Fake Elector, COVID and Kids, and "Semi-Fascism"
Today at The Bulwark
Brian Kemp’s Running Mate Is a Fake Elector
Georgia's governor makes nice with MAGA by embracing the election deniers who think he cheated Trump.
Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp gets a lot of credit for resisting pressure from former President Donald Trump to “find the votes” to flip the 2020 election results in his state. But that was then. Today, Kemp stands shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the state’s top election deniers. That man is his running mate, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, Burt Jones.
Jones signed on as a false elector in the scheme to squeeze former Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes on January 6th. Because of this, he is now a target of the Fulton County district attorney’s criminal investigation into Trump’s broader efforts to interfere in the 2020 election.
What COVID Revealed About Our Kids
The pandemic exacerbated our underlying loneliness epidemic.
This past week marked the first day of school in our neighborhood. I’m a sucker for the family tableau—a kid with her new backpack, mom and dad with cameras at the ready as the bus pulls up, the dog on a leash questioning why he’s losing his playmate to the big, yellow thief.
It’s alarming to consider how likely it is that by the time that smiling child reaches high school, she will be anxious, depressed, or cutting herself. According to the Surgeon General, 19 percent of high school students seriously consider suicide. Nor is it just musing. Between 2007 and 2018, suicide rates among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 increased by 57 percent. As Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff have explored, the wide adoption of smartphones in 2012 marked a sudden and dramatic change in adolescent well-being. Kids (especially girls) became more anxious, depressed, and fragile.
The pandemic intensified trends that were already underway.
“Semi-Fascism”: The Shoe Fits
Republicans’ hypocritical reaction to President Biden’s use of the F-word.
Republicans are furious over President Biden’s recent remarks linking Donald Trump and his supporters to “semi-fascism.” For days, they’ve been all over TV and social media, denouncing Biden’s use of the F-word. But Biden was right. Many of the ideas and tactics deployed by Trump and his apologists, including those who decry Biden’s comparison, fit the dictionary definition of fascism.
Consider Rep. Jim Jordan, who will chair the House Judiciary Committee if Republicans retake the House this fall. Jordan says Biden is dividing America by “calling Republicans ‘semi-fascists.’” But three years ago, when Trump committed an openly authoritarian act, Jordan endorsed it.
In January 2019, the House of Representatives, which had a new Democratic majority, refused to fund a border wall demanded by Trump. So the president declared a national emergency to build the wall, seizing from Congress its constitutional authority over appropriations. No president had ever claimed such emergency powers to override the will of Congress. But Jordan stood with Trump. “We tried for 35 days . . . to get the Democrats to do what everyone knows needs to happen,” said Jordan. “I support the national emergency declaration 100 percent.”
Bakari Sellers & Lis Smith: Can Dems Do Better in Red America?
Bakari Sellers and Lis Smith join guest host Tim Miller on The Bulwark Podcast:
Enough unforced errors, Democrats: 1. Get mayors to talk up the infrastructure & inflation bills. 2. Be like Warnock, Shapiro, and Kelly —> cut into GOP margins in red areas. Plus, Trump lawyer missteps and staying honest in your writing.
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Mikhail Gorbachev, 1931–2022
The last Soviet leader’s record is more complicated than conventional wisdom suggests—but he was ultimately on the side of freedom.
Looking for symbolic meanings in current events always carries the risk of reaching for facile or far-fetched interpretations. And yet it’s difficult not to see symbolism in the fact that Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and last president of the Soviet Union, died just a few months after the final death agony of the new Russia that he had, not always willingly, midwifed: a Russia of free travel and free speech, of McDonald’s restaurants and Adidas shoes, of openness to Western culture and Western values; a Russia that aspired to join the global community of liberal democracies.
By the time of his death this week at the age of 91 following a long illness (reportedly kidney ailments), Gorbachev had become a relic of a distant past. Yet for a while, he was a global star; in 1988, he even made it on Gallup’s Top Ten Most Admired Men list, one of the very few non-American men to have that distinction and the first Soviet man to appear on it since its introduction in 1955. Rush Limbaugh coined the term “Gorbasm” to mock the transports of delight with which America’s liberal intelligentsia greeted Gorbachev, and on that occasion the right-wing radio jock was on to something. But Gorbymania was not just an American or left-wing phenomenon; it swept up even a Cold Warrior like Margaret Thatcher. (A little-known fact: the Iron Lady made her famous remark, “I like Mr. Gorbachev. We can do business together,” in late 1984, when the future superstar was only a rumored heir to the USSR’s top leadership.)
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I don't disagree with William Saletan's analysis of Biden's use of the F-word. However, to me, the real question is how do we reach the Independents and still-sane Republican voters who will not swallow the MAGA-GOP lies in a blink of the eye? What about those who believe that they are not MAGA-minded, but are still willing to vote R as if the entire party is not prepared to abandon democracy in favor of fascism?
Those GOP elected officials who try to remain silent without fully embracing the direction of their party seem to think history, at worst, will judge them as appeasers, like Neville Chamberlain. But I suspect they will be remembered as traitors like Benedict Arnold, because for 6 years now they could have stood up, spoken up, put their foot down and stopped this threat cold. How many opportunities have they had and ignored? And the real question is why? I can only conclude that they would rather remain in power under a fascist regime than to lose power in a democratic republic.
I agree Biden owes Republicans an apology for stating the obvious--- they are semi-fascists.
He should do so immediately after the Republican Party apologizes for calling Democrats socialists, communists, groomers and baby killers.
I understand why Maggie Hassan went all squishy over it calling it painting with too broad a brush. But really until the GOP actually makes an effort to distance themselves from the semi-fascists in their midst it is clear they are willing to be fellow travelers with them.
If a duck looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck--- it's probably a duck.
PS. I think Democrats should subvert and repurpose "Let's go, Brandon!" and turn it on it's head as a way of mocking the MAGAts.