A Note to Readers

When I make a serious mistake in something I’ve written here — which happens often — and I notice it — which happens less often — I try to fix the post. But that doesn’t generate a new email for those who get posts that way. So if you see something badly wrong in an emailed post it’s may be corrected on the blog (although, as in most things, there’s no guarantee).

Thus, today, this went out:

Maybe [Biden] actually believes it’s just those extreme MAGA Republicans we have to worry about, not the 5% or so who actually respect democracy and the rule of law.

It now says:

Maybe he actually believes it’s just those extreme MAGA Republicans we have to worry about, not the average ones who are lukewarm on democracy and the rule of law.

Please pardon this interruption in your daily affairs.

They Have a Point

Every 20 minutes or so, unless I’m asleep, I wonder why millions of otherwise sane people would give Republicans more power in Congress or make T____ or somebody like him president again. I won’t go down the list of reasons why Republicans don’t deserve to be in charge of our government. At the moment, I’m thinking about why so many people prefer them to be.

I believe the predominant reason is that they don’t like how America has been changing. But the change they’re upset about is not how the rich keep getting richer and the rest of us are treading water or falling behind. Otherwise they wouldn’t vote for politicians whose overriding goal is to lessen the “tax burden” on people and corporations that are already doing fine. The problem they see lies elsewhere.

Most of them fear they’re not on top anymore or soon won’t be.

President Lyndon Johnson, who knew politics backwards and forwards, made a relevant point way back in 1960. Bill Moyers, Johnson’s press secretary, recorded the moment:

We were in Tennessee. During the motorcade, he spotted some ugly racial epithets scrawled on signs. Late that night in the hotel, when the local dignitaries had finished the last bottles of bourbon and branch water and departed, he started talking about those signs. “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”

It’s not all about race, however.

If you could find the typical American who prefers the Republican Party, he would have characteristics like these. In addition to being male, he’d be white, solidly or loosely Christian, heterosexual and nationalistic. He’d be comfortable making fun of people unlike him. He wouldn’t live in a big city or have a 4-year college degree. He might be financially secure or trying to get by on Social Security, but he would fondly look back on a time when someone with his characteristics would automatically feel pretty damn good about himself and his place in the world relative to “lesser” people and “lesser” countries. 

Obviously, nobody has to meet all those criteria to happily vote Republican, since millions of women vote that way (many of whom believe a man should be “the head of the family”).

The point is that recent trends have made it less important, less praiseworthy, less powerful, to fit those Republican-friendly criteria. That fact — what those of us on the other side call “progress” — bothers millions of Americans a great deal. The feeling that they’re falling behind millions of people unlike themselves means a politician who acts or talks tough and promises to address their concerns about their perceived loss of status — to somehow reverse that progress — is immediately appealing, even if that politician owns a gold toilet and doesn’t resemble Jesus in any way. He may be despicable and a con man, but he claims to be on their side, and occasionally does something that makes them happy while angering their supposed enemies. That’s enough to get their support. 

In light of this, an article at FiveThirtyEight explains “why Democratic appeals to the ‘working class’ are unlikely to work” with Republican voters, even if they’re part of “the working class”:

… The dividing line in the American electorate is not economics; it’s race and culture…. And on this issue, Democrats and Republicans could not be further apart. It’s why Democratic appeals to win back the [white, especially male] working class are unlikely to work…

In the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform, “building a stronger, fairer economy” was the second item listed, after strategies to deal with COVID-19, and it sounded a populist note: that the American economy is tilted toward corporations and the wealthy, and that it’s harder than ever for Americans to move up the economic ladder. “Americans deserve an economy that works for everyone — not just for the wealthy and the well-connected,” their platform reads….

[But] Republicans mainly think of the working class as a cultural and racial identity, and not an economic one. When Democrats … pitch themselves to working-class voters, [it’s] primarily a populist appeal bent on uniting the working class against corporate greed….

This takes it as a given that the long-term trends in economic outcomes, which have affected many Americans, are what T____’s voters are responding to. This line of thinking, though, ignores other changes in American life and politics, such as an increase in global trade, a shift toward knowledge work instead of blue-collar labor … and a more expansive view of rights and equalities for racial, ethnic and gender minorities….

