Monday Reads: Time to send the Republican Party to the Ash Heap of HistoryPosted: October 26, 2020
Good Day Sky Dancers!
In typical 2020 fashion, there is another hurricane aimed at New Orleans. It’s named Zeta because they’ve run through both alphabets now. November one marks the end of the official Hurricane Season and this one is coming at us on Wednesday. November three should be a death knell for Trump and the Republican party. We’ve seen this before. Remember the Whigs? The Federalist party that fell apart eventually but still tried stacking the courts in the process and passed the Alien and Sedition Acts because they wanted to control immigration and citizenship tightly.?
It’s just American History kinda repeating itself with the same base arguments and tricks. Let’s investigate this as the Republican party tries to sandbag the process by stacking and continuing to appoint incredibly unsuitable people to all levels of our Federal Court System. Today’s it’s OfDonald or OfMitch or whatever old white man owns Amy Coney Barret’s soul. today. The good news is that this may stop but it will take a long time to undue the damage. That’s something Thomas Jefferson was worried about back when the Whigs were trying it.
Ronald Brownstein wrote this amazing piece about Republican Court Stacking and its purpose at The Atlantic last week. “What the Rush to Confirm Amy Coney Barrett Is Really About. The Republican Party wants to shield itself from the growing Democratic coalition.”
Nothing better explains the Republican rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court than the record crowds that thronged polling places for the first days of early voting this week in Georgia and Texas.
The historic number of Americans who stood in long lines to cast their ballot in cities from Atlanta to Houston symbolizes the diverse, urbanized Democratic coalition that will make it very difficult for the GOP to win majority support in elections through the 2020s. That hill will get only steeper as Millennials and Generation Z grow through the decade to become the largest generations in the electorate.
Every young conservative judge that the GOP has stacked onto the federal courts amounts to a sandbag against that rising demographic wave. Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Barrett—whom a slim majority of Republican senators appears determined to seat by Election Day—represent the capstone of that strategy. As the nation’s growing racial and religious diversity limits the GOP’s prospects, filling the courts with conservatives constitutes what the Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz calls “the right-wing firewall” against a country evolving electorally away from the party.
This dynamic suggests that the 2020s could reprise earlier conflicts in American history, when a Court majority nominated and confirmed by the dominant party of a previous era systematically blocked the agenda of a newly emerging political majority—with explosive consequences. That happened as far back as the first years of the 19th century, when electoral dominance tipped from John Adams and the Federalists to Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republican Party. At the time—and in language today’s Democrats would recognize—Jefferson complained that the Federalists “have retreated into the judiciary as a stronghold … the tenure of which renders it difficult to dislodge them.”
Some lag time between the composition of the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, and the country’s electoral balance is built into the constitutional system, with federal judges receiving lifetime appointments.
But just as in earlier eras, conflict is likely to be on tap for the 2020s once Barrett’s seemingly inevitable confirmation cements a 6–3 conservative majority. Because the oldest Republican-appointed justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, are only 72 and 70, respectively, this majority might hold the last word on the nation’s laws for at least the next decade. The oldest Millennials may be in their 50s before any of these Republican justices step down from the high court.
The Democratic party has consistently won more voters in seven of the last eight presidential elections and this can only continue with the population dynamics we see today. White men are aggrieved and scared and dragging their women with them if they can into a national twilight zone that reflects xenophobia and racism under the guise of economic distress, religious ‘freedom’, and cancel ‘culture’.
All of these are monikers for racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and hatred towards what is not white, not christian in a narrowly defined sense, and not patriarchal. You can read this kind of nonsense from Rich Lowry at the National Review. This is exactly the kind of person that needs to fade into history so the rest of us can live long and prosper.
The white racist, sexist, xenophobic patriarchy and all those who benefit from or aspire to it are in a battle with the rest of us, for not only the present in this country but also the future of it.
The Republican Party, which is now without question the Party of Trump, has become a structural reflection of him. They see their majorities slipping and the country turning brown with a quickness, and they are becoming more tribal, more rash, more devious, just like him.
Like Trump, the Republican Party sees a future in which the only way they can win is to cheat. That is why they are stacking the courts. That is why they openly embrace tactics that are well known to result in voter suppression. That is why they gerrymander. That is why they staunchly oppose immigration.
