Whereof One Can Speak 🇺🇦

Nothing special, one post at a time since 2012

They Want Him To Smite Their (Supposed) Enemies

It doesn’t help that typical Republicans think the economy is much worse than typical Democrats do (that’s understandable, considering where so many Republicans get their “news”). But a consensus seems to be developing that downplays their warped perception of the economy as a reason they support the Orange Menace.

From Will Bunch of The Philadelphia Inquirer:

I’ve spent a lot of time since the 2000s listening to people on the right — on my car radio, or at Tea Party gatherings and outside [political rallies — and their message is pretty unambiguous. Their movement isn’t defined by what they want but by whom they hate, and [DT] is the first politician who could articulate that rage with crude bluntness.

From Paul Waldman of The Washington Post:

As [he] rambled his way for over 100 minutes through a stream-of-consciousness speech [in early March], there was at least one moment of clarity. “In 2016, I declared I am your voice,” the former president said. “Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

“Retribution” wasn’t an explicit catchword in [his] previous two campaigns, though the idea was implicit in much of the argument he made to voters. Now it might as well be the campaign’s explicit slogan: If you want revenge, vote for [me].

The vow of “retribution,” which is now everywhere in right-wing politics, is another sign the Republican Party has put victimhood at the center of its identity, perhaps to a greater extent than ever before. To be on the right today is to believe yourself oppressed by impossibly powerful forces, including the government, the news media, the education system and a changing society that increasingly rejects your beliefs.

Every part of who you are — your race, gender, religion, ideas about the world — supposedly makes you a victim. Every “Happy Holidays” sign is an attack, every openly gay person an affront and every election you don’t win a theft of what is rightfully yours.

Enter the vow of “retribution.” This does not mean wrongs will be righted, that conditions will be improved or that if you’re hoping for concrete, material benefits from the next presidency, you’ll be satisfied. It’s not about you at all. Retribution is about the enemies who oppressed you. It’s about making them suffer, at least as much as you think you have suffered, if not more..

While [he] always got the most attention for his most repugnant beliefs and utterances about immigrants, members of minority groups and women, he made an argument that powerfully resonated with large swaths of the country: You have been wronged by an economic and political establishment that didn’t care about you. Vote for me and we can do something about it.

Retribution was the mostly unspoken part of that argument. First, [he] would bring boundless prosperity to neglected small towns and rural areas. Next, he would “drain the swamp” of entrenched elites so the interests of ordinary people would prevail. And if the “establishment” that never did anything for you was appalled by him, that was proof he was your best choice.

Even if he didn’t bring boundless prosperity and even if draining the swamp turned out to mean installing grifters and cronies in the federal government, you might count his presidency a success, at least on a symbolic level, if revenge was what you were after. [He] was a giant middle finger thrust in the face of everyone you hate, and he continues to drive them to distraction. Isn’t that a kind of success?

From E. J. Dionne, also of The Washington Post:

It’s bad enough to be silent about [his] abusive rants, but to make a chamber of Congress part of [his] defense team reveals the depth of the rot.

Unfortunately, the incentives and current architecture of politics make it unlikely that any of this will change. Two studies this month highlighted why. An analysis of all 435 congressional districts conducted by the Equity Research Institute … found that 142 of the House’s 222 Republicans represent districts … are dominated by White voters without college degrees….

Another study released last week … traced the dramatic change in the makeup of the American electorate over the past 40 years. The study, published by the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, found that “racial and cultural issues, rather than economic ones,” have driven the enormous gains Republicans have made with noncollege Whites….

A substantial majority of the country would like to be done with [him] and the nastiness he sows. Many Republican leaders may quietly agree, but their electorate and the nature of the places they represent push them toward timidity. Until the incentives change or the party’s leaders discover the fortitude to defy them, we’re stuck in the world that [DT’s] neuroses create for us.

Finally, from Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World (you can support his work here):

TMW2023-03-27colorXLGiven the above, the Menace’s most ardent followers will probably love him even more as indictments roll in. I don’t expect to see many images of him hanging on a cross, but it’s not out of the question:

PS: These days, I can’t vouch for the validity of that video, but it shouldn’t surprise anybody if it really happened.

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