This morning, I read about the Republicans planning to use “education” as the platform from which to reclaim white suburban voters and thus retake Congress. “Republicans say their message is resonating among parents, whose frustrations have boiled up during the coronavirus pandemic, and now include the quality of classwork, mask mandates, and transgender rights,” according to Bloomberg. It worked in Virginia. The Republicans think it can work around the country.- John Stoehr, 'The Midterms Will Be Decided By Swing Voters Rewarding The GOP For Trying To Kill Them', Alternet
"When they keep telling you who they really are, believe them. Unfortunately, too many Americans are still in a state of denial, five years or more after Donald Trump and the Republican fascists dropped the mask and revealed their true intentions." - Chauncey Devegam Salon, Oct. 26
The news of Biden holding a "Democracy Summit" starting today (2 days), e.g.
Is wonderful, but like the COP26 confab it's all hot air, a lot of words e.g. Biden pledged the U.S. "would lead by example and protect the sacred right of every person to make their voice heard.".
But the pledge to "protect Democracy" rings somewhat hollow so long as the reality is missing and the country's own voters remain asleep in self-induced delirium and denial. Or as a recent FT piece by Edward Luce put it: "U.S. public opinion is too fickle and prone to emotional swings to be a viable force for democracy....Biden also lacks the votes to enact protections for democracy."
Sadly all too true.
Case in point, the headline on the front page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal :
Voters Signal Peril for Democrats
Voters are heading into the midterm election year in a sour mood, pessimistic about the economy and short on confidence in the leadership of President Biden and his party on the issues that concern them most, a new Wall Street Journal poll finds.
And most ominously of all:
A challenge for Mr. Biden and his party is that voters said they believe Republicans have the better economic policy, 43% to 34%, and the GOP is viewed as better able to control inflation, secure the border, fix the immigration system and reduce crime.
The economic policy result is totally mind blowing, as if the respondents had no clue that the economy is inextricably tied to the epidemiology of the virus. Stop the virus spread- by getting vaccinated- and the economy can rebound. It is not Biden's fault that a third of the country still isn't fully vaccinated (including boosters), but the respondents seem not to know that! Even more mind boggling is how any sentient person could trust a bunch that routinely brings us to the financial precipice with its debt ceiling brinksmanship, e.g.
Worse, the relentless attacks and lies of the Repuke Trolls (including the FOX News liars like Tucker Carlson) appears to be working as well as the "both sides" crap spewed by the mainstream media, as we read:
Both parties have equally tarnished reputations, with 43% viewing each one favorably and about half of voters having an unfavorable view.
This, my friends, is flat out insane. To have half the nation giving equal credence to a cult - not a party- that refuses to believe (by a wide majority) the last general election was won fairly and also supported an insurrection. I already posted about the dangers of voter malaise, depression and yes, "sourness" earlier, e.g.Brane Space: American Voters Submerged In Malaise & Depression - Does This Portend A Repeat Of Germany's Fall To The Fascists In 1933? (brane-space.blogspot.com)
leading to the situation of potentially replicating the "good Germans" horrific decision in putting the Nazis into power as a reaction to economic difficulties and violence in the cities. Let me pause here to dispel a recurrent American historical myth: That the Germans either already were Nazis or loved them so much they voted them into power. Not so! That description applied to maybe 5 percent at most, according to author Ian Kershaw ('Hitler Hubris') as well as Kurt - who had been a former Hitler Youth - impressed into service under threat of rape to his mother.
No, 95 percent of the Germans through the several elections from 1932 through 1933 were basically people who had just had enough. Had enough of the violence on the streets of German cities, had enough of the division, monstrous inflation and unemployment. They wanted change - ANY change- from what they had, and the Nazis were the new guys on the block. Besides, Hitler vowed to clean up the cities of riff raff and criminals - what's not to like? Well, that most of those "riff raff" and "criminals" would be Jews, Gypsies, and real socialists - not Hitler's mock socialists with the fraudulent name. From what I saw of Kurt's archival films in Frankfurt in August, 1978 - about 6 1/2 hours worth - I am seeing the same restlessness, pessimism and yen for change repeating now with too many U.S. voters.
As we saw with stealth Trumper Glenn Youngkin's Virginia governorship win, it's very easy to fool low information (and likely lower IQ) swing voters. Just toss them some raw culture war 'meat' (e.g. critical race theory, masking etc.) to get them all worked up and watch the fur fly. They will quickly disengage their brains - what they have- and go into pure reactive mode, ready to toss any current 'bums' out and put someone new in, anyone- even a closet Trumper.
Youngkin was also brilliant in working suburban VA swing voters up by dangling the myth of empowering them via educational oversight and control. This was pointed out by Alternet blogger John Stoehr (see quote at top). It is as if the sheer yen for reaction, any kind, drives these voters and renders them stupidly short-sighted in their decision making. He also points out further in his piece (see link below) that Trump sycophant Kevin McCarthy plans to brag about introducing a 'Parents' Bill of Rights' to try to get Goopers elected en masse to take over the House. All of this is what likely energized those suburban female swing voters you see in the top image.
My question for them, as they indulge in their moment of "glory": Are they aware that one of the most degenerate in the GOP Troll caucus, Madison Cawthorn of NC, gave a speech aimed at the mothers of MAGA in which he encouraged the women to raise their sons to be "monsters." What if one or more of these "monsters" assaults any of the swing women shown ? After all, Cawthorn encouraged the monsters to be "predators" lest the boys be "emasculated." I hope here that these slap happy women bear in mind that Youngkin plans to make Virginia a no abortion state in the model of Texas! I.e. no abortions after 6 weeks, and vigilantes can report any infractions and get $10,000 for each.
