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We're All Feeling Negative About Politics And As Though Everything's Falling Apart

That's Fertile Ground For Fascism

Murdoch and Trump are through with each other. Trump sees the writing on the wall and on Monday he tore into Fox and Friends on that fake twitter thing of his: “@foxandfriends just really botched my poll numbers, no doubt on purpose. That show has been terrible— gone to the ‘dark side.’ They quickly quote the big Turning Point Poll victory of almost 60 points over the number two Republican, and then hammer me with outliers.” He also accused Fox News board member Paul Ryan of possibly “running the place,” referring to him as “one of the weakest and worst Speakers EVER.”

As we saw a few days ago, both of Murdock’s NYC newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, former Trump allies, shredded him on Friday as unfit to be president. Jack Shafer, reporting for Politico, wrote that “Although Murdoch’s breakup dazed some members of the commentariat, it shouldn’t have. Murdoch has no friends. He has no loyalties. He has no principles. And never has. His support of politicians has always been transactional and extractive. Now entering the final days of his political career, Trump is expendable, making the Post’s and Journal’s twin discoveries in the same moment of Trump’s crimes against the Constitution a convenient cover story for the orange man. Murdoch has always been a political cad, swooning and then dumping his political partners when a better-looking one comes along. Murdoch’s next fling looks to be Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, whom Fox News has slathered with positive attention in recent months.” Yesterday, Fox didn't broadcast any of Trump's speech at a right-wing gathering in DC, TRump's not so triumphal return to Washington.

Shafer concluded that “Although it looks great in headlines, the Murdoch-Trump divorce isn’t the seismic event that some pretend it is. The two masters of demagoguery have had their differences over the years. In 2015, Murdoch was calling Trump a “phony” to his friends and a “fucking idiot,” according to Michael Wolff’s 2018 book Fire and Fury. These insults did not prevent Trump from using Murdoch or Murdoch from using Trump. If Trump runs for president in 2024 and buries the field, there will be plenty of time for Murdoch to do what he traditionally does: Place his bet on the leading pony. Like a pair of powerful gangsters who quarrel over how to divide the spoils, Murdoch and Trump will reconcile if they determine it’s in their mutual interests to reconcile.”

All this bickering around Trump has started costing the GOP as small dollar donations have started to dry up— just when they should be picking up. Shane Goldmacher yesterday: “Online fund-raising has slowed across much of the Republican Party in recent months, an unusual pullback of small donors that has set off a mad rush among Republican political operatives to understand why— and reverse the sudden decline before it damages the party’s chances this fall. Small-dollar donations typically increase as an election nears. But just the opposite has happened in recent months across a wide range of Republican entities, including every major party committee and Trump’s political operation. The total amount donated online fell by more than 12 percent across all federal Republican campaigns and committees in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. More alarming for Republicans: Democratic contributions surged at the same time. Total federal donations on ActBlue, the Democratic counterpart, jumped by more than 21 percent.”

Exacerbating the fund-raising problems for Republicans is that Trump continues to be the party’s dominant fund-raiser and yet virtually none of the tens of millions of dollars he has raised has gone toward defeating Democrats. Instead, the money has funded his political team and retribution agenda against Republicans who have crossed him.
…Working in the party’s favor is that Wall Street billionaires and other industry titans have cut seven- and eight-figure checks to Republican super PACs, offsetting some of the party’s small-dollar struggles, which some attributed to inflation and others to deceptive tactics that are turning off supporters over time.
…[T]he dip in online donations less than four months before Election Day— not just compared with Democrats but compared with the previous quarter— still has sent shock waves of anxiety across the Republican circles.

A recent survey from the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago, probed polarization and its relationship to the news sources upon which Americans rely in a fractionated media environment. The pollsters noted that “more than one in four Americans are so alienated from their government that they believe it may ‘soon be necessary to take up arms’ against it.” And, they wrote, that “was just one of several reflections of the dangerous level of estrangement many Americans feel from each other and our democratic institutions.”

All of the top findings are pretty awful, although not for America's rivals and enemies:

● A majority of Americans agree that the government is “corrupt and rigged against me,” including 73 percent of voters who describe themselves as a “strong Republican,” 71 percent who called themselves “very conservative” and 68 percent of rural voters. A bare majority (51 percent) of voters who call themselves “very liberal” also agreed. Overall, two-thirds of Republican and Independent voters agree that the government is “corrupt and rigged” against them, while Democrats are evenly split.

● With the debate raging about the integrity of our elections, a majority (56 percent) say they “generally trust elections to be conducted fairly and counted accurately.” But that view is deeply divergent by party. Four in five Democrats (78 percent) say they generally trust our elections to be fair and accurate. Half (51 percent) of Independent voters but just 33 percent of Republicans agree. Among those who reported voting for Donald Trump in 2020, the number who say they generally trust elections is 31 percent.

● Nearly half of Americans (49 percent) agreed that they “more and more feel like a stranger in my own country,” with 69 percent of strong Republicans and 65 percent who call themselves “very conservative” leading the way. Fully 38 percent of strong Democrats agreed.

● And 28 percent of voters, including 37 percent who have guns in their homes, agree that “it may be necessary at some point soon for citizens to take up arms against the government.” That view is held by one in three Republicans, including 45 percent of self-identified strong Republicans. Roughly one in three (35 percent) Independent voters and one in five Democrats agreed.

Perhaps most disturbing— something we’ve been looking at all week at this blog— is that “About three-quarters (73 percent) of voters who identify themselves as Republican agree that ‘Democrats are generally bullies who want to impose their political beliefs on those who disagree.’ An almost identical percentage of Democrats (74 percent) express that view of Republicans. A similarly lopsided majority of each party holds that members of the other are ‘generally untruthful and are pushing disinformation.’”

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