What does "protecting democracy mean?" To a lot of Republicans it means ensuring that only "the right people" vote. Their fig leaf is the notion that a bunch of illegal immigrants on welfare are voting in large numbers and ruining the democratic process. In fact illegal immigrant are scared to death of being arrested and deported, so they're not willing to risk that for the opportunity to vote. And even if they wer…


Regan wasn't a Nazi. Gingrich wasn't a Nazi. Tom Delay Wasn't a Nazi. They may have been to some degree racist, their policies may have hurt the country more than helped, and they may have convinced themselves that Republican rule was good for the country so the ends justified the means, but that didn't make them Nazis. To imply that all Republicans since 1971 have been Nazis is to belittle the term. 'So I ask why VOTERS have refused to "build fortifications, and stockpile ammunition, codify the norms or repair the institutions... or fix anything"' You can't vote for what is not on the ballot. And this is the kind of thing you really need a team of policy wonks …



I'm sure glad you gave the chait caveat. he's a dedicated nazi. he just doesn't like trump. if it was meathead, he'd be all in for the reich.

that said, exhaustion isn't the problem. it's stupidity. democrap voters aren't too exhausted to do anything useful. they've NEVER done anything useful. Not since the mid '60s. they keep electing democraps... who keep never doing whatever they were elected to do.

“The country survived the first Trump term, though not without sustaining serious damage,”

A clear and obvious, as in DUH!!! truth.

But then what did americans do? Nuthin. Not one fucking thing. Well, for 2 years or so. When the election was in sight, they finally at least puked …


God help us


there is no god. so... what else ya got?

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