Writing for the New Republic today, Señor Trumpanzee's neice, Mary Trump, bashed the fat orange criminal but good: Donald's Plot Against America. She wrote that "After four years of Donald’s incessant attacks and ineptitude, we were already exhausted. Joe Biden’s victory was supposed to have offered us some reprieve, but having given Donald room to promote his Big Lie, elected Republicans had now granted him the opportunity to incite an insurrection. So there would be no respite from the madness, from Donald’s particular blend of mendacity, cruelty, and destructiveness." She named Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Mo Brooks and Paul Gosar as Trump's partners in crime.
On November 7, after Joe Biden was declared the winner, Donald began peddling the Big Lie-- massive voter fraud and cheating by Democrats had turned Donald’s landslide victory into a loss. The phrase “the Big Lie,” coined by Adolf Hitler, describes the technique of saying something so outrageously false that people will believe it simply because they think nobody would have the audacity to lie so brazenly. This has been a specialty of Donald’s since, as a teenager, he had to convince his father everything he did was always the biggest, the greatest, and the best. Back then, his lies protected him from his father’s wrath. The Big Lie about the election protected him from having to face the deep narcissistic wound he’d suffered after losing to Biden. In addition, it kept his base riled up-- keeping them afraid of what a Biden administration planned to take away from them (or force upon them) and enraged by what he claimed had been stolen from them.
In Donald’s January 6 video, the Second Big Lie was born. By telling them that they are loved and special, he transformed the violent anti-American mob into patriots who had merely been trying to save their country from the Democratic Party’s treasonous attempt to steal the election from him-- and therefore from them. We’ve seen how this has become a strategy for almost every single Republican politician as well. Despite the testimony given by D.C. police officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, and Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell in front of the House select committee on July 27, which was impossible for any empathetic human being to watch without feeling a visceral rage and profound sadness, this will continue to be the Republican strategy. They know that if midterm voters still remember the truth about January 6, they’re in trouble. The insurrection of January 6 should have been a wake-up call. It looks, instead, to have been a dress rehearsal.
...As a politician, Donald has benefited greatly from his rabid base of supporters. He embodies their fear and gives expression to their grievance. He doesn’t just give them permission to indulge in their white supremacy; he champions it. He makes them feel good about their prejudices. Following him by denying the virus or claiming immunity from it is another way for them to feel superior. It’s bizarre, because in the process they are putting themselves and those they love at risk, but it is similar to the function lynching has historically served for white people. Lynchings are not only about showing the power of the aggressor but also about demonstrating the other person’s weakness and total subservience. That makes sense in the context of what white supremacists and white supremacy were trying to accomplish, because, in an incurably racist society, the power so clearly belonged to the one race, and the vulnerabilities so clearly belonged to the other. The response to Covid-- the denialism and disdain for science-- functions the same way, but in this case, whether they acknowledge the reality and the risk or not, the denialists are victims, too. These are devout (for lack of a better word) Republicans. If the people they’ve voted for, at every level of government, equate mask-wearing with being liberal or claim that worrying about catching a deadly virus somehow makes you weak, you will follow their lead. Donald took it a step further. In order to demonstrate their allegiance and support, it was no longer enough for them to attend a rally. They had to do so in the middle of a deadly pandemic without social distancing or wearing a mask
...[E]lected Republicans, Donald’s chief enablers, see Donald as a means of perpetuating their own power. But they aren’t just putting up with the worst of him simply because they see him as a means to an end. He is them. They value his mendacity and his name-calling and his autocracy because these work for them as well.
Republicans counter truth with absurdity, rendering the truth inoperable. Now a party of fascists, they call Democrats socialist communist Marxists, which is effective in part because it is so nonsensical and in part because they are never asked to define the terms. They cover up their massive (and successful) efforts at voter suppression with wild claims of widespread voter fraud, which essentially doesn’t exist-- 31 incidents in over a billion votes cast, a number so vanishingly small as to have no meaning.
...Elected Republicans have become Donald’s greatest enablers since his father, Fred. For all of their professed reluctance and half-hearted attempts to keep Donald at arm’s length, almost every single elected Republican at every level of government, either tacitly or enthusiastically, very quickly came to support his breaches-- against decency, the rule of law, and the Constitution. Kevin McCarthy went from being one of Donald’s critics in the immediate aftermath of January 6 to pretending that creating a commission to find out what happened on that day was somehow a partisan witch hunt. Elise Stefanik intuited that going all in with Donald would be her best chance for advancement. The number three Republican in Congress, Liz Cheney, had the audacity to stand up against the Big Lie, for which she was removed from her leadership position and replaced by Stefanik.
