"Are we ready for our new Republican overlords? Much to our national shame, it looks like these over-the-top and way, way, way out-of-the mainstream Republicans — and the formerly normie and now creepy Republicans who have bent the knee to the wackos out of political expediency — are going to be running the House, maybe the Senate and certainly some states, perhaps even some that Joe Biden won two years ago.
And it looks as if Kevin McCarthy will finally realize his goal of becoming speaker, but when he speaks, it will be Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert doing the spewing. It will be like the devil growling through Linda Blair in “The Exorcist” — except it will be our heads spinning. ...People voting for these crazies think they’re punishing Biden, Barack Obama and the Democrats. They’re really punishing themselves." - Maureen Dowd, 'The Greene-ing Of America', NY Times
When politicians drop the pretense of virtue and embrace a politics of cruelty and malice, in which nothing matters but the will to power — voters act accordingly. Some may recoil, but just as many will embrace the chance to live vicariously through leaders who celebrate vice and hold virtue in contempt." - Jamelle Bouie, 'What Happens When Republicans Tear Off Their Masks', NY Times
"White men vote Republican; we all know that. But there is another group that consistently supports the GOP’s anti-woman, do-nothing-about-dead-kids stance, and that is White women. Seriously, what gives?"- Karen Attiah, Washington Post, 'White Southern Women Are Holding Us Back'
Trumpite minions continue to stalk the land, creating a "feral election atmosphere" to use the words of Ny Times columnist Maureen Dowd in her latest column. Amidst this chaos and violence more and more white suburban women are falling under the throes of nonsensical conspiracy claptrap and paranoid ideations. One of the groups spawned, composed entirely of white mothers, is 'Moms for Liberty'. This group has become expert at inflicting their hostility at school board meetings, when they aren't threatening election boards.
Alas, the virus of political disaffection and disinformation appears to have spread to the entire white suburban female demographic - under the banner of what I call "conspiratorial Momism". Momism in the conspiratorial sense entails the emergence of a hyper-involved and hyper-protective sense over the education of one's offspring as well as their lives. It was manifested with the election of Glenn Youngkin in Virginia last year based on playing on suburban white women's fears their kids' education was being subverted by exposure to "critical race theory"- and a form of school board decisions over which they lacked control. As I wrote in my October 21, 2021 post:
"Youngkin is betting he can pull the wool over enough voters' eyes to get in. He's choosing to do this using the hot button issue of "parental rights" vis - a -vis mask -vaccine mandates and the supposed teaching of CRT or critical race theory in Virginia schools. In fact the CRT babble is just that and Youngkin knows it - even fessing up to Alex Wagner in the recent episode of Showtime's 'The Circus". When Ms. Wagner pressed him on the issue of CRT being taught in Virginia schools, Youngkin smirked like a drugged skunk and responded: "Well, okay, maybe not in classes, but as a philosophy!"
But, of course, it goes much deeper than CRT, vaccines and masking. Rachel Moran, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public, has been able to tie the spread of disinformation among white women - especially moms - to distrust in the underlying social structures. I.e. to protect their offspring - and themselves - from perceived nefarious agents. Dr. Moran notes firstly that U.S. social structures place a disproportionate burden of child care onto mothers. Thereby these women are made more susceptible to purveyors of malignant disinformation which explicitly exploits those vulnerabilities. At the top of the list is the QAnon 'Save the children' affiliate which is designed to incite hysteria and paranoia, e.g.
QAnon's 'Save the Children' morphs into popular slogan | AP News
The “Save the Children” effort emerged earlier this year as a splinter movement from QAnon, the group of internet conspiracy theorists who believe without evidence that President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a supposed network of celebrities and government officials who are running a child trafficking ring.
The movement’s rise has complicated the efforts of the humanitarian organization called Save the Children and other nonprofits that work to help the world’s needy children.
This misbegotten offshoot-movement, as noted above, actually appropriated the name of a valid humanitarian organization. But the conflation - deliberate - has led to such bastardized conspiracy ideations as "Pizzagate" in 2016- when Hillary Clinton and other "elite" Dems were accused of running a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor in D.C. See e.g.