[A Democratic strategist offers this advice:] “The way we get around [ideological polarization] is by talking a lot about progressive goals that are not ideologically polarizing, goals that we share with self-described conservatives and moderates….Even among nonwhite voters, those tend to be economic issues.” But this assumes that voters will forget about the party alignments that are deeply entrenched.

When Democrats lament a bygone era in which they won the working-class vote, they are primarily talking about the New Deal policies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt— a time when the economy was radically shifted toward worker and labor power. But that was also a time when policies meant to favor the working class were specifically designed to help white men. The relative position of many people in the economy — and society at large — has shifted, and if that’s what Republican voters are responding to, messages of economic justices and leveling the playing field for all workers won’t change that. 

Unquote.

Yes, they have a point. They’re not automatically on top anymore. That they don’t deserve to be automatically on top hasn’t sunken in.

Sexual Morality, Republican Style

If you’ve avoided the fascist sewer that Republican politics has become, you may not have heard they’re now referring to Democrats as the party of pedophiles and groomers. The principal “basis” for this claim is the existence of sex education in public schools. The “idea” is that after learning about sex or hearing that not all healthy people are heterosexuals, it’s only a matter of time before our children become prey to nasty Democrats or turn all gay or something. In similar fashion, Republican senators tried to paint Biden’s new Supreme Court nominee as “soft” on pedophilia. You can read more about this recent shift in right-wing propaganda here, here, here or here.

I wasn’t going to mention this new development in American politics until I read about an online list of Republicans who either are, or have been accused of being, sexual predators. I don’t know who is maintaining the list, how far back the incidents go, or if the list is completely reliable, but, just as our former president loves to project his own illegal or unethical behavior onto other people (“lock her up”), it shouldn’t be a surprise when the “family values”/”moral majority”/”real Americans” crowd accuses their political opponents of sexual bad behavior.

Item 1 on the list is:

Donald Trump is accused of sexual assault by multiple women (and has admitted doing it). He is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl and bragged of walking in on underage girls at pageant. (Wikipedia).

Item 415 (yes, 415) is:

Man linked to Trump transition charged with transporting child pornography (Washington Post).

Item 828 (that’s right, 828) is:

Tesla rich guy Elon Musk, who recently announced he’s a Republican, was accused of exposing himself to a SpaceX  flight attendant (Business Insider).

This proves nothing, of course, but projection is a well-known psychological phenomenon and, as some clever person once said, “where there’s smoke, there’s something else”.

PS:  And wouldn’t you know? The Houston Chronicle reports today:

Bombshell 400-page report finds Southern Baptist leaders routinely silenced sexual abuse survivors.

Maybe We’re Not Headed for Civil War or Dissolving the Union

A Columbia University sociologist, Musa el-Gharbi, says we shouldn’t trust poll results that claim to show millions and millions of Republicans are crazy (although lots are):

According to a number of polls and surveys, significant majorities of Republican-aligned voters seem to believe the big lie that T____ was the rightful winner of the 2020 US presidential election and, consequently, the Biden administration is illegitimate.

Taking these data at face value, a growing chorus insists that we’re living in a “post-truth” era, where members of one political party, the Republican party, can no longer tell facts from falsehood. As a result of the Republican party becoming unmoored from reality, the narratives typically continue, America is drifting headlong into a fascist takeover or a civil war.

Fortunately for all of us, these dire predictions are almost certainly overblown. We are not living in a “post-truth” world. We are not on the brink of a civil war. The perception that we are is almost purely an artifact of people taking poll and survey data at face value despite overwhelming evidence that we probably shouldn’t.

For instance, in the wake of the 2016 election, T____ claimed to have had higher turnout at his inauguration than Barack Obama did. Subsequent polls and surveys presented people with pictures of Obama and T____’s inauguration crowds and asked which was bigger. Republicans consistently identified the visibly smaller (T____) crowd as being larger than the other. A narrative quickly emerged that T____ supporters literally couldn’t identify the correct answer; they were so brainwashed that they actually believed that the obviously smaller crowd was, in fact, larger.

Of course, a far more obvious and empirically plausible explanation is that respondents knew perfectly well what the correct answer was. However, they also had a sense of how that answer would be used in the media (“Even T____’s supporters don’t believe his nonsense!”), so they simply declined to give pollsters the response they seemed to be looking for.

