One of the questions I’ve seen discussed on liberal blogs lately (links here) is how much of Trump’s appeal is his bigotry and misogyny, how much is Trump himself. The question shapes the future of the Republican Party: if Trump’s success is partly from his ability to perform and inspire at rallies, sober, serious Republicans who are equally extreme and authoritarian won’t inspire the same fervor (some discussion here). If not …
But either way, it’s pretty clear the Republican Party is totally wrong for America. Biden won. He won legitimately despite Republican vote suppression and the hysterical rants about how Democrats will shut down all the churches, destroy the suburbs and drink adenochrone from American children. And Republicans are attempting a coup. It looks like it will fail, but most of the party supports Trump’s efforts. Some of those displaying integrity would probably have changed their tune if it was close enough that cries of fraud were a little more believable (see here for more. Also here). Presumably they’ll do it again. Which means Democrats for the rest of my life will not only have to win, they’ll have to win by cheat-proof margins. And even then, we may have Republican loyalists like the GSA’s Emily Murphy refusing to allow a transition. It’s like McConnell’s declaration his top goal starting in 2008 was to make Obama a one-term president; running the government is less important than crushing Democrats (and democracy).
And we have right-wing news pushing to defend Trump — sure, he’s given us no proof yet, but any minute he might come up with the evidence Dems are as dirty as Real Americans always suspected. Or right-wing arguments that really, Dems are just as bad. What Murphy’s doing is no worse than Whoopi Goldberg telling Republicans to get over it, am I right? No, you’re not (and at the Murphy link, Howard Kurtz does make that argument).
Part of the problem is that the Republican agenda — anti-gay, misogynist, pro-the 1 percent, anti any regulation at all — is unpopular with most of America. Democracy works against them unless they change, and they’ve made it quite obvious they’re not going to change. Plus a lot of them are true believers. Many of them buy into the same the same right-wing “news” that Trump does. In the words of I.F. Stone, governments are in trouble when they start smoking the hashish they’re selling to the public.
No More Mr. Nice Blog says part of the Republican advantage is that they and their media allies have been screeching for decades about how eeevil liberals are. Dems aren’t doing the same back. So Democrats committing fraud or working against America seem more reasonable to a lot of people — certainly to people in the media — than the idea that Republicans are a threat to America. Looking at how even lying right-wing shits like Newt Gingrich rarely pay a consequence for their conduct, the blog wonders if we don’t need to get just as dirty as they do.
I sincerely hope not. We definitely need to play hardball — we should be out there reminding everyone that Republicans have rejected democracy, racial equality, gay rights, etc. — but turning outselves into Republican clones won’t work out well. I also think there’d be much more blow back than Republicans get. For a variety of reasons, Dems are typed as the nice ones: Republicans fighting for the right to discriminate against gays doesn’t generate the kind of shock that stories about Democrats refusing to date Republicans do. Being vicious and bigoted is part of their brand; we’re expected to be tolerant and fair.
Keeping Republican treachery in the public eye might help change that. Maybe. We should also challenge the Republican myth they’re the party of military duty and military leadership. Newt Gingrich, who never served, once mocked Sen. George McGovern, a fighter pilot, as a war wimp; Bush II, who dodged the draft and blew off his National Guard service, painted decorated veteran John Kerry as a shirker who faked his war wounds. Mitt Romney, who never served, once mocked Jimmy Carter (“Even Carter could have given the kill order,” dismissing Obama ordering bin Laden’s death), who did. Can we change that narrative? Maybe. Not for hardcore Repubicans (I’m pretty sure the veterans who told me they couldn’t tolerate Bill Clinton’s draft dodging voted happily for W and Trump), but perhaps for others?
Then there’s religion. Lots of Democrats have faith; Biden’s a lifelong Catholic, Obama and the Clinton’s are churchgoers. Nevertheless, Republicans still represent themselves as the God Party. Part of that, as blogger Fred Clark once said, is that people tend to equate meanness with faith: zealots who oppose interracial marriage or women’s right to vote are seen as more devout than people who are open to equality and gay marriage. Believers who let children die rather than give them medical treatment (it’s in God’s hands!) are more devout, by this thinking, than people whose faith inspires them to run a soup kitchen or a free clinic.
How do we push back? There you got me. I can blog about it, but I’m sure that’s not going to turn the tide (I am thinking of ways I can do more. No ideas yet). But it needs to be done. As does the kind of on-the-ground door-to-door organizing and energizing Ihlan Omar does.
Republicans are the enemy of America. As for the Republican voters … but that’s for next Monday’s post.