Crackpot "Pizzagate" Tale Promoted By Michael G. Flynn Almost Led To D.C. Tragedy
All of which elicits the question of why women- white suburban women and mothers in particular - are more susceptible to this crap. According to Univ. of Washington's Dr. Moran it is because in our society women are "charged with the unfathomable heavy burden of keeping children safe at all times." From all manner of potential predators, and especially Satan -worshippers and sex traffickers. Thus, any meme containing these threats - like 'Pizzagate" - will act as a political trigger, just like CRT acts on the same brain region (amygdala) as a racial trigger in Virginia last fall- which Youngkin knew.
In the specific case of the QAnon-style mind viruses spread on social media, the threat of child abduction and molestation leaves many mothers feeling desperate, according to Dr. Moran's hypothesis. (Cf. Mother Jones, 'Live, Laugh an Lay Waste', p. 40, Nov.-Dec.) The inevitable result is a low level state of constant anxiety and an obsessive preoccupation with child safety in a world seemingly filled with child predators. All of this provides fertile ground for rampant conspiracy ideations and multi-faceted paranoia. In the words of Dr. Moran (ibid.):
"You're at a very uncertain period of your life in a period of incredible uncertainty that we've been under since the pandemic began and paired with isolation. It's understandable then why women would go online where it's all too easy to not only find misinformation but communities that support that misinformation."
Among those communities is the 'Moms for Liberty', concerning which entity we learn (Op. cit., p. 42):
"Moms for Liberty is new, but the ideas that fuel it are ancient. Moral panic over children’s well-being pervades early European conspiracy theories that accused Jews of murdering Christian babies and harvesting their blood....What’s different about the Moms for Liberty—and the other parental rights groups that have sprung up over the past two years—is their leveraging of local school boards to flex political power."
The danger from such groups is an inevitable "spillover" effect, whereby the obsessive "Momism" child safety (and attendant fretting over CRT, racial justice teaching and certain books) migrates into the much larger field of economic safety. After all, if prices are exploding the same fear centers of the brain can be triggered, along with hyper-obsession with safety.
"What would we do if I can't afford food or rent? We'll be out in the street with all those predators!"
This isn't mere speculation. The signs of toxic Momist spillover are clearly evident in the pages of The Wall Street Journal and other papers in the runup to the midterms next Tuesday. According to a WSJ piece yesterday (p.A4, GOP Gains in Poll Among White Suburban Women):
"White suburban women, a key group of midterm voters, have significantly shifted their support from Democrats to Republicans in the closing days of midterm campaigning due to rising concerns over the economy and inflation, according to the latest Wall Street Journal poll.
Or, they have allowed their "Momist" obsessions and fears to compromise their thinking on economics. Moran clearly believes it's possible for wayward meme migration to disrupt other areas and we see it in the accompanying MoJo piece 'Moms Against Libraries'. (p. 36).
But in the economic arena, there is no way in hell - in this universe and likely any other- the GOP has even Plan A to "get it under control". What they DO want to do is hold the Dems and Biden hostage to their insane demands to make cuts to Social Security and Medicare. To that end they have a boner to use brinksmanship with the debt ceiling to try and get their way. Then, when they get their way, they will enact a shit load of tax cuts (under their "Commitment to America" plan) paralleling the financial fiasco that occurred in the UK with the now long gone P.M. Liz Truss, e.g.
UK P.M. Liz Truss Forced To Resign After Major Tax Cut Attempt: Why Would GOP Want To Emulate It?
Have these benighted women kept up with all that? Or are their brains buried in QAnon and GOP election denier memes, and other rubbish spread in the Trump cult's ads? Toxic material which is only about gaining unearned power. One of the most egregious examples, of course, is transporting the dirtbag Herschel Walker from TX to Georgia to try to grab Sen. Raphael Warnock's Senate seat. Fortunately, this ploy was exposed and Walker and his ilk torched in this fiery sermon from Atlanta minister Jamal Bryant.