Trump’s base of mostly white men, mostly without a college degree, see him as the ambassador of their anger, one who ministers to their fear, consoles their losses and champions their victimhood. Trump is the angry white man leading the battle charge for angry white men.
The most optimistic among us see the Trump era as some sort of momentary insanity, half of the nation under the spell of a conjurer. They believe that the country can be reunited and this period forgotten.
I am not one of those people. I believe what political scientist Thomas Schaller told Bloomberg columnist Francis Wilkinson in 2018: “I think we’re at the beginning of a soft civil war.” If 2018 was the beginning of it, it is now well underway.
Trump is building an army of the aggrieved in plain sight.
It is an army with its own mercenaries, people Trump doesn’t have to personally direct, but ones he has absolutely refused to condemn.
When it comes to the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the young neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville and the far-right fight club the Proud Boys, Trump finds a way to avoid a full-throated condemnation, often feigning ignorance.
“I don’t know anything about David Duke,” Trump said when he ran in 2016. That of course was a lie. In fact, Trump is heir to Duke’s legacy.
In 1991, when Duke ran unsuccessfully to be governor of Louisiana but received a majority of the white vote in the state, Trump told CNN’s Larry King, “I hate seeing what it represents, but I guess it just shows there’s a lot of hostility in this country. There’s a tremendous amount of hostility in the United States.”
King responded, “Anger?”
Then Trump explained: “It’s anger. I mean, that’s an anger vote. People are angry about what’s happened. People are angry about the jobs.”
It is that very anger that Trump harnessed to win the presidency: anger over racial displacement disguised as economic anxiety.
A Swedish University has studied the Republican Party and come up with this analysis as reported by The Guardian. “Republicans closely resemble autocratic parties in Hungary and Turkey – study. Swedish university finds ‘dramatic shift’ in GOP under Trump, shunning democratic norms and encouraging violence.”
The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study.
In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey.
The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.
By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe. Their principal difference is the approach to the economy.
The new study, the largest ever of its kind, was carried out by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, using newly developed methods to measure and quantify the health of the world’s democracies at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise.
Anna Lührmann, V-Dem’s deputy director, said the Republican transformation had been “certainly the most dramatic shift in an established democracy”.
V-Dem’s “illiberalism index” gauges the extent of commitment to democratic norms a party exhibits before an election. The institute calls it “the first comparative measure of the ‘litmus test’ for the loyalty to democracy”.
The Daily Beasts reports that “In violation of the law, the FBI won’t deliver a legally required report on domestic terrorism before an election that many security veterans fear may spark some level of violence.”
The FBI has failed to produce a legally required report detailing the scope of white supremacist and other domestic terrorism, despite mounting concerns that the upcoming election could spark far-right violence.
According to a key House committee chairman, that leaves the country in the dark about what the FBI concedes is America’s most urgent terrorist threat, as well as the resources the U.S. government is devoting to fight it.
In June, the bureau was supposed to release a report compiling a wealth of currently unavailable data on domestic terrorism, a category that includes white supremacist violence. The most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires the FBI, in accord with Department of Homeland Security and consultation with the Office of Director of National Intelligence, specify not only known acts of domestic terrorism, but “ideologies relating to domestic terrorism,” and what the FBI and its partners are doing to combat it all.
Yet the FBI is over four months late. While President Trump falsely portrays left-wing property damage as terrorism, suspicion is building that the FBI, whose director Christopher Wray is on the outs with Trump, will keep the public from seeing the scope of its premier terror threat before an election that may feature violence emerging from it.
“I would hate to think that they are reacting to President Trump’s machinations about his dislike for senior leadership in the FBI,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told The Daily Beast. “This report probably would not be viewed favorably by this administration. That, I think, precipitates the report not being released by Nov. 3.”
It’s time to Drive Old Dixie Down, again and this time the party that needs to go with it is what used to be the Party of Lincoln. Read that National Review crap and you’ll see that it’s the same stuff that’s be floating around the country since its inception that we keep trying to flush. The Alien and Sedition Act was one of the things that took the Whigs down. Will Children in Cages take take the Republicans down?
Let us know if you got to vote and if you’re okay!!! Take care and be gentle with yourself and those around you!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?