I see in comments all the time in this forum and elsewhere, that people characterize the MAGAs as unintelligent, racist, lower income rubes, but that couldn't be further from the truth and minimizes what we're up against.

The average income level of those who voted for trump in 2016 was higher than the average level of those who voted for Hillary.

I know 2 men, one my boss for the past 15 years, and one a very good friend for the past 30 years. Both are life-long Republicans (I am a life-long Democrat). Both are intelligent, and have had successful careers in the computer technology field, one also being a CPA. I've never heard either utter a racist thought or word in all the time I've known them. Both enjoy a comfortable middle to upper-middle class lifestyle. Both live in nice houses and drive nice cars. Both have comfortably raised their families.

Yet both believe the 2020 election was stolen. Both believe trump was a good president who tried to make America great again. Both will vote for him again if given the opportunity. Both would have no use for people like Charlie Sykes, Bill Kristol and others like them, even though those are voices they once listened to years ago. Both believe all of the rhetoric about Democrats. Both would die before they would vote for one. And both miss the soaring value of their stock portfolios and 401K's.

Yes, there's a segment of the MAGAs that are extreme, are racist, are stupid, and are voting against their own self-interest. But this has gone mainstream and we better understand that, because it should shape how we fight it.

I have tried to talk sense to these two, but I've been unsuccessful. They don't accept that today's Republican party is dangerous. They fully believe that it's the Democratic party which is the real danger to our Republic and our democracy.

I don't have the answers, but let's start by acknowledging that the MAGA movement is far more insidious than a bunch of extreme, stupid, racist rubes.

Expand full comment

As to donating to races that have zero chance of electing a democrat - I couldn't agree more. And I agree that the outcome of the 2020 Senate races, given the money that poured in from all over the country, should be a wake-up call. It wasn't just the two mentioned - it was 4-5 more of them.

We need to identify which Senate races could result in a flip from red to blue, and even which House races could result in a flip. Those are the campaigns we should target with our from-across-the-country donations, because those are the ones that matter the most. It's about taking seats, not feeling good about defeating MTG - which no Democrat can.

Expand full comment

The good:

Fetterman won

Little won and the Idaho fascist lost

The bad:

Mastriano won - if you know someone in PA tell them to vote

GOP primary turnout was generally higher than Dem turnout, a bad omen for November

The funny:

Cawthorn lost LMAO

Oz/McCormick goes down to mail-in ballots: STOP THE COUNT

Expand full comment
May 18, 2022·edited May 18, 2022

I absolutely think things can get worse. I’ve been steadfast in this belief since 2017 when so many people were alarmed at Trump and asking me what I thought? I calmly replied “there is no bottom”. I so wish I had been wrong.

Expand full comment

I am in the Philly media market but live in DE. I am just thankful I don't have to see anymore of the truly stupid ads these candidates made.

On a more serious note, a lot of voters are too goddamn ignorant to realize what a win for a Mastriano type candidate would mean long term. If the D's can't figure out a way to make the 2022 elections about an existential threat to democracy (without shitting on the masses of stupid people and making them run toward guys like him) we are doomed.

We are on the precipice in a way I don't think we have been since 1860. I know that sounds hyperbolic but I think we are on the verge of fracture in a way we don't have the imagination to envision.

Expand full comment

"Democrats assume that there is no way that Doug Mastriano can be elected governor of Pennsylvania, and they are so confident that they actually helped him win the GOP primary."

Yes, indeed, be careful what you ask for. And try to remember the lessons of the past. It amazes me that people still confuse what should happen with what will happen when underestimating both the power of the opposition and the depth of their commitment. So many try to rationalize away the threat with logic, which so often does not apply to passion. So many assume that because they can see and distinguish commonly-accepted right and wrong, others will do so as well and eventually both act and vote accordingly. And so many still believe that this is just an aberration that will run its course before election day, when sanity necessarily shall prevail again.

Wrong, wronger, and wrongest. How many examples do we need in order to recognize that we are in an existential struggle against an opponent who lives amongst us and looks, talks, and acts in so many ways like the rest of us in our daily lives, but otherwise, in the political arena, does not recognize or accept arcane (to them) things like rules, traditions, evidence, science, and justice? There is only one guiding principle for them, and it is getting what they want, how they want it, with no apologies, no surrender, and no mercy.

