Many Republicans no longer believe in democracy or even governance; they believe in QAnon, in Trumpism and in owning the libs. The new Ipsos poll indicates that most Republicans have lost touch with objective reality.
55% of Republicans believe Trump lost because of illegal voting or election rigging and that the election was "stolen"
35% of Republicans think that the people who took part in Trump's violent, failed 1/6 coup attempt were peaceful, law-abiding Americans and that it was actually led by violent left-wing protestors trying to make Trump look bad.
Republicans have their own version of reality,” said John Geer, an expert on public opinion at Vanderbilt University. “It is a huge problem. Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires evidence.
The refusal of Trump and prominent Republicans to repudiate the events of Jan. 6 increases the likelihood of a similar incident happening again, said Susan Corke, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
“That is the biggest danger-- normalizing this behavior,” Corke said. “I do think we are going to see more violence.”
...The disinformation campaign aimed at downplaying the insurrection and Trump’s role in it reflects a growing consensus within the Republican Party that its fortunes remain tethered to Trump and his devoted base, political observers say.
The crackpot QAnon theories and game playing and the GOP lurch towards media-hating and click-baity culture wars as its new identity, has driven a wedge between party and business. This morning, NBC News reported that "Republicans and corporate America are on the outs. In the past week alone, American Airlines and computer company Dell came out strongly against GOP-led bills that place restrictions on voting in their home base of Texas. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a rising star in Republican Party, continued to take heat for nixing a bill that would have imposed a ban on transgender athletes in sports, citing the potential impact on her state's bottom line. And conservatives spent days bashing vaccine passports some businesses think are needed to return to normal. And then there was Georgia, where the Republican-controlled state House narrowly voted to end a tax break worth millions that Delta enjoys on jet fuel after the airline's CEO-- along with the CEO of Coca-Cola, another major Atlanta-based business-- condemned new voting restrictions in the state. (The GOP-led state Senate did not take up the measure.) On Friday, Major League Baseball pulled this year's All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of that same law. Republicans were outraged. 'Boycott baseball and all of the woke companies that are interfering with Free and Fair Elections,' former President Donald Trump said in a statement. 'Are you listening Coke, Delta, and all!'"
Miami's former gay prostitute, now Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted "Why are we still listening to these woke corporate hypocrites on taxes, regulations & anti-trust?"
Such public dust-ups between businesses and members of the GOP are becoming more frequent, though the divide-- possibly one of the most consequential in U.S. politics and society-- is years in the making. The shift is the product of a Republican Party increasingly driven by "culture war" issues that animate a base invigorated by Trump and corporate powerhouses that are under more pressure than ever to align themselves with the left on voting rights, LGBTQ rights and anti-racist efforts.
The result is a fraying in relations between a GOP that has for years advocated for the kinds of libertarian economic policies that have widely benefited these businesses and companies that are using their might to help advance racial and social justice causes.
"We have long thought and still think of the big institutional drivers of this culture war as more in academia, the arts, the media, and corporate America has mostly sat it out until recently," retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) told NBC News in an interview. He added that while he does not think of corporate America "as the biggest player yet," companies coming off the sidelines "can change the dynamic."
This year has seen flashpoint after flashpoint. Weeks' worth of conservative outrage about the "cancellation" of Mr. Potato Head and Dr. Seuss were not about policies instituted by the government, but decisions made by toymaker Hasbro and the famed children's author's own company to address inclusion and racism, respectively. February's Conservative Political Action Conference-- long a bastion of economic libertarianism-- featured a panel decrying "The Awokening of Corporate America."
"Part of this is a development that has been going on for probably 10 or 15 years," David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth, said. "The old Reagan coalition-- which included the Chamber of Commerce representing big and small businesses-- since the tea party movement has really kind of been frayed."
The trend has intensified as the GOP absorbs more white working-class voters and as the Democratic Party is finding new success with well-to-do suburbanites.
These shifts were "exacerbated" under Trump, one Republican lobbyist said, with the party going "more towards this culture war stuff that amps up our voters and gets them really excited."
"Talking about corporate tax cuts and reducing burdensome regulations doesn't do it for our new voters," this person said. "I guess it's not that exciting. It might be exciting for those country club Republicans we lost, but we're losing them."
What it means for policy is less clear, however, even as some Republicans embrace some leftward policies like an increase in the minimum wage. Under Trump, Republicans implemented a tax cut that saw much of its benefits go toward some of these same corporations conservatives now decry for their social activism. Few Republicans are turning away from the traditional agenda of lower taxes and deregulation-- though some prominent Republicans like Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rubio have sought to position themselves as corporate antagonists.
Toomey said he's seen the "rise in economic populism among some Republicans," with the possibility of more "anti-corporate momentum" should corporations decide "to become part of the left-wing social movement."
The Pennsylvania Republican said that could lead to GOP legislators proposing restrictions on stock buybacks, raising taxes on dividends or even a more intense effort at breaking up large companies. Already, one of the right's biggest rallying cries is opposition to U.S. tech giants for de-platforming prominent conservatives, even as conservative content continues to dominate on platforms like Facebook.