...The Republicans haven’t lost their way. They have, instead, found it. And it has led them straight toward unabashed white supremacy and fascism. This is nothing new. We saw what happened after the Civil War. The traitors of the Confederacy were given a pass by the North, and the promise to grant freedmen and women their 40 acres was largely reneged in the interest of reestablishing “national unity.” Because of the enormity of the North’s postbellum failures and the terrorist tactics employed by the re-empowered Southern Redeemers-- those believers in the Lost Cause, who are the direct ancestors of those who sullied the Capitol Rotunda with their Confederate flags-- the Black vote in the South was all but eliminated. The large majority of the electorate of the Southern slave states remained racist and reactionary, allowing the South to continue as a closed, fascist state for another century.
Only the Democrats and the media can save democracy from fascism. But the Democrats are split between the activists who understand the stakes, and the institutionalists who keep following a rule book the Republicans lit on fire a long time ago. On the one side, the progressives and pragmatists, senators like Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, and Amy Klobuchar, seem to understand the urgency of the problem-- American democracy can’t survive if we fail to realize that the United States Senate is currently operating under the tyranny of the minority. On the other side, institutionalists like Joe Manchin and Dianne Feinstein cling to the idea that maintaining long-standing mechanisms like the filibuster, which is not in the Constitution and impedes the Senate’s ability to act democratically, is more important than enacting legislation that would, on the one hand, help the American people in substantive ways while bolstering Biden’s presidency and, on the other, prevent the Republican Party from turning this country into an apartheid state. It remains to be seen whether President Biden himself, who understands the workings of the body in which he served for almost 40 years, will be able to transcend his own institutionalist leanings. His July 13 speech on voting rights was a powerful repudiation of Republican voter suppression-- but he didn’t mention the filibuster once.
Every undemocratic facet of our system-- from the filibuster to the Electoral College to voter suppression to failing to make the District of Columbia a state-- favors Republicans. They have no incentive to change anything. Tens of millions of voters may be effectively disenfranchised by their legislation and faux-audits, but their voters are not. The endgame is to make it impossible for people who would vote against them to vote at all. In a country of changing demographics and increasing openness to diversity, at a time when elected Republicans are on the wrong side of almost every issue-- gun safety, taxes, voting rights-- they know the only way for them to cling to power is to cheat, and if there is one skill the de facto leader of their party has, it’s his ability to cheat his way out of-- or into-- just about anything.
...Democrats must stop squandering their advantage as they waste time waiting for Republicans to feel shame. They have none. Over the four years Donald was in the Oval Office, there were any number of opportunities for Republicans to break with a man who, at every turn, undermined everything they claimed to have stood for-- law and order, the military, moral conservatism, fiscal responsibility, and small government. And yet they never did.
Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent went right to the heart of the ominous matter Ms. Trump brought up The GOP Strategy For Retaking Power Is About To Take An Ugly New Turn. He wrote that "It is a brutal reality about this political moment that Republicans can capture the House while dwelling almost exclusively in the safe confines of their alternate information environment. In this hermetically sealed-off place, Republicans can continue deifying former president Donald Trump even as evidence mounts of his naked plot to steal the last election. They can oppose an accounting into the worst outbreak of political violence in recent U.S. history despite their deep implication in it. They can dismiss broadly popular economic policies as 'socialism' while withdrawing from the conversation entirely about how they would address our deepest challenges. They can actively campaign against mask mandates despite their overwhelming public support, while boasting straight-facedly that this is good strategy .
A key reason for this state of affairs will become clearer on Thursday, when the gerrymandering wars kick off in earnest. The release of new census data will set off a scramble of state legislatures redrawing congressional and state legislative district lines, setting the political playing field for 2022. It has been widely established that Republicans can recapture the House on the strength of extreme gerrymanders alone. They need to net five seats, and those could be added based solely on redrawn district lines."
Sargent tells it straight "[Ultimately, all this isn’t just about partisan advantage. It’s also about the counter-majoritarian fate that Democrats will consign the country to if they refuse to end the filibuster to pass their package of democracy protections, including an end to extreme gerrymanders via independent redistricting commissions. It may be too late for such protections to matter. But as Ari Berman details, that package contains provisions that could create new ways to challenge extreme maps-- despite the Supreme Court’s rulings-- and Democrats must reach for all tools available."
Ryan Grim and Sara Sirota wrote at The Intercept yesterday that Manchin won the battle... for the Republicans, with a watered-down voting rights bill. And "once the idea that 10 Republicans might support S. 1 fails-- as it is all-but guaranteed to do-- Manchin will have to choose what he values more: voting rights or the silent filibuster."