As a matter of fact, respondents regularly troll researchers in polling and surveys – especially when they are asked whether or not they subscribe to absurd or fringe beliefs . . . [“well, the world is flat, isn’t it?”].

However, many academics and pundits do not seem to be in on the joke. Instead, post-2016, a consensus quickly emerged from credulous readings of polls and surveys that America is facing an epidemic of “fake news”, which was leading people to believe things that were obviously false, and to vote for unsavory political candidates. Some of the initial studies on this topic were blatantly prejudicial in their design; other widely shared studies were ultimately retracted.

As more reliable data began to emerge, it turned out that, contrary to the initial hysteria, “fake news” stories were viewed by a relatively small number of voters, and infrequently at that. Most of those served pro-T____ or anti-Clinton “fake news” by social media sites already seemed firmly committed to voting for T____, or intractably resolved against voting for Clinton (which is why the algorithms served them this niche content to begin with). That is, “fake news” is unlikely to have changed many, if any, votes. It is not a plausible explanation for the 2016 electoral outcome nor T____’s support more broadly.

Even people who share “fake news” stories typically never read (or even click on) them. That is, people are not sharing the content because they read the stories, grew convinced of their factual accuracy, and are genuinely trying to inform others. Instead, people typically share these stories based on their headlines, for a whole host of social reasons, while recognizing them to be of questionable accuracy see herehereherehere and here for more on this).

It should not be surprising, then, that correcting misinformation seems to have virtually no effect on political preferences or voting behavior; misperceptions are generally not driving political alignments to begin with – nor are they driving political polarization.

Contrary to narratives that have grown especially ubiquitous in recent years, Americans are actually not very far apart in terms of most empirical facts. We do not live in separate realities. Instead, people begin to polarize on their public positions on factual matters only after those issues have become politicized. And even then, polarized answers on polls and surveys often fail to reflect participants’ genuine views. Indeed, when respondents are provided with incentives to answer questions accurately (instead of engaging in partisan cheerleading), the difference between Democrats and Republicans on factual matters often collapses.

In other cases, apparent disagreements about factual matters often turn out to be, at bottom, debates about how various facts are framed and interpreted, or disputes about the policies that are held to flow from the facts. That is, even in cases of genuine disagreement, there is typically less dispute about the facts themselves than about what the facts mean – morally or practically speaking.

All said, measuring misperceptions is a fraught enterprise – even when it comes to banal and politically uncontested facts. Attempting to draw inferences about “incorrect” views on matters tied political, moral and/or identity struggles is a far more complicated endeavor. These are not data that lend themselves to being taken at face value.

Similar realities hold for the data that purportedly show we’re on the brink of a new civil war.

There is strong evidence that many of the surveys and polls indicating support for, or openness towards, political violence hugely overstate actual levels of support in the American public. Likewise, data that purport to show high levels of partisan vitriol may be misleading.

In general, behaviors are often a stronger indicator than attitudinal data for understanding how sincere or committed people are to a cause or idea. The number of people who are willing to rhetorically endorse some extraordinary belief tends to be much, much higher than the subset who meaningfully behave as if that claim is true. The number of people who profess commitment to some cause tends to be much, much higher than the share who are willing to make sacrifices or life adjustments in order to advance that cause.

The big lie is no exception. Both the low levels of turnout and the relatively low levels of violence are extraordinary if we take the polls and surveys at face value.

Event organizers were expecting, “hundreds of thousands, if not millions” to take part in the January 6 uprising. This would be reasonable to expect in a world where tens of millions of Americans literally believed that an apparently high-stakes election was stolen out from under them. Even if just 1% of those who purportedly believe in the big lie had bothered to show up, the demonstrations would have been hundreds of thousands strong. Instead, they only mustered 2,500 participants . . . 

The lack of casualties was also striking, even when one considers injuries and indirect fatalities. After all, the former president also enjoyed strong support among people who are armed and formally trained in combat, such as active duty and veteran military and law enforcement. A large number of other T____ supporters participate in militias, or are private gun owners.

Yet most January 6 participants did not bring firearms, and those who were armed did not discharge their weapons – not even in the heat of the violence that broke out. . . . 

In a world where 74 million voted for T____, and more than two-thirds of these (i.e. more than 50 million people, roughly one out of every five adults in the US) actually believed that the other party had illegally seized power and now plan to use that power to harm people like themselves, the events of January 6 would likely have played out much, much differently.