...One of the biggest fractures in the relationship this year came in the aftermath of the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Many corporations announced they would no longer make donations to those in Congress who objected to the counting of certified results in certain states Biden won. Some said they would stop making political donations through corporate political action committees altogether.
That hasn't proven to be such a negative for Republicans so far. Hawley, for example, has seen his fundraising soar in the first quarter of this year as he finds himself on what amounts to a "do-not-fly list" for some corporate PACs.
Jim Banks (R-IN), who objected to the Electoral College count, said local news stories mentioning that he's been cut off from corporate donations have been among the "best" he's ever received in his home district.
"I couldn't pay for a better story," he said.
Some feel it's an inevitability companies will walk back those pledges. The Republican lobbyist said he was "100 percent" sure that would be the case.
"There's 435 members of Congress," this person said. "To write off 147 of them, that's a tough way to win an issue."
Judd Legum, a progressive journalist who has tracked the corporate donation habits following the pledges, said he's not so sure.
"The world is changing," he said. "There's more conscious consumers and consumers are more conscious about how they're spending their money."
Paul Washington, who runs the Environmental, Social and Governance Center of The Conference Board, which conducts research on behalf of its business members, said the "expectations now are just different for companies than they were in the past," and his group's members don't see the political and social trends they face reversing anytime soon.
Ultimately, McIntosh thinks corporate America will have "to really take a close look at what is in their self-interest."
"Are they better off being with a party that maybe speaks to their social agenda?" he said. "Or are they better off with a party that looks out for their economic interests?"
The Washington Post ran a piece by Daniel Drezner this morning, Are American conservatives facing an extinction-level event? He quoted an essay by Claremont conservative Glenn Ellmers, Conservatism Is No Longer Enough, where Ellmers, a fringy racist and xenophobe, bluntly asserts that "The United States has become two nations occupying the same country. When pressed, or in private, many would now agree. Fewer are willing to take the next step and accept that most people living in the United States today-- certainly more than half-- are not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term. I don’t just mean the millions of illegal immigrants. Obviously, those foreigners who have bypassed the regular process for entering our country, and probably will never assimilate to our language and culture, are-- politically as well as legally-- aliens. I’m really referring to the many native-born people-- some of whose families have been here since the Mayflower-- who may technically be citizens of the United States but are no longer (if they ever were) Americans. They do not believe in, live by, or even like the principles, traditions, and ideals that until recently defined America as a nation and as a people. It is not obvious what we should call these citizen-aliens, these non-American Americans; but they are something else. What about those who do consider themselves Americans? By and large, I am referring to the 75 million people who voted in the last election against the senile figurehead of a party that stands for mob violence, ruthless censorship, and racial grievances, not to mention bureaucratic despotism. Regardless of Trump’s obvious flaws, preferring his re-election was not a difficult choice for these voters. In fact-- leaving aside the Republican never-Trumpers and some squeamish centrists-- it was not a difficult choice for either side. Both Right and Left know where they stand today… and it is not together. Not anymore."
Drezner assked, "Have conservatives lost their grip on reality?" and writes that he thinks so, albeit reluctantly. He suggests his readers put themselves "in the position of a Claremont conservative. Right-wingers have lost influence over liberal, elite institutions. Heretofore, conservative institutions are becoming more hostile as well. The last remaining holdout might be religion, but that trendline is also discouraging for faith-based conservatives. Democrats will retain control of the House, Senate and executive branch until 2023 at the earliest. Compared with four years ago, populist conservatives exercise much less power and influence. The country seems to be turning against them. When Trump was inaugurated, liberals were able to get record numbers of Americans to peacefully protest. The right-wing effort to replicate this led to... the events of Jan. 6. Suddenly the idea of an extinction-level event begins to come into focus. Conservatives are not crazy to feel like they are facing some existential threats. They start to sound crazy in failing to recognize their own culpability in the situation they find themselves in."
He wrote-- and I wholeheartedly agree-- that Ellmers' essay is worth reading in full "to truly absorb how abysmal the state of argumentation is on the Trumpist right. On the one hand, he says that '[authentic Americans] want to work, worship, raise a family, and participate in public affairs without being treated as insolent upstarts in their own country. Therefore, we need a conception of a stable political regime that allows for the good life.' Which makes it even odder that earlier he says: 'Practically speaking, there is almost nothing left to conserve. What is actually required now is a recovery, or even a refounding, of America as it was long and originally understood but which now exists only in the hearts and minds of a minority of citizens.' In my experience, living the good life is difficult when trying to foment a revolution. Mostly, what Ellmers does is categorically reject any effort to attract or persuade anyone outside the purest of MAGA souls into his movement. In his essay, he rubbishes Biden voters, centrists and conservative elites. That is his prerogative, but as a political scientist, I am pretty sure that alienating all but the most pure of ideological heart is a surefire way to lose elections... And elected Republicans are not that far off from Ellmers’s messaging."