Atlanta Preacher Gives Herschel Walker the Business in Fiery Sunday Sermon (thedailybeast.com)
This is the sort of exposure we need right now to wake up somnolent voters brains' and especially those of white suburban women who appear to have fallen down the Momist-economic fear rabbit hole of irrationalism. When people want to monitor libraries, censor or ban books - as well as intrude into teaching practices they know nothing about - we know the 'genie' is out of the bottle. The game is exposed. The Right wants to own the minds of these millions of suburban white women and they may have succeeded if the latter willingly and knowingly vote them into congressional power on Tuesday. But they ought to know - as Maureen Dowd observed in her recent NY Times column- they won't be punishing Biden and the Dems, but themselves. This after the GOP invests all its energy into bogus investigations instead of dealing with inflation.
White Southern women are holding us back
by Chuck Idelson | November 7, 2022 - 7:45am | permalink
Voters this Tuesday will pass judgment on an existential emergency facing the nation. Despite the efforts of some Democrats to normalize the historic trend favoring the minority party in midterms, the code blue alarm bells this year have a chillingly different resonance.
Warning signs are everywhere.
- An escalation of violent threats through mass media, social media, the dark web and internet message boards that culminated in the attempted kidnapping of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the attempted murder of her husband, Paul Pelosi. They’re also acting to “monitor” and intimidate voters at drop boxes and the polls on election day
- The most openly racist campaigns in years funded by corporate and super rich donors who profited from Trump’s policies. The blitzkrieg, aided by fear mongering, gerrymandering and voter suppression, and often feckless Democratic response, is poised to win control of the House and potentially the Senate, and expand Republican control in many states.
- A proliferation of federal and state candidates—by 60 percent of GOP nominees—who are both 2020 election deniers, and proponents of overturning any future elections their candidates lose.
by Trudy Bayer | November 6, 2022 - 7:17am | permalink
by Robert Reich | November 6, 2022 - 6:58am | permalink
by Heather Digby Parton | November 5, 2022 - 7:52am | permalink
If you had told me a year ago that polls would showing Democrats and Republicans within the margin of error a few days before this midterm election, I would have said you were nuts. After a couple of off-year wins for Republicans that had the Beltway press corps giddy with excitement, conventional wisdom held that a "red wave" was building, and likely to become a "red tsunami." Even sober-minded analysts saw the political environment offering at least a comfortable win for Republicans in 2022.
Gen X'ers And Women Swing Voters Should Know The Economic Consequences Before They Swing GOP
by Joan McCarter | November 3, 2022 - 7:13am | permalink
Traditional media is having a hell of a time this election in the “both sides” game, when one side (arguably their favorite) keeps insisting on doing things like cracking jokes and boosting heinous conspiracy theories about the assassination attempt on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, an attack that left her husband in the ICU with a head injury. These “journalists” insist on continuing to report on Republicans as if they are actually engaged in trying to make policy and help govern the country.
The result is stories like this one from Politico, about the GOP’s “ambitious energy agenda,” which is of course a repeat of what the GOP did when Obama was president: yell for more drilling and conduct bogus investigations. Or a story like this one from what remains of what used to be the paper of record for the nation, The New York Times.
by Thom Hartmann | November 4, 2022 - 7:50am | permalink
“American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president of the United States refuses to accept the results of the 2020 election,” President Biden told the nation last night. “He refuses to accept the will of the people, he refuses to accept the fact that he lost.”
I wrote about this six months ago, and it’s time to talk again about what an American fascist government would look like. Because over the next two weeks we may — depending on how these elections turn out and how Trump’s followers react to the outcomes — very rapidly slide into a state-by-state form of fascism much like the old Confederacy.
by Brandon Gage | November 4, 2022 - 7:09am | permalink
The November midterms are only five days away. Americans are voting early in droves, and polls are showing that many – if not most – of the hotly contested races throughout the country are statistical dead-heats. But this election cycle is unlike those that have come before it because democracy itself is imperiled by the populist right-wing of the Republican Party, whose candidates have openly embraced former President Donald Trump's lies about the 2020 election having been stolen.
by Sulma Arias | November 4, 2022 - 6:35am | permalink
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