You cannot rationalize with an irrational person. You cannot reason with someone who is unreasonable. And, evidently, you cannot defeat an opponent who simply refuses to lose, when enough people have their back that they can say and do whatever they want with no accountability. Far from dumb rubes and hicks, many of these people are smart, prepared, and systematic in how they have positioned themselves to take and keep power. Their best weapon has been our complacency, combined with our relative politeness toward them, that we have underestimated both the power of their convictions and the lengths to which they will go to achieve their goals while we remain within our lanes, essentially fighting back with one hand tied behind our backs -- of our own choosing.

That is what we are up against. We are under assault by a well-prepared and well-funded internal enemy, and the threat will not go away of its own accord. And we will not win by continuing to be the nice hosts at a party of gate crashers. I do not know better than anyone else here what the answer is. But I do know that more of the same will not yield better results. We have less than six months to gird our loins and take the fight to them with the same passion and energy, to save our republic, as they have to take it away from us. What is our game plan for success? Who is leading the charge? Somebody please convince me that we are in this to win it instead of merely hoping and expecting not to lose.

Expand full comment

Amanda Carpenter said it all for me this morning: Take a deep breath and feel the PTSD wash over your body. Feel the doom settle in your neck and roll down your spine. When the political becomes physical. Not again!

Expand full comment

It strikes me at this point that anything the MAGA folks accuse people of doing is because they are doing it themselves. They have to get rid of secs of state so they can get productive about it. The irony of the mail in ballots is remarkable.

I am limiting my financial contributions to ones I actually think could win and that rather limits the contributions but I'm really tired of being hammered daily for cash. Things indeed don't look good in my mind.

Expand full comment

I donated to Conor Lamb, but I'll be honest, he didn't seem to be the right candidate for this time and place. I'm not sure he could excite enough of the Dem base in the cities and suburbs, nor peel off many of the rural voters who are trending red. Fetterman seems to have the power to get both groups to the polls... call it the "Cannabis and Carhartt Coalition."

Expand full comment

Three things stick out to me.

1. Even if the war is just from the side of Ukraine, I would rather religious figures not endorse war in general. I would very much not like major religious figures to claim war is just. Especially not when we already have the patriarch of the orthodox church doing that on the Russian side. In general, having religious figures go 'war is always bad' is preferable to them going 'war is sometimes good' because adherents will inevitably use this as a justification to do terrible things. The war for freedom by Ukrainians is good. But let's not add a religious dimension to it.

2. If it wasn't already clear, the mainstream GOP position is pro-coup, pro-violence, and pro-radicalism. I'm shocked that Barnette didn't win, given the fact that she is by and large the distillation of the id of the GOP. Perhaps the president's endorsement, or perhaps the attacks on Fox news did something. However! My view is that calling it 'trump's party' is not entirely accurate. He led them into a new present, yes. But he's merely their 'Moses' figure; he's not leading this movement anymore. He's powerful within it, but the movement has mutated and taken on a form of it's own. He's a good avatar for them, but ultimately, it will persist beyond him.

3. Blue Dog democrats are a nearly extinct species. Reality is that voters do not care for them, as proven last time. It's not that they didn't win anywhere, but progressives are clearly more powerful within the base of the party than represented in the current congress. We can argue whether that's good or bad, but it's clear that what pundits and consultants see as 'electable' is entirely incorrect. Voters have an entirely different idea as to what that means.

I believe this is probably because the promise of the pundit/consultant class was that if we elected ultimate centrist Joe Biden things would be better, and they're not. More than that, the grass roots desires someone who will 'fight.' Ultimately, if the centrists won't, then someone will fill the void. That doesn't mean it's going to be someone like Sanders or Warren. But it means someone like Fetterman is probably the future of the party, and he's what an electable candidate now looks like, in my opinion.

This I think confirms what I've long since believed: voters prefer officials who will do bad things over ones that will do no things. As we're seeing in places across the world, voters will elect dictators and their relatives through popular sovereignty. Voters don't care if something is bad, they care that things happen. In that regard, the centrist viewpoint that's been espoused for two years of 'don't do anything progressive or even liberal or we're lose' is entirely wrong.

If they aren't going to run on 'look at all this stuff we did' then they're going to run on 'we need to throw the bums out.' And the bums are people like Manchin, who think that letting things like the child tax credit expire is good for the party. If all centrists can say after two years is 'well we didn't do anything' then they need to go, and voters clearly agree.

Mark my words, if Biden isn't the nominee in 2024, it's not going to be because he's replaced by a centrist. He's going to be replaced by a younger liberal.

Expand full comment

Our culture conflates a variety of things with personal character/quality. It is amazingly forgiving to certain types of behavior by certain types of people.