But meanwhile, to enable these vermin to get control of the nation there is this "Parents' bill of rights" McCarthy plans to promote.
Will the swing voters fall for it? I suspect so, because they are low information and seldom think of long term consequences, say beyond their myopic personal needs. Thus nothing on their radar as to what havoc might be visited on them (and the rest of us) in the end. As Janice put it, "To actually believe they can make superior choices because they have more knowledge and training than teachers blows my mind". Well, mine too.
But this is part of the havoc the virus has wrought on too many 'Murican psyches: that rather than weigh carefully the choices next fall, they will rush into stupid ones - electing a tide of MAGA Troll miscreants and traitors to take over congress. Psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee (author of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,) perfectly pegged today's America and its deplorable mental state arising from the nonstop lies issuing from FOX and the Repukes, in a recent Salon.com interview:
' We know that, when the sewage system is not cleaned up, it becomes a breeding ground for disease. It is the same for society: when the political and economic systems are not cleaned up, it becomes an environment for mental pathology to thrive."
Given the current existing misinformation "sewage" backup and spreading into next fall, it could happen that R-traitor authoritarians take control. This is especially true if Carlson spews exponentially more lies and Democratic voters can't be sufficiently fired up to overtake the numbers of dumb, reactive swing voters. (As was the case in New Jersey where a tide of Dem voters saved Gov. Phil Murphy's bacon with their mail ballots).
In the case of next year's mid -terms - a referendum on democracy if ever there was one - our entire nation's future hinges on the choices made, and that's not being over dramatic. Not one bit. Because once the GOP cult - which is what they are, a Trumpie cult - regains that power they will never ever relinquish it again. Red states have already (according to the Brennan Center for Justice) passed nearly 400 voter suppression laws to make it as difficult as possible for the typical Democratic voters to get to cast ballots. That includes everything from drastically restricting access to mail ballots, polling places - as well as times to vote and moving poll locations at the last minute. Also, more restrictive voter ID requirements, while placing Trump-aligned state officials in charge of election processing and certification, e.g.
This is a disaster waiting to happen, and still may if the swing voters dump their brains at curbside before entering the voting booth- or filling out a mail ballot.
Again, as seen last month, the suburban voters lacked the smarts or the deep political insights to see through to the root causes of their angst - in electing Youngkin and filling the VA House of Delegates with Trumper rats. Opting instead to conflate all their experienced woes under the Dem umbrella - which also explains the close contest in New Jersey - where Phil Murphy ought to have slaughtered his Reep opponent.
These suburban Virginia voters (like the women shown above) ought to be especially ashamed that they "united with Trump supporters" (as The Miami Herald put it) to secure Youngkin's victory. To me that makes them all accomplices to the MAGA insurrection brigade, irrespective of their assorted excuses. Bottom line, they ought to have known better and will now repent at their leisure.
Stoehr's ending remark is one to process:
"There’s one thing that tests my faith in democracy more than anything else, though. All the above information? Widely available. Anyone who wants to know the truth can know. But what if voters don’t want to? What if it feels better to believe lies than to believe truth? In that case, democracy isn’t its own worst enemy on account of degenerates and fools getting to decide the republic’s business. It’s its own worse enemy because it rationalizes the feelings of degenerates and fools."
Truer words have seldom been written, or spoken. But one still needs to plumb what lies behind the impulse to act degenerate or as a voter fool. One problem is the penalty is often distant, or at least further removed in time (from casting a ballot) than most voters realize. They are voting for instant gratification but not realizing the long view of the Repuke -Far Right is to take over and take down the country. The Germans made similar terrible choices with Hitler and the Nazis in 1932-33. They were desperate for positive change but got a lot more negative change - including their whole nation laid waste- than they bargained for.
William Davies, a political economist at the University of London, offers deeper insights in his book, 'Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason' (2018). He notes, for example (p. 22), that the far Right - not only in the U.S but in Europe - is "using anger, intimidation and lies to destabilize institutions without constructing alternatives." He also observed - even three years ago- that the likes of Steve Bannon and Milo Yiannapoulos were "reframing public debates along the lines of war to intimidate and marginalize opponents." Well, since the seeding of Trump's Big Lie and the insurrection that followed, that operation has been "on steroids."
The thing is, the ongoing catastrophe of what the far Right Trumpists have been trying to do is all out there in the open.So it is beyond incredible polls could show a race in any way tight for next year's mid terms. As Janice asked when she saw the paragraph with voters giving more pluses to the Reeps on the economy: "What are these people smoking anyway? Did they not benefit from the American Rescue Act and the first infrastructure bill? What's wrong with them?" Well, they're all in denial, and denial can be a powerful sedative, especially in turbulent times during a pandemic - that never seems to end- especially with the endless campaign of FOX lies. The problem is this denial 'drug' in combination with misinformation will spell doom for the nation and our democracy if it's still circulating next fall.
Well, likely the same mind virus that infected the good Germans, when they chose the Nazis to lead them almost 90 years ago. Not realizing until a year or so later- when the first concentration camp opened (e.g. at Dachau) and newspaper editors were tossed inside - they'd made a horrible mistake. But then it was too late. The entire horrific catastrophe had to play itself out. We have to hope that our own people, our voters, wake up before next November.