Indeed, had even the 2,500 people who assembled on the Capitol arrived armed to the hilt, with a plan to seize power by force, committed to violence as “needed” to achieve their goals – things would have gone much, much differently.

Instead, most participants showed up expecting T____ would provide them with definitive evidence for his claims of electoral malfeasance, and then unveil some master plan to take the country back. This didn’t happen. . . . 

There was an even small number . . . who showed up to the Capitol with a clear intent to forcibly overturn the election – who equipped themselves for violence, researched the congressional proceedings and the layout of the building, developed and executed a plan, etc. These are behaviors consistent with a sincere belief in the big lie, and a strong commitment to doing something “about” it. . . . 

Of course, even tiny numbers of genuine extremists like these can be extremely destabilizing under the right circumstances. Had Oath Keepers breached the Capitol instead of being repelled (even as Q-Shaman, Confederate Flag Guy et al wandered the building aimlessly) … January 6 could have played out much differently.

Nonetheless, there is a huge difference in talking about identifying and disrupting small numbers of highly committed individuals willing to engage in revolutionary political violence versus tens of millions of Americans genuinely believing the election was fraudulent and being open to violence as a means of rectifying the situation. Those are very different problems. Orders of magnitude different.

The good news is that the second problem, the tens-of-millions-of-Americans problem, is not real. It is an artifact of politicized polling design and survey responses, followed by overly credulous interpretations of those results by academics and pundits who are committed to a narrative that half the electorate is evil, ignorant, stupid, deranged and otherwise dangerous [well, they did vote for a person who has no redeeming qualities and are poised to do it again — that doesn’t imply being smart or well-informed].

In fact, rather than January 6 serving as a prelude to a civil war, the US saw lower levels of death from political violence in 2021 than in any other year since the turn of the century. . . . This is not an outcome that seems consistent with large and growing shares of the population supposedly leaning towards settling the culture wars with bullets instead of ballots. This turn of events does not seem consistent with the notion that tens of millions of Americans – including large numbers of military, law enforcement and militia members – literally believe the presidency was stolen, elections can no longer be trusted, and the fate of the country is on the line. . . . 

In truth, most Republican voters likely don’t believe in the big lie. But many would nonetheless profess to believe it in polls and surveys – just as they’d support politicians who make similar professions (according to one estimate, Republican candidates who embrace the big lie enjoy a 6 percentage point electoral boost as compared to Republicans who publicly affirm the 2020 electoral results).

Within contemporary rightwing circles, a rhetorical embrace of the big lie is perceived as an act of defiance against prevailing elites. It is recognized as a surefire means to “trigger” people on the other team. A demonstrated willingness to endure blowback (from Democrats, media, academics, social media companies, et al.) for publicly striking this “defiant” position is interpreted as evidence of solidarity with, and commitment to, “the people” instead of special interests; it’s taken as a sign that one is not beholden to “the Establishment” and its rules. That is, the big lie seems to be more about social posturing than making sincere truth claims.

For many reasons, this situation is also far from ideal. But it’s a very different (and much smaller) problem than partisans actually inhabiting different epistemic worlds and lurching towards a civil war. Glass half full.

Unquote.

This view is consistent with one of mine: if millions and millions truly believed abortion is murder, there would be a lot more resistance, including armed resistance, to abortion (despite the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision). Talk is often cheap.

In No Uncertain Terms

What kind of language does the current moment deserve? Some prefer measured, unemotional words. Others prefer something more. 

Steve Schmidt is a conservative political strategist who is severely critical of today’s Republican Party. He was John McCain’s senior strategist in the senator’s losing presidential campaign (should we blame Schmidt for the rise of Sarah Palin?). He was one of the founders of the Lincoln Project and is active on Twitter. Here’s some of what he had to say this weekend:

Please watch this and share. I am absolutely fucking outraged and enraged by the nihilistic vandalism of our country for the sake of sustaining T____s’ ONGOING campaign to hold political power at the price of burning it all down. (Twitter)

The immorality of it all is beyond grotesque. It is depraved. It is cowardly. It is shameful and despicable conduct at an epic level. There is a rot, a deep rot within our politics that can only be fixed by purging people like @marcorubio from public life by rebuking them in an election and then silencing them with shame.

No healthy country can have @GOPLeader @marcorubio @mattgaetz @tedcruz @laurenboebert @RepMTG and too many more to conceivably mention in positions of public trust. The cynicism, lying, extremism, weakness, insanity and cowardice combines to create a putrid stench that simply beggars belief. It’s despicable fucking conduct that’s so breathtaking there is no word that comes to mind. The depraved indifference and utter, shocking disregard for the lives of the American people is an act of corruption unequaled in American history.

There are hundreds of Thousands of dead Americans who would be alive but for the stupefying incompetence, carelessness and stupidity of T____, his government, his cabinet secretaries, aides, propagandists, financiers and congressional accomplices. 620.000 Americans are dead yet, the assault on sanity continues unabated. It never ever fucking never ever EVER takes a day off, ever.

Here we are today, the Delta variant raging, the pandemic reignited by an unvaccinated population that has been lied to, deceived by, disoriented by and confused by the deliberate, purposeful premeditated lying of Murdoch, Fox News, Carlson, and hundreds of lesser demagogues and liars. More will die because of this nihilism. Evil.

The country will be consumed by Covid again so that T____, @GOPLeader and all the rest of his nest of nationalists, autocrats, extremists, Racists, fascists and conspiracy loons can blame it all on Biden. They are happy to burn everything down around them for power, including us. Every normal person in this country should be deeply frightened by this. Deeply. I know I am. We have to fight back against the lies and malice that have become virtues to our elected political arsonists. They call themselves Republicans, but that is a disguise for what they have become.

The snarling white faces frozen in photos, screaming in rage and spitting on black children trying to walk into a schoolhouse would no doubt be awestruck at the capacity of technology to allow their children and grandchildren to virtually spit on the greatest champion in the history of her sport, all the way to Tokyo. They would be slack jawed at the progress we have made in America. Their kids and grandkids don’t even have to call black Americans the N word anymore. They just say CRT [Critical Race Theory].

The next chapter of the story, a tragic and deadly farce will be the Blame it all on Biden part. The arsonists will be gleeful in their attacks on the firefighters who are fighting to save lives and extinguish the conflagration. We have to bury this in the next two elections. If we don’t , we lose the country. We will lose it to madness, nihilism; cynicism, greed, hate, racial animus. We will lose it to terrible people, the depraved and extreme, the corrupt and sinister. We will lose it to the T____ family and we won’t get it back next time.

Next:

I’ve driven 1000 miles this week . . . and thought about a lot of things. I’m not sure this is a fair criticism as I’m working through the wretchedness of this dishonest moment and the nihilistic craziness of the overwhelming majority of elected Republican leaders (Twitter).

Many news stories and a great deal of present moment journalism cover our political free fall through a lens that captures each appalling moment, often deeply and compellingly. The stories are framed around an event, something that just occurred, rather than as a puzzle piece, which gives context to a larger, fluid story unraveling before our eyes.

Let’s look at two people as examples. Each has spoken out against T____ in the past. They were precise in their worry and condemnation of his exquisite awfulness. Each knew exactly who T____ was. The one thing T____ deserves great credit for is his absolute consistency, steadfastness and commitment to the truth of sharing who he really is. They all knew what T____ was because they told us. Then they collaborated and discarded every principle they claimed to hold.

We all know this is true. I know it. You know it. They know it and every journalist who ever interviews them knows it.

They are titanic frauds, elected weasels who share a talent for shamelessness, built on a foundation of cynicism and stone cold belief that their supporters are marks, a type of feeble prey that are either too stupid to notice the contradictions and hypocrisy of literally every spoken word or are too lazy and slug-like to care about being abused by constant gaslighting.

How should this be covered? Lie by lie, or is the story the journey of the liar and their deepening commitment to an autocratic movement. For me that is the story. It is a continuum that is dynamic and continually unfolding. This puts a different frame around the consideration @EliseStefanik should be given when she says really stupid and dishonest things like @SpeakerPelosi was the real 1/6 villain and @Liz_Cheney, the pristinely conservative Republican Congresswoman from Wyoming, is a Pelosi Democrat. Why should anyone pretend that @EliseStefanik is on the level about anything? Even she knows she is lying and she knows exactly why she is doing it.

She is doing it for power and self interest. She’s not an actress. She isn’t playing a part in a make believe story. She is an active participant in a movement that is trying to burn down our democracy in both the name of freedom and D____ T____. She is a leader in a movement that has desecrated the compact between us around how we share political power in America. They have rejected the most fundamental aspect of our system of government. What more evidence is needed around her bad faith?

When these members speak they lie. When they lie there seems to be some weird Washington DC courtesy extended in any given story, where whatever it is they are saying is covered through a prism of good faith, despite the accumulation of past statements and gazillions of hours of interviews that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is all an exercise in bad faith.

In short, the individuals who are most effective at demonstrating the depravity of the moment are the collaborators themselves. They indict themselves for the cowards, cynics and opportunists they are with their own words. Shouldn’t the story focus on the cancer that has consumed their public character? American Puritanism turned the question of public character into a sexual one over the last 35 years. Two results followed.

One, previously unimaginable depths of hypocrisy were achieved by @newtgingrich, Ken Starr and legions of others. Second, the concept of public character became so twisted that the behaviors of @EliseStefanik @marcorubio and @LindseyGrahamSC aren’t viewed through a character lens at all. Selling out the country, with purpose and intent for power and self is a betrayal of duty and a despicable act. It is also a plainly obvious one. Why do we have to pretend that the absurdities they utter aren’t easily refutable by them? By their own words.

When @EliseStefanik speaks shouldn’t all of questions that follow be focused on why she is saying the things she is saying as opposed to what she is saying? What is happening in this country is building. It’s gathering. It’s moving, growing and evolving. The signs are everywhere. Yes, a million loathsome moments are all worthy of scrutiny and study. I just wonder if the focus on those moments is causing us to miss the movement towards the destination ahead that while unseen for now is certainly terrible and likely a hellscape from which there is no return. Perspective matters when it comes to orienting to reality and danger.

Sometimes I worry about missing the autocratic forest for the trees.

Finally:

The 1/6/21 attack on America took the form of an insurrection aimed at destroying the Constitutional process that lawfully bestows power to the winner of a Presidential election in the in the the name of the People of the United States who are sovereign in this land. It was incited by a President of the United States and a legion of liars and cynics that include nearly every Republican leader. Of course, that fact alone defines it as the worst and most dangerous attack since the Civil War, but it gets worse (Twitter).

The 1/6 Insurrection by a T____ mob mixed with organized extremist elements including white supremacists, fascists, and violent paramilitary militia groups is the only attack against the nation in our history that has not rallied the whole of the American people to defend America. Instead, tens of millions are broadly sympathetic to the violence and obvious lies that underpin it all. The whole of the Republican Party has weighed in on the matter by siding with the insurrectionists and the defeated disgrace that incited it.

The measurement scale of gauging the insidiousness of their betrayal and collaboration with this Anti-American movement ranges from incitement and active participation in the attack to a dishonest indifference forged by an alchemy of vices; cowardice, fear, ambition, self interest, cynicism and opportunism have overwhelmed any sense of duty, patriotism and love of country.

No other attack against America in our long story has ever produced that response. No other attack has ever produced such sympathy for the attackers. No other attack has ever produced such a fierce determination to deny it occurred at all by politicians who advance their careers on the singularity of their talent to gaslight and deceive the people they swore an oath to serve by preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States.

There is a name for the Treacherous lot of elected leaders who have forsaken our country. They call themselves Republicans. They serve a master, not an idea or ideal. They serve their leader, T____. The whole world has seen their perfidy. The whole world has seen their rot and the weakness they are spreading in our country. For sure, the Chinese and Russians have seen it.

What they see is a decaying society brought low by the leaders who were elected to strengthen it. They see a country where the lie and truth can stand equally, just like theirs. They must be rejoicing as idealism is being overrun by a cynicism so powerful that it has caused the greatest crisis of faith and belief in the pillars of our Republic since the Civil War. What a tragic moment. It has left us all with a choice. What side are you on?

There are more of us than them but fanaticism, extremism and commitment are on their side. Apathy to the danger through civic disengagement in the name of political exhaustion is what the autocrats are hoping for. Let’s not give it to them.

In fact, let us fight to create a great awakening and fill it with an unyielding resolve to crush the fever dreams of power for people like T____, @EliseStefanik and @marcorubio who have come to hate with deeds what they profess to love with words. Let’s strike them all down in the ballot box. We cannot let freedom slip away in America.