As pointed out, the stereotype of the MAGAt tends a certain way, but it is obvious that these are not the only people involved in and supporting that movement. Purely "popular" movements do not tend to have long life cycles in this country--they ebb and flow like the tide as interest and focus waxes and wanes in Short Attention Span Theater (which is what a lot of American public culture is).

A lot of these other supporters, the non-stereotypical supporters are "nice people." The perception of them as being nice people depends upon a couple of things:

1) They treat ME nicely, they are my friends. We move in the same circles I work with or for them;

2) They are successful (by American standards);

3) They tend to be white and "traditional" in their beliefs;

4) They are at least nominally Christian.

They are also people that happen to willfully believe patently false things that benefit them--or if they do not actually believe it, will still support it or, as a minimum, not speak out against it.

They are also people who will tolerate a total lack of ethical behavior in their political leadership in support of their goals (which is usually the maintenance of the status quo that benefits them or a return to a supposed earlier status quo that benefitted them.

They will tolerate and excuse a range of other behaviors that are strongly based in inherent bias and in/out group structures (this is a polite way of saying racist and sexist behavior--though it is not limited to that, there is social class thing here as well).

They donate time, money, personal action and ethos to these things as part of serving their particular interests.

They attempt to maintain some distance from the less savory aspects of that stuff by either acting clandestinely (dark money) or in a collectivist manner (mistakes were made, it's just business, it is what you have to do to be successful). I'm not that way, I am an upstanding citizen.

We excuse a LOT of very bad behavior in the successful.

We excuse a lot of bad behavior in our friends (because aren't our friends, in a sense, a reflection on OUR character?).

I will stipulate that inherent bias is present everywhere and in everyone.

I will further stipulate that inherent bias comes in a variety of flavors and strengths and affects identity in vary degrees of strength and expressed action... and that the forms of inherent bias that we label as racism or sexism may not be major components of a person's identity.

But I will argue that, regardless of that, participation (by funding or voting) and tolerance of these things in fellow travelers is an enabling activity. And that the knowing use of these things or support of these things (by silence, if nothing else) in pursuit of self-interest is wrong. The cynical and knowing use of these things is even more wrong--and is, in my eyes, more grievous than sincere participation.

I will also argue that the position of the person with the inherent bias in the social/political/economic power hierarchy is also crucial.

It makes you actually NOT a nice or good person.

Expand full comment

Before Judge Thomas’s comments about preserving institutions passes into the waste bin, can someone, perhaps with social connections, please ask him to give a copy of his comments to his bride.

Expand full comment
May 18, 2022·edited May 18, 2022

The top 5 *current* crazy conspiracies of Trumpers: "Plandemic", "Stolen Election 2020", "Great Replacement", QAnon/Pedos, and "Secularism Will Kill Christianity".

Prior crazy conspiracies of proto-Trumpers (Ron Paul CPAC people + post-Bush, anti-establishment conservatives): Birtherism, "Jade Helm '15", "Obama ACORN Armies", "Saul Alinsky/George Soros", "Crisis Actors", Benghazi, Clinton Emails, "Secularism Will Kill Christianity", "Voter Fraud", "Sharia Law", "Selling Fetus Parts".... the list goes on.

Expand full comment

Re: The Pope and "just and unjust war."

One of the primary shifts during the Lutheran Reformation (which did not really take hold in the rest of Protestantism) is the idea that God governs humanity very differently through the Church and through government / other faiths / secular philosophy.

The Church offers unconditional grace in Christ, does not take up arms, turns the other cheek, and loves sacrificially. But humans on the whole are ornery creatures, and we often need the stick to keep things from flying off the handle. Governments are completely legitimate in punishing evil doers, promoting those who do good, looking after the welfare of citizens and even holding *each other* in check.

If the government of Ukraine did NOT fight to repel Russia, it would be shirking its God-given responsibility to protect its citizens from attack.

Side note: governments also have a mandate to protect their citizens from pandemics and social ills, an idea that is no longer popular among Lutherans who are under the influence of white US evangelicalism. A government that did not use its tools to alleviate a pandemic's effects would also be shirking its responsibilities.

Expand full comment

Mona Charen is so correct. For all their talk of grass roots, the Democrats have a hard time tending the grass. Aside from money to unseat MTG, the crack-pot scheme to challenge her candidacy in court without a conviction, much less a charge, of insurrection was and continues to be a pipe dream.

Expand full comment

Considering the current state of bonkersdom from the right it is time to remember the important learning from the lyrics from Spinal Tap's song "Majesty of Rock"

"I know, for I told me so,

And I'm sure each of you quite agrees:

The more it stays the same, the less it changes!"

